Colorado vs California Free Week 2 College Football Pick
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Date/Time: Saturday, September 11, 3:30 PM ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, CA.
Colorado Buffalos vs. California Golden Bears
Money Line: Not available yet
Spread: Cal –7 ½
Over/Under: Not available yet
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The California Golden Bears will host the Colorado Buffalos in a PAC-12 sneak preview on Saturday, September 11th at 3:30 pm EST at Memorial Stadium in Berkley, California.
Cal is coming off a huge 52-3 shellacking of UC Davis in their sixth win in seven home openers behind a solid effort from quarterback Kevin Riley who threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior running back Shane Vereen also contributed with two rushing TDs and a touchdown reception all in the first half, while freshman WR Keenan Allen ran 18 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, then caught a 48-yard TD pass from Riley to start Cal’s second-half scoring.
It wasn’t a surprise win for the G-Bears, but a win nonetheless, which has to be a confidence booster after closing out an 8-4 season losing to No. 23 Utah 37-27 in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl.
The Buffalos, who are expected to make the transition from the Big 12 to the new PAC-12 in the fall of 2012, opened their 2010 campaign with a 24-3 victory over cross-state rivals Colorado State in the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown on Saturday.
Senior wide receiver Scotty McKnight became Colorado’s career receptions leader breaking the mark set by Michael Westbrook from 1991-94, dragging down a 27-yard touchdown reception –his 168th career catch — midway through the second on his way to finishing the day with six catches for 78 yards.
It was a good start in what could be the final year for head coach Dan Hawkins, who has yet to post a winning season since arriving in Boulder from Boise State in 2006, including a 3-9 record a year ago.
Now the Buffalos will try to ride that momentum into Memorial Stadium in an attempt to win its first road game since October 27th, 2007.
But make no mistake, Colorado will compete and will look to sophomore QB Tayler Hansen and RB Rodney Stewart, to give the Bears some trouble. Stewart (5-6,170) is a small back like Jaquizz Rodgers and can squirt through even the tightest of defensive lines.
Of course the passing attack will feature McKnight, but Hansen has two other capable targets in WR Markques Simas and TE Riar Geer, both who will use their height advantage to drag down even the most challenging passes.
The good news for the Bears will be a weak Colorado O-line that offered up their quarterback 43 times in 2009, while giving up 78 tackles for 6.5 yards lost on average in 12 games. Cal’s defense should be able to take advantage and pressure their opponent.
They key to this one will be whether the Bears’ O-line can block against the trap opening rushing lanes while at the same time maintaining enough pass protection for Riley to survey an inexperienced Buffalos secondary.
I’m picking Cal in this one but I don’t think it will be a blow out like some folks are predicting. Colorado’s defense only allowed 49 rushing yards on 25 carries—that’s less than two yards per carry–and always seems to show up for the big games. If they can keep their penalties to a minimum they may have a shot.
Free Pick: Cal by 10.
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Matt Martz is a sports writer for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.