Cal Bears Wake from Hibernation: A Look at the Upcoming Season

Tavis InoCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2008

"Riley's going to run it!  This is not a good play!  Will they have enough time?  California may not get it off!  Riley made a big mistake, and the game is over."

This was the scene on October 13, 2007 at around 7:30 pm. The No. 2-ranked Cal Bears had a chance to move up to No. 1 due to the upset of top-ranked LSU.  But Saturday proved once again to be cruel to the favorites, as Cal went down to Oregon "Dream Crushers" State.

This game is what led to the downfall of the Bears that season.  The wheels never really got put back on.

But while the 2007 season was one of the most disappointing in recent memory, there were very small signs of light that should be cause for optimism this season.

Taking a look at the Bears '08 schedule, things appear easier than last year.

Aug 30Michigan St. 8:00pm
Sep 6@ Washington St. 6:30pm
Sep 13@ Maryland 12:00pm
Sep 27Colorado St.TBA
Oct 4Arizona St.TBA
Oct 18@ ArizonaTBA
Nov 1OregonTBA
Nov 8@ Southern Cal 8:00pm
Nov 15@ Oregon St.TBA
Nov 22StanfordTBA
Dec 6WashingtonTBA

First off, Michigan State is a scary game, but in Berkeley I think the Bears will come out and take them.  I like the home games they have this year.  They have UCLA, Arizona State, and Oregon, which will prove to be important Pac-10 games.

I think Oregon will drop down this year and come back to earth.  If UCLA can develop the talent it had after a great recruiting season, then the Bruins pose some trouble.  But if Cal can secure home field this year, expect the Bears to be toward the top of the Pac-10.

The conference road games aren't that hard: With the exception of USC, Cal should have no problems.

Road Games

Washington St.


Oregon St.


USC will prove to be the Bears' biggest foe once again.  Other than that, the road Pac-10 games don't look to be that challenging.

We saw some players step up last season that are going to be worth watching in 2008.  Jahvid Best has potential to be a DeSean Jackson-type player, one that, whenever he has the ball, has the chance to go the distance—his speed is scary.  The combo of James Montgomery and Best will be another successful running back pair at Berkeley.

Also, look for linebacker Zach Follet to make some noise with the help of senior Worrell Williams.

I will say this right now...start Kevin Riley.  Start the kid, Tedford!

Riley, with the exception of that one play against Oregon State, shows great, great potential.  Looking at the stats against Oregon State, he had a hell of the game.  In his first start as a redshirt freshman, coming in with all the pressure, he performed: 20-of-34 for 294 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception

Also, keep in mind Oregon State's defense was one of the best at the time.  In addition, Kevin Riley's bowl game performance (16-of-19 for 269 yards and three touchdowns) was remarkable.

Overall, look for Cal to finish among the top of the conference in a strong rebound year by the Golden Bears.