Thursday, October 16, 2008

Arizona vs. Cal Preview

Arizona will go up against the Cal Golden Bears this Saturday in what we had all thought was going to be a huge game as far as Pac-10 standings were concerned. It wasn’t but a week ago that we were already looking ahead to being 5-1 and facing a team that might be our only obstacle in the Pac-10 other than USC. Unfortunately, we are now sitting at 4-2 and seemingly have more on the line than we had thought.

Here is a quick paper match up of the game:
Team Scoring:
Arizona: #9 with 40.2 ppg
California: #12 with 39.4 ppg

Total Yards per Game:
Arizona: #32: 425.5
California: #33: 418.4

Team Rushing:
Arizona: #55 with 154.8 ypg
California: #35 with 180 ypg

Team Passing:
Arizona: #23 with 258.3 ypg
California: #47 with 231.6 ypg

Team Defense:
Arizona: 16.7 ppg, 261.5 ypg
California: 18 ppg, 290.6 ypg

What did we learn from the Stanford game? We are not immune to the running game. Our Cats gave up over a hundred yards each to Gerhart and Kimble last week when they had previously not given up a lot more than a hundred total rushing yards in game. The biggest reason why this has to be priority one for the Wildcats is that Cal will most likely be returning Jahvid Best to their backfield. While he has missed a couple of weeks with a dislocated shoulder you still cannot overlook his big play ability. It is still unclear how much he will play, or whether or not he will be returning kicks but it would be a huge mistake to not plan on him being at full strength.

There are a couple keys to this game. First of all I was really impressed with the play of Nate Ness last weak and think that he will have as big a game this weekend. Cal is still suffering from QB woes and at the time of writing they have not announced who will be starting. Out secondary is good enough to slow the pace of this game down, and that will definitely be an obstacle for the Bears.

On offense I have full faith in Dykes system and feel as though Tuitama gets a lot of bad press for the decisions that he makes. We are only a few plays away from being 6-0, but it has always come down to mistakes at the wire. The Cats can’t afford the same mental errors late against Cal. If Tuitama is able to spread the ball around efficiently like he had been doing the majority of the season and utilize rather than rely on Gronkowski there is no doubt in my mind that we are putting the superior offensive squad on the field.

It comes down to defense, but I think our Wildcats take this game 27-17. That will put us in a position to go into Homecoming at 5-2 against USC in a game that will decide the Pac-10.