Preview: USC at Cal
By Douglas Kroll
Although California may not be as good as it has been the last couple of years, when they defeated USC two years ago, and were six yards away last season from doing it again, the Golden Bears are primed for the upset of the year that could knock its archrival right out of the Rose Bowl picture.
The last time the Men of Troy lost a game was on September 30th, 2003 in triple overtime and it was the last time USC set foot in Memorial Stadium. Ever since USC looked human against Notre Dame in one of the greatest games of all time, the Trojans have been on a roll.
The number one team in the land has won convincingly against Washington, Washington State, and Stanford. With only three games remaining in the regular season, they are inching closer to yet another perfect season, a third straight AP title and a second sonsecutive BCS title.
With two Heisman trophy candidates leading its offense, USC will tackle their final road trip of the season. Quarterback Matt Leinart has been nothing short of excellent in his senior season, completing nearly 67 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Hes averaging 307 yards/game through the air.
On the ground, running back Reggie Bush has averaged an astounding 8.3 yards every time he touches the ball. Bush has 11 touchdowns and gained 1,022 yards on the year. Any team in the nation would take those numbers from one guy, but USC has two. LenDale White has also gained over 100 yards per game, and scored 14 touchdowns while gaining 913 yards on the season.
The other offensive threat is wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett who has become Leinarts favorite target. With 65 catches on the year and 14 touchdowns, Jarrett has established himself as one of the best in the nation.
In what should be a high scoring affair, with the Trojans averaging 49.9 points per game and Cal 35.9, it will up to the Golden Bears to keep pace with the Trojans. Starting quarterback Joe Ayoob is completing only 49 percent of his passes. He has thrown 15 touchdowns but has been picked off 10 times.
The ground game has been solid for Cal and has turned into something that they rely on, as just like the Trojans do, they have a nice 1-2 punch. Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch have combined for 11 touchdowns and together are averaging over 200 yards per game on the ground.
The Golden Bears are looking to get back into the national picture, after losing three of their last four games. Losing quarterback Nate Longshore at the beginning of the season hasnt helped at all either, but with a steady ground attack and, if the defense can somehow hang in there, we could see the unthinkable.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.