California (6-4, 3-4 in Pac-12) vs. Stanford (8-2, 7-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Pacific, Sat., Nov. 21
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, Calif.
Weekly Preview Presser: Message Board Thread
TV: ESPN - Dave Flemming (play by play), Chris Spielman (analyst), Todd McShay (sideline)
Radio: KGO 810 AM - Joe Starkey (Play-by-Play), former Cal QB Mike Pawlawski (Analyst), Todd McKim (Sideline)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio: Sirius (137) and XM (197)
Cal Student Radio: KALX 90.7 FM - Glenn Borok (play-by-play), David Straub (analyst)
Series History: Stanford leads, 60-46-11
Last Meeting: Stanford 38 at Cal 17 (Nov. 22, 2014)
Last Meeting at Stanford: Cal 13, at Stanford 63 (Nov. 23, 2013)
Current Win Streak: Stanford, 5
Last Cal Win: Cal 34, at Stanford 28 (Nov. 21, 2009)
Injuries: CB Jaylinn Hawkins (out-season; shoulder), LB Aisea Tongilava (out-season; toe), RB Daniel Lasco (questionable; ankle), RB Khalfani Muhammad (questionable; ankle), S Damariay Drew (questionable; knee), WR Kenny Lawler (questionable; hip)
A Matter of Honor
Cal Hall of Fame wide receiver Brian Treggs has a bug in his bonnet. "You know what my family's record is, against Stanford?" he asked recently. The answer? 0-7.
Treggs and his son Bryce Treggs have never won the Big Game. Asking Treggs about the matter, the weariness on his face is plain.
"It definitely is a family honor thing, to play in this Big Game," the younger Treggs says. "As you know, my dad made a promise to move to Palo Alto if he lost his final one. I'm not going to make any of those promises, but, hopefully, if I get the win, it'll make up for what he promised, and he won't have to move to Palo Alto. I want to get this win for my family."
The senior receiver has caught 179 passes in his career, for 2,114 yards. This season, he's caught 29 balls for 564 yards and four touchdowns -- two away from his career high. His 19.4 yards per catch, though, is a career high, by more than 8.0 yards per reception.
"It doesn't get frustrating, but it's always entertaining," Treggs says of the yearly questions about his family record in the Big Game. "I know my dad was a big talker when he was here, and he was just very passionate about the University of California, and being a Golden Bear."
Stanford's secondary is missing its top cornerback Ronnie Harris, who's tops in the Pac-12 with 10 pass breakups, and will be sidelined with an ankle injury. After the Bears tallied 435 yards of passing offense, with six passes of 24 or more yards against Oregon State last week, Cal's offense looks to have gotten back off the mat.
"They actually play a lot of man," says Treggs, "which is surprising. If they were to do that against us, I don't think that would be the best decision, but if they do that, we're ready for it. If they run zone, we'll also be ready for that."
Man defense has been the Bears' kryptonite of late. During Cal's four-game losing streak to Utah, UCLA, USC and Oregon, the Bears faced man defense each time out, and saw their passing attack limited to 310.25 yards per game, compared with Cal's 358.4 yards per game during its five-game win streak to start the season.
"This past game, Oregon State tried to man us, and we lit them up, so I think we found the solution," Treggs says. "I think the difference was how good our running backs played. We rushed for 307 yards, so that makes a huge difference. That's always going to help out the pass game. That's one of the differences. Jared [Goff] played the best game he's ever played, in terms of his accuracy and making the right reads. We were technically sound, every play, and the tempo we played with helped us be successful."
Tempo, this season, has been lacking. The Bears are averaging six fewer plays per game this year than their peak under head coach Sonny Dykes, in 2013, when they ran 87.167 plays per game. This season, Cal is averaging 76.7 plays per contest.
"It was a function of making first downs," says Dykes. "That's the weird thing about us, is, when we can run the ball and we can make first downs, that's when we can play with tempo. It allows you to do that. Tempo's an interesting thing, because it feeds off itself in some ways. When you can run the football, then you can get plays sent in more quickly, you're ahead of the chains, you're not trying to call third-and-eight and third-and-nine plays, which allows you to go faster. You can keep the same personnel in the game, which allows you to go faster, and the more plays you stack up, the better your tempo is, and the better your tempo is, the more plays you stack up. When you can run the ball, it gives you a lot better opportunity to play with tempo."