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Oregon State Football Opponent Preview: California

Can Cal bounce back after an embarrassing loss to UCLA?

UCLA v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

California Golden Bears

  • 2017-18 Record: 5-7 (2-7 PAC 12)
  • Current Record: 3-3 (0-3 PAC 12)
  • Previous Game Result: Loss Vs. UCLA (7-37)
  • Head Coach: Justin Wilcox
  • Total Offense Ranking: 80th in FBS (393.3 YPG)
  • Total Defense Ranking: 30th in FBS (334.2 YPG)

Tale Of The Tape

I’m back! And I am better than ever! I miss Eric Bischoff. But that’s fine, because the Cal QB’s kept missing their passes last week.

I’m sure Cal fans didn’t see that one coming. During the bye week, California decided to completely forget the basics of football and threw the game to UCLA, literally. California had 5 turnovers and the Bruins punished the Golden Bears in humiliating fashion. The Golden Bears started the season 3-0, with wins over North Carolina, BYU, and FCS cupcake Idaho State. However, they’ve lost their first 3 PAC 12 games against Oregon, Arizona and UCLA. Not only that, but they have lost 14 straight PAC 12 road games, a feat that rivals our current road losing streak.

The Golden Bears have usually used an Air-Raid offense under Head Coach Justin WIlcox. However, since hiring former Eastern Washington Head Coach Beau Baldwin as Offensive Coordinator, the Bears have become a serious threat running the football, averaging 178.8 YPG on the ground. Going against a Beaver front seven that has been atrocious this season, I would expect the Cal ground game to get going early and often.

Player To Watch

Patrick Laird (Running Back, Sr.)

Oregon v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

While this hasn’t been the best year for the senior running back, Patrick Laird is still one of the better backs in the PAC 12. However, if OSU has proven anything this year, it’s that they know how to make average running backs look like Barry Sanders. Laird had a 1,000 yard season in 2017, so he has the ability to rush for a lot of yards. However, he has only rushed for 384 yards this season and is only averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Regardless, I would expect a career day from him, as the Beaver defense currently enough holes to make Swiss Cheese look solid.

Biggest Question Mark

Can the Beaver Defense force some turnovers?

UCLA v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Cal just committed five turnovers against arguably the worst team in the PAC 12. Five!! That’s as many downs as Colorado gets to get a first down! Cal QB’s have thrown 11 combined interceptions this season, which should be good news to a Beaver secondary that has come agonizingly close to several interceptions over the last few weeks. The Beavers will need to force Cal into committing turnovers if they want to be able to win their first PAC 12 game under Head Coach Jonathan Smith.

History With Oregon State

The Beavers and Golden Bears have met 70 times, with the first game being played in 1905. California leads the overall series with the Beavers with 37 wins, 33 losses and no ties.


Oregon State will begin a PAC 12 gauntlet as they fly out to Boulder, CO for a match-up with the Colorado Buffaloes. The Golden Bears will return to Berkeley, CA for a home match-up against Washington before flying out to face Washington State in Pullman.