by Mikey Hlebasko

The Cal defense has been regularly victimized already this season, giving up an average of 42 points per game on their way to a 1-2 record. To make matters worse, they are now heading to Autzen stadium, home to an Oregon team that has averaged over 60 points per game thus far, while taking their foot off the gas in the second half of all three games. Add in the fact that among Cal’s high scoring opponents has been a Northwestern team that is good but not particularly explosive, and Portland State, and we could be seeing some seriously high numbers on the scoreboard in Eugene on Saturday.

Oregon put up 59 points on Cal in Berkeley last year including 395 yards through the air, but Cal was successful against the Ducks’ rushing attack, limiting them to just 3.8 yards per carry. Well, that Cal defense lost three players to the NFL, and Oregon looks even better on offense this year than last year, especially in the passing game. Oregon seems to have finally found the perfect quarterback to lead their attack in Marcus Mariota. He has the shiftiness that Jeremiah Masoli lacked, and is just a better passer than Darron Thomas and Dennis Dixon were during their stints starting for the Ducks. All of this adds up to an unfortunate truth: the Bears are in big trouble this weekend.

Oregon boasts the #2 scoring offense in the FBS, and Cal’s scoring defense has been better than just 4 other FBS teams. That is about as close as it gets to the best offense in the country matching up with the worst defense, and to make matters worse Cal is starting a true freshman making his first road appearance in the Autzen Zoo. If Oregon doesn’t take it easy on the Bears at some point, the Ducks could push towards 70 or more points on Saturday. It’s a doom and gloom prophecy, but I believe it to be true: it will be a victory for Cal this week if they keep the game closer than 40 points.

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