Premier Pac-10 Games of Week 5

The California Golden Bears have an opportunity to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the conference and cannot afford more unnecessary losses. Moreover, Cal is carrying the Pac-10 flag this week against MWC foe Colorado State. USC starts its conference slate tonight at Oregon State. And UCLA faces a Fresno State team that thrives on beating teams from BCS conferences…

There are a number of interesting match-ups this week in the Pac-10. The USC Trojans have a personal challenge on their hands. The entire country feels that USC is the best team hands down and now the Trojans have to win convincingly every week. Somehow, Pete Carroll must convince his team that every opponent they face can beat them.

California just has to win. The loss to Maryland is an aberration and Colorado State is a perfect matchup for the Bears to bounce back. UCLA cannot afford to get embarrassed by another non-BCS foe. Two more conference games are on tap this week, but when they involve the Washington schools, they can hardly be classified as premier.

USC Trojans at Oregon State

Coach Pete Carroll has spent the last two weeks reminding his team about the 33-31 loss at Oregon State in 2006. As good as the Trojans are, they still need to establish themselves at certain positions.

The wide receiver position has not been a strength since 2006. Damian Williams has established himself as the leading receiver for this team so far. Williams 10 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Patrick Turner is averaging 17.5 YPC and must continue to show that he can be counted on every game.

Oregon State has been a big dissapointment this season. With two experienced quarterbacks in Sean Canfield and Lyle Moveno and a very good receiver in Sammie Stroghter there is no reason that the Beavers should be 1-2. Oregon State did a very good job against Hawaii last week. Clearly the wide receivers make this offense go. Stroughter and Morales have combined for five touchdowns, 43 receptions and 539 yards in three games. The only chance the Beavers have against the Trojans is through the air.

Cal Sports Digest says…The Beavers will beat the spread.

California vs. Colorado State

The Bears are coming off a bye week. They have had extra time to prepare for the Rams and should come out at home and quickly put points on the board against Colorado State. Cal has a number of sophomores that are very good players on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Kevin Riley and running back Jahvid Best have to play good, week in and week out for the Bears to win.

Colorado State remembers a Cal team that barely won in Fort Collins last year, 34-28. The Rams should feel confident, and they are capable of upsetting the Bears. After reviewing the Cal-Maryland game, the Rams should come out and hand the ball off early and often to running back Gartrell Johnson (4.6 YPC).

It will be up to the Bears' front seven to force the Rams to pass the ball. The Bear defense must come up big and some players at the receiver position need to step up for the Bears, because every opponent will be concentrating on shutting down their running game.

Cal Sports Digest…Cal ends the MWC dominance over the Pac-10.

UCLA vs. Fresno State

Nothing pleases Pat Hill and the Bulldogs more than beating another team from a BCS conference. Fresno State is coming off a 55-54 overtime shootout at Toledo. If the Bulldogs can get by the Bruins, there is a great chance that they can make it to November 28 with only one loss and play Boise State for the WAC Championship. The Bulldogs will look to establish running back Ryan Mathews who has rushed for 304 yards and is averaging 5.0 YPC.

The UCLA Bruins shocked the nation with a victory over Tennessee, then got embarrassed 59-0 at BYU and got beat 31 –10 by the Arizona Wildcats. The Bruin players at this point have to be questioning their abilities to make positive things happen on the football field. Quarterback Kevin Craft has only one touchdown and five interceptions in 2008. After three games, the Bruins still do not have a running back that has ran for 100 total yards. Their leading rusher for the season is Chane Moline who has ran for 89 yards. Fresno State will attempt to be very physical and the Bruins must match the Bulldogs intensity.

Cal Sports Digest says…WAC will grab second win over the Pac-10 this season.


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