If this article picture (or memories of the USC game, for that matter) didn't scare Cal fans too much, my latest Top-10 list is bound to do the trick.
In light of what we have learned about the Bears so far, I have assembled a collection of players from the team's remaining conference opponents.
Specifically, these are the players who Cal should be worried about the most, as they are geared to exploit the Bears' biggest weaknesses.
So without further ado, here's the list. Hide the women and children.
1. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
Gerhart is on a tear this season, with a conference-high 994 yards and 13 rushing scores; he is coming off of a 125-yard performance against a normally stout Arizona State rushing defense.
At 6'1" and 235 pounds with underrated speed, he is a load to bring down—something that the Bears have struggled to do against opposing receivers and backs at times in 2009.
After being held largely in check in Berkeley last year, Gerhart will have a solid signal caller in Andrew Luck to keep the defense guessing...at the Farm...in his final Big Game...
It's pretty clear why Bears fans hoped he would concentrate on baseball full time his senior season.
2. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
The Beavers' mighty mite is the Pac-10's second leading rusher and the conference's leader in rushing touchdowns. Last year in Corvallis, he ran up 144 yards on the Bears a few weeks after carving up USC's vaunted defense for 186 and two scores.
In 2009, he already has had a solid game against the same Trojans team that shut down Jahvid Best. If Oregon State gets Cal's number for the third straight season, don't be surprised to find No. 1 behind it.
3. Sean Canfield, QB, Oregon State
After making UCLA's Kevin Prince and Washington State's Jeff Tuel look like seasoned veterans (giving up over 300 yards passing to each), Cal's secondary should rightly fear the man who torched USC's secondary on the road for 329 yards and three scores.
And though the Bears play the Beavers at home, Canfield is no stranger to hostile environments; remember who was Oregon State's signal caller during its road upset of then-No. 2 Cal in 2007?
4. James Rodgers, WR/KR, Oregon State
The elder Rodgers brother was a difference maker the Beavers' 2008 triumph, notching a rushing touchdown and returning a kickoff 86 yards for another score.
With the Bears' defense giving up big plays in the air, on the ground, and in the return game, the multi-purpose threat and Pac-10 leader in receiving yards must be salivating.
5. Chris Owusu, KR, Stanford
The Cardinal sophomore has returned three kick-offs for scores this season, and is fifth in the nation in return yard average (35.16 per game). Chris, meet Cal's 98th-ranked kickoff unit.
6. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
It's hard to believe that in three years Locker has never faced the Bears.
With Washington's all-everything quarterback ranking third in the Pac-10 in passing yards (1,968), and Cal's pass defense playing the way it is, the Bears may wish to keep it that way.
7. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The true freshman has been a revelation at quarterback for the Cardinal, particularly benefiting from Gerhart's monster season on the ground. He is coming of his best performance yet, lighting up Arizona State for 423 yards and three scores.
With two of the conference's top receivers at his disposal in Ryan Whalen and Owusu, he can make the Big Game into a big nightmare for the Bears if their secondary doesn't improve.
8. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
Since replacing Matt Scott, Foles has showed Colt McCoy-level accuracy, completing a ridiculous 72.3 percent of his passes, which ranks first in the nation. Cal is 102nd in opponent's completion percentage. See where this is going?
9. Donald Butler, LB, Washington
Washington's defensive leader (and the Pac-10's front runner in tackles) was a one-man wrecking crew in the Huskies' home upset of USC, racking up 12 stops, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and an interception.
It's safe to say Jahvid Best and Kevin Riley would be best off not making acquaintances with him during the game in the backfield.
But we all know what happened during Cal's first trip this year to a rowdy, hostile stadium in the Northwest...
10. Chris McGaha, WR, Arizona State
If quarterback Danny Sullivan becomes the latest Pac-10 signal caller to get his passing groove back against Cal this Saturday, the Sun Devils' senior receiver will likely be the biggest beneficiary.
Hope you enjoyed the list. Feel free to add comments, critiques of my list, or your own suggestions for players who you feel may have gotten shafted.
Oh, and have a happy Halloween!
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