Cal-Oregon: Mitch Picks College Football Week Four

Mitch Wilson@sportschatplaceSenior Writer ISeptember 25, 2009

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Jahvid Best #4 of the California Golden Bears runs against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Memorial Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Mitch's Record Vs. The Spread in 2009: 42W-25L

California Golden Bears at Oregon Ducks

College Football: Saturday September 26, 2009 3:30 PM EST (ABC)

The Line: Oregon +5 1/2

With USC suffering a Pac-10 loss last week, the race for the Pac-10 is officially on and it gets even hotter as the California Golden Bears visit the Oregon Ducks.

Most people probably still have the vision of the Ducks' humiliating opening loss to Boise where the punch made as much press as the game. Since the debacle on the blue turf, the Ducks have rebounded nicely, knocking off Purdue and then beating Utah, who came into the game with the nation's longest winning streak.

The loss of Blount due to his suspension obviously creates a void, but a program like Oregon isn't going to fold up and walk away with just one loss and the loss of just one player. Sure, the Ducks were counting on Blount this season, but LaMichael James has already proved to be a nice option, rushing for 156 yards last week.

Jeremiah Masoli has yet to hit stride and has no TD passes this season, something that is likely to change soon.

California has looked solid in their first three games, winning them all. It's been a very simple formula for the Bears: Give Jahvid Best the ball. When Cal has stuck to that strategy, it has looked easy for them. When they go away from giving it to Best, the offense struggles.

I believe if a team can shut down or even slow down Best, the Bears will be in some serious trouble as QB Kevin Riley isn't one of the better QBs in the conference.

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The defense is somewhat vulnerable and Minnesota was able to move the ball and even come back and tie the game, but Best put it away late.

Oregon is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games against a team with a winning record and is 8-3 against the spread in its last 11 as a home underdog.

Cal is 5-1 against the spread in its last six Pac-10 games, 7-1 against the spread in its last eight as a favorite, but just 4-10 against the spread in its last 14 on the road.

I am very impressed with Jahvid Best and think his future is bright. There have been some special players who lead their entire team to greatness, but it is a tall order.

As much as I am impressed with Best, I am unimpressed with his team and I think the public image of the Boise game paired with the highlights of Best on TV have skewed this line.

Mitch's Pick: Oregon +5 1/2



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