Do you think the Colorado loss can be shocked up to road struggles, or do you expect more play like that?
Austin Isaacsohn: This team has always struggled on the road, winning only one of their four away games. I think they’ll have a rebound game at home, as they are very wont to do, but those two games at UCLA and Stanford could very well be rough outings.
Andrew Wild: The biggest thing that concerned me about that game is how the offense failed to gel in that second half. The offensive line is really struggling with Patrick Mekari out, and they’ll definitely need him back to get back to a basic equilibrium. I don’t know that offensive line play is something you can assume improves at home.
Vikram Muller: At Colorado, Cal lost its 11th consecutive Pac-12 road game. I can’t fathom what’s so difficult about communication in a road stadium that causes the Bears to play so poorly, but maybe it’s just the poor attendance and quiet audience at Memorial Stadium that gives them a home-field advantage. So yeah, road struggles are quite relevant.
Is the front seven too banged up to stop the run game from here on out?
AI: The Bears could barely hold the run before they lost their best defender in Devante Downs. These days, I’m surprised any time a run doesn’t go for 6+. Oregon State isn’t particularly good at anything, but the running back, Ryan Nall, is probably the best player on offense. He has two more touchdowns than all the Beaver receivers combined. They’ll feed him in Berkeley, and he should eat.
AW: The defensive line was creating a lot of pressure against Colorado, and they held a great running back in relative check, but their ability to truly clamp down seems really hampered. Against Oregon State, my guess is that they’ll pay for that.
VM: Cal wasn’t stopping the run game early this season, and after more injuries it doesn’t look like it is doing anything besides patching holes in the defense for the remaining three games. To me, it isn’t even an issue with injuries so much as some questionable schemes and mostly missed assignments.
How much stock do you put into Oregon State keeping it close with Colorado and Stanford?
AI: I mean, it’s impressive whenever a bad team plays well against a good one, but they’ve obviously struggled to close games. I think this game will probably be close for three quarters, but the Beavers will break when push comes to shove in the fourth. Cal is playing with too much on the line to lose to a far inferior opponent, especially at home.
AW: I’m buying into whatever OSU interim head coach Cory Hall is doing. Stanford and Colorado needed miracles to win the last two games, I think Gary Anderson leaving has turned out to be a shocking positive.
VM: Not much. The results looked nice for the Beavers, but that could be just as equally attributed to the coaching change as it could be from Stanford and Colorado underestimating what Oregon State was capable of. I’d still expect Cal to win this matchup handily.