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Stanford Looks to Keep Rose Bowl Hopes Alive vs. Underdog Cal
 

11/21/09

Few teams have been as hot as Stanford over the last few weeks. After losing back to back games to Oregon State and Arizona, Stanford has pulled out three straight wins over Arizona State, Oregon, and USC. In their last game against The Men of Troy Stanford took it to them from start to finish and won 55-21. Stanford will need some help with other teams losing, but they are still in the running for a Pac 10 title and Rose Bowl berth, but for that to happen this game against California becomes a must win. Cal has had problems with consistency all season long. With 3 losses their hopes of a Pac 10 title might be gone, but they still have a chance to have a successful year after some much preseason hype. They have two big Pac 10 games left on the schedule, and if they are going to have a successful year they need to win both of these which should make this a very competitive game.

Bet Jamaica has Stanford favored by -7.5 with a whopping total of 63


PRIMETIME MATCHUP

QB Andrew Luck has really come on strong in the 2nd half of this season and one of the main reasons for that is RB Toby Gerhart. Gerhart has been nothing short of great this season rushing for 1395 yards and 19TD. In Stanford's last two wins over Oregon and USC Gerhart rushed for 401 yards 6 TD. If Cal is going to have any chance at all they have got to at least slow down Gerhart or he will run all over them. Luckily for the Bears their rush defense is the strength of their defense. Cal is ranked 2nd in the Pac 10 in rush defense allowing just 104 yards a game. Stanford likes to use their rushing attack to set things up for Luck and since Cal's pass defense is ranked 9th in the Pac 10 allowing 269 yards per game it will be important to stop the run, so they will be able to drop more into coverage. If they are able to have success in stopping the run and getting pressure on Luck they will give themselves a good chance to make this a great game, but if Gerhart and Luck continue to have the success they have had over the last several weeks then this game will be over early. The more success Gerhart has the more he is able to wear down a defense and when that happens he is close to impossible to stop.


THE FINAL VERDICT


The Pac 10 has been the toughest conference to figure out this year. Just when you think USC is on their way to another Pac 10 title they lose to Washington. When it looks like Oregon was a lock to finish with the title they lose to Stanford, and then when the dark horse Arizona looks like they could squeeze their way into the driver's seat they lose to a Cal team who was missing Jahvid Best.

So far this year it has been very difficult to figure out which team is going to show up on Saturday's which has made this Pac 10 title race very interesting, and with about 4 teams still in the hunt it should make these last few weeks very intriguing. In this game Saturday its going to come down to RB Toby Gerhart and his effectiveness. He has been running through opposing defenses all year, so the Bear's defense is going to have its hands full. Coach Jim Harbaugh has his QB for the future in Andrew Luck and he has been able to shine since Gerhart is opening things up for him.

Because of Cal's rush defense the Bears will be able to make things interesting into the 2nd half, but the reason why Gerhart is so special is because he is able to wear a defense down and then attack. That is exactly what he will do this Saturday late in the game, and Stanford will come up big late and keep their Rose Bowl dreams alive for at least one more week.

No strong play here, however, when we break it down, the number looks about right. Anything less than a touchdown and we'd have to take Stanford. But at +7.5 or more, we'll lean towards the underdog Cal to play spoiler. Stanford wins, but not by enough. Cal +7.5

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