Week 3 - Ohio State at California
Ohio State RB Jordan Hall
Ohio State RB Jordan Hall
Posted Sep 11, 2013

Week 3 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Ohio State at California

Ohio State (2-0) at California (1-1) Sept. 14, 7:00, Fox

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Third-ranked Ohio State hits the road for the first time in 2013, with uncertainty swirling around its catalyst behind center.

Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller suffered a sprained MCL in last week's demolition of San Diego State, forcing the junior to the bench in the first quarter. Backup Kenny Guiton more than carried the torch, but the Buckeyes need a fully functional Miller in order to achieve all of their goals in 2013. Ohio State is trekking to Berkeley for the first time since 1972, with a nation's-long 14 game winning streak on the line.

Cal is an awful lot like Tennessee, who's playing up the road at Oregon this weekend. Exciting future, lots of rebuilding needed, and a chance to make a statement versus a top five opponent on Saturday. The Bears have had a predictably rocky start in head coach Sonny Dykes' debut, losing to Northwestern before getting pushed to the brink last week by Portland State.

Why Ohio State Might Win: The Buckeyes are a tall order for most defenses, but for Cal, they're a monumental challenge. The 116th-ranked Bear D has buckled in both of its games, a situation exacerbated by injuries. With or without Miller, Ohio State doesn't figure to employ P Cameron Johnston much this weekend. Urban Meyer's system plus the athleticism of the quarterbacks and the skill position players figures to stake the Buckeyes to their third straight game of at least 40 points.

Why Cal Might Win: The gap between the quarterbacks isn't what many figured to be when this game was broken down in August. Not only is Miller somewhere less than 100%, but rookie Bear QB Jared Goff hasn't played like a rookie. There've been some poor decisions, sure, but he leads the country in passing yards, and he's continually getting more comfortable in Dykes' attack. Goff also has as his primary targets two rising stars, sophomores Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper. The Bear Raid allows Cal to compete, even when the opposing offense is flourishing.

Who To Watch Out For: Ohio State has not forgotten what Brendan Bigelow did to it last September. The jackrabbit toasted the Buckeye defense for 160 yards and two long scores on only four carries.

- The Bears have Treggs and Harper, but the Buckeyes will counter with one of college football's best secondaries. It'll be interesting to see how the young Cal receivers perform when CB Bradley Roby is blanketing them.

- With a lot of pass attempts often come a lot of sacks. Cal has already yielded nine, which ought to whet the appetite of explosive Ohio State edge rushers Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington.

- The Bears are allowing a whopping 5.7 yards per carry through two games. Running behind a hulking line, Buckeye Jordan Hall should be able to pick up yards in chunks on Saturday night.

What Will Happen: Cal is a one-trick pony at this time, a freewheeling passing attack that also exposes the offense to turnovers. Ohio State, on the other hand, has far too much balance, on both sides of the ball, to get picked off in Berkeley. Guiton is a luxury for any coaching staff. If he gets the call, the Buckeyes will still win comfortably, but with a few less points in the final box score.
Prediction: Ohio State 41 … Cal 21
Line: Ohio State -15 – O/U: 55
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 3.5