California & Stanford
Pac 12 North – These teams always have to bring the A game being the two North teams that always play both USC & UCLA each year. Stanford has a hiccup last year coming off four straight BCS bowls for the Cardinal. Stanford routed Maryland 45-21 in Foster Farms Bowl. The Cal Bears came up two games short from being bowl eligible, but QB Jared Goff will be back this year.
Head Coach Sonny Dykes now enters his third year at the helm with 6-18 record during his first 2 years.
The Bears return 16 starters from last year team 8 Offensive, 7 Defensive , & punter. Players to watch QB Jared Goff threw 3,973 yards, 35 touchdowns and is already third on Cal’s all time passing list. RB Daniel Lasco now a senior ready to show NFL what he can do between hashes. WR Bryce Treggs found away to snag 52 catches in a crowded talented group of wideouts. RG Jordan Rigsbee an ironman starting every game since his freshman year for total of 36 starts. LB Michael Barton led defensive with 80 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss alongside Hardy Nickerson Jr. with 69 tackles and 7 sacks. New comers WR Carlos Strickland 6-5, 205 and DB Malik Psalms had 86 tackles in senior year at Ayala HS, CA.
The Bears will rely on Goff’s air attack to get team off to a fast start in games and hope that teams will change their game plan to catch up. Cal’s road schedule will turn any team into Vets after its all over. This year will be a big step in the Bears program moving up and being back in a bowl game at end of season. Prediction: 3rd Pac 12 North, Sun Bowl.
Head Coach David Shaw back for fifth year in Palo Alto with 42-12 record in his first 4 years.
The Cardinal’s return just 13 starters from last year team 9 Offensive, 4 Defensive. Players to watch QB Kevin Hogan a fifth year senior coming off being Foster Farms game MVP. TE Austin Hooper who had 40 catches with 499 yards and consistent mismatch against safeties. S Kodi Whitfield who will be full time on defensive after converting from WR. SS Zach Hoffpauir who fills in well in the box or deep in coverage to be voice on the field. New Comers will be national recruited DB Ben Edwards (Florida), DB Justin Reid (Louisiana) and Quenton Meeks (California) 6-2 CB.
The Cardinal fans have been spoiled on the farm with success, this year should be back to normal. While most teams would panic with the lack of defensive returners but the Stanford returners are all seniors and will provide enough stability to shadow their youth. Prediction: 2nd Pac 12 North, Holiday Bowl.
Next Outlook will be Pac 12 North, Oregon & Oregon State.