Preview: Stanford at California

Two weeks after poor air quality in the Bay Area forced officials to postpone the annual rivalry game between California and Stanford, the teams are set to close the regular season Saturday in Berkeley. Cal has lost its last eight meetings against the Cardinal, which rebounded from back-to-back losses to the Washington schools by recording wins over Oregon State and UCLA.

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Known for their run-first offense in recent years, the Cardinal have become a pass-oriented offense behind junior quarterback K.J. Costello, who ranks first in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency and second in the conference in passing yards per game. Costello has thrown 15 touchdown passes over his last four games and continued to impress in last Saturday’s 49-42 win over UCLA, completing 23-of-37 passes for 344 yards and a career-high five scores. “Costello is coming into his own,” coach David Shaw told reporters. “Over the next year, he’s going to be one of the best quarterbacks in America.” The Stanford offense figures to be tested by Cal’s stellar defensive unit, which has allowed an average of 14.2 points over its last five games.

TV: 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Stanford -3

ABOUT STANFORD (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12): JJ Arcega-Whiteside returned last week after missing one game due to injury and tied the school’s single-season record with 14 touchdown receptions after recording seven catches for 106 yards and three scores against the Bruins. Bryce Love had 22 carries for 85 yards and a score but has battled injuries all season and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, well below his 8.1 average from last year. Senior linebackers Sean Barton and Bobby Okereke have a combined 153 tackles to lead the defense, which needs to regroup after allowing 528 total yards against UCLA.

ABOUT CAL (7-4, 4-4): The Bears’ defense forced a season-high five turnovers in last Saturday’s 33-21 win over Colorado as Elijah Hicks and Ashtyn Davis each scored on interception returns for touchdowns. Freshman Chase Garbers (13 touchdowns against five interceptions) has settled in as a reliable starter for the Bears, who clinched their first winning season since 2015 with last week’s victory. Running back Patrick Laird had 153 rushing yards in last season’s 17-14 loss to Stanford but has been held under the 100-yard mark in his last four games.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Stanford holds a 63-46-11 lead in the all-time series – including a 27-21-6 advantage at Berkeley.

2. Cal linebackers Jordan Kunaszyk and Evan Weaver lead all FBS duos in solo tackles per game (13.7) and all Power 5 duos in total tackles per game (23.2).

3. Stanford is 7-0 this season when forcing at least one turnover and 0-4 when not recording a turnover.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks

Fanpicks.com College Bowl Preview
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Fanpicks.com previews the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in which Air Force plays against California. Our prediction is that California will take the game 30 points to Air Force 24 points. Play fantasy college football today at fanpicks.com

Two teams with very different offensive styles meet Dec. 29 as Air Force takes on California in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. Air Force’s ground game ranks third nationally with 321.8 rushing yards per game, while Cal boasts an explosive aerial attack led by junior quarterback Jared Goff, who broke his own single-season school records for passing yards and touchdowns. The teams are meeting for the first time since the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl, when the Golden Bears overcame a 21-point deficit and escaped with a 42-36 victory.

Cal won two of its final three games to secure its first postseason appearance since 2011, while Air Force won five straight to clinch the Mountain West Mountain Division title but fell 27-24 to San Diego State in the conference championship game. The Falcons’ triple-option offense has received a boost from tailback Jacobi Owens, who started the final seven games and rushed for a season-best 156 yards against San Diego State. The Golden Bears also will need to keep a close eye on senior quarterback Karson Roberts, who has rushed for nine touchdowns and thrown for nine others.

All five of Air Force’s losses came away from home this season, but it should have solid backing in Fort Worth, which is less than a 12-hour drive from Colorado Springs. Safety Weston Steelhammer recorded a team-high 80 tackles and five interceptions as well as 10.5 tackles for loss and seven pass breakups to lead the Falcons, who ranked third in the Mountain West in scoring defense at 23.2 points per game. Steelhammer will need another strong effort against the Golden Bears, who closed the regular season with a 48-46 home win over Arizona State.

California Season Overview (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12): Linebacker Hardy Nickerson recorded a team-high 101 tackles for the Golden Bears, who will be hard-pressed to slow down the Falcons’ running game after ranking 11th in the Pac-12 with 203.5 rushing yards allowed per game. Running back Daniel Lasco, wide receiver Kenny Lawler and safety Damariay Drew each battled injuries late in the regular season, but all three starters should be available against Air Force. Goff, who is expected to bypass his senior year and declare for the NFL draft, has thrown for a school-record 90 career touchdowns and had 4,252 passing yards and 37 TDs against 13 interceptions this season.

Air Force Season Overview (8-5, 6-2 Mountain West): The Falcons’ run-oriented offense is engineered by Roberts, who averaged 111.2 rushing yards and was sacked only twice all season.

Senior defensive end Alex Hansen earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors with 7.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss, but the defense allowed an average of 33 points over the last four games. The Falcons’ secondary was impressive in wins over Fresno State and Hawaii but struggled against a top-rated quarterback on Sept. 19, when Michigan State’s Connor Cook threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-21 victory.

Posted in CFB

California Golden Bears versus Utah Utes

College Football Fantasy Picks 10-10-2015

It will be a battle between undefeated teams in the PAC 12 as the Utah Utes will be home to the California Golden Bears. College football fantasy draft GMs can tune to ESPN on Saturday October 10th at 10PM Eastern Time to track the results of their fantasy rosters.

California Golden Bears are a 5-0 team. A check of their schedule and they have gone on the road and registered victories at Texas and Washington. The win against the Huskies looks good after Washington defeated USC on Thursday night. Cal had a pretty bad defense last year and some have to be concerned about the 44 points they allowed to an offensively challenged Texas Longhorns team in week three. Good thing Cal put up 45 in that game. Last week they hosted Washington St and won 34-28. California was able to force 4 turnovers by Washington St for the win. This game is a big deal for Utah as ESPN Gameday is on site to broadcast their pregame show festivities and it has fired up an already loud fan base.

The Utah Utes are 4-0 and will come off a bye week on Saturday. Two weeks ago the Utes traveled to Oregon and came away with a dominating 62-20 road victory. The Utes were up 27-13 at the half and held the Ducks to just seven second half points while putting up 35 on Oregon. Utah had a +3 turnover margin in the victory and ran for 273 yards for 6 ½ yards per carry.

California Golden Bears QB:

Jared Goff

The junior quarterback has started all three years at the school. In 2015 Goff has completed 70% of his throws for 1630 yards with 15 touchdowns and four picks. In the win against Washington St Goff hit on 33 of 45 throws for 390 yards with four touchdowns and one pick. He has thrown for no less than 300 yards and three touchdowns in four of his five games.

California Golden Bears RB:

Khalfani Muhammad

The running back has also seen significant action in all three years at the school. Muhammad has 39 carries for 350 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 9 yards per carry on the year.

Vic Enwere

Just a sophomore, Enwere has 54 carries on the season for 257 yards and five touchdowns. He ran five times last week against the Cougars for 48 yards averaging 9 ½ yards per carry.

California Golden Bears WR:

Kenny Lawler

Lawler leads the Golden Bears with 27 catches for 399 yards and eight touchdowns. He had six catches for 105 yards last week with two touchdowns. He also caught two touchdown passes in a week three win at Texas.

Bryce Treggs

The senior wide out has caught 17 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns. Against Washington St, Treggs had four catches go for 65 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 16 yards per catch on the season.

Utah Utes QB:

Travis Wilson

The Ute senior quarterback has completed 68% of his passes for 513 yards with four touchdowns and one pick. In week four at Oregon Wilson threw for 227 yards and four touchdowns. He is a threat to run the football with six carries for 100 yards and a touchdown at Oregon.

Utah Utes RB:

Devontae Booker

Booker has been a workhorse in 2015. He already has 106 carries on the year and has rushed for 443 yards and four touchdowns. The Utes senior running back has caught 15 passes out of the backfield for 149 yards. He has had no fewer than 22 rushing attempts in any one game.

Utah Utes WR:

Britain Covey

A freshman is leading the Utah Utes receiving corps with 17 grabs for 182 yards and two touchdowns. In the Oregon game Covey caught two passes for 55 yards with two touchdowns.

Kenneth Scott

Scott has caught 12 passes for Utah in 2015 for 124 yards and a touchdown. The senior wide out had a season high eight catches at Oregon that went for 75 yards with a touchdown.

College Football Real Money Fantasy League Picks

QB: Travis Wilson (Utah)

RB: Devontae Booker (Utah), Khalfani Muhammad (California)

WR: Britain Covey (Utah), Kenny Lawler (California)

Posted in CFB