Opening Number: 4
As in the number of consecutive games that Stanford has lost in Berkeley. Cal has won seven of eight Big Games overall.
Players to Watch
Mike Mohamed, Cal LB: The Bears' senior lead on defense has interceptions in the last two Big Games and had 16 tackles in last week's near upset of No. 1 Oregon.
Cameron Jordan, Cal DE: Jordan, who has 5.5 of Cal's 30 sacks, will lead the Bears' defensive line against a Stanford offensive line that has allowed four sacks all season.
Richard Sherman, Stanford CB: Cal QB Brock Mansion has struggled since taking over the injured Kevin Riley, so Sherman, who seems to always be in the right place at the right time in important games, could be primed for a big day.
- Ryan Whalen, Stanford WR: The senior wideout hasn't scored since the Washington State game and has only two TD receptions this season. Whalen had five receptions in last week's win over Arizona State, while Doug Baldwin had a career-high 10 catches for 122 yards. With Chris Owusu's status in doubt, look for Whalen to step up in his final Big Game.
"Niceties": Enough already. Players and coaches from both sides have said the right things all week, talking about how great their counterparts are. Heck, Andrew Luck wore a blue and gold tie to Monday's media luncheon. That all ends tomorrow.
"Fast Start: Stanford is outscoring opponents 121-34 in the first quarter and another strong start will be important to take the crowd out of the game, at least until the halftime card stunt.
Baltimore Berkeley?": There's a good chance of rain on Saturday. Stanford had a field day the last time it played in the rain on a synthetic surface, routing Washington 41-0.
"The Axe": We want it. They've got it. Right in the neck! There!
Additional Reading (For You Dedicated Students)
The Daily Axe says Stanford will be able to score at least three touchdowns against Cal's stingy D.
- Ted Miller predicts a 28-20 Stanford win.
- Jon Wilner thinks Andrew Luck will take control come crunch-time.
- CGB profiles Stanford's defense and special teams and a full list of other Big Game predictions.
- I disagree with the notion that the "stakes could not be higher for either team," but yes, there's more than pride on the line in tomorrow's game.
- More Big Game notes.
Closing Number: 41
As in Stanford's largest margin of victory in the series.
Prediction: Stanford 24, Cal 13. Luck puts up some good numbers, but the story of the game is Stanford's running game, which accounts for more than 200 yards.