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Battle at the Sierras

California Golden Bears @ Nevada Wolf Pack

Friday 9/17 10:05 pm EST on ESPN 2

Judgment Day is here for both teams. Both Nevada (Future Mountain West member) and Cal bulldozed a FCS team and hammered a set of weak teams from Colorado thus neither team has no clear idea how their season is going to be. Is Cal going to be a contender for the PAC-10 title? Is Nevada a legit threat to the Boise State Broncos and as a BCS buster. These questions will be answered on a Friday night prime time on ESPN 2.

Nevada is out to prove that they are a legit contender to knock Boise State out and to compete for a schools's very first BCS bid and to get rid of the stage fright on the big games. Nevada is currently ranked 44th in the AP poll, 39th in the USA Today Poll, and 34th in CBS power rankings. Nevada is looking to become ranked for this first time since 1992.

California Golden Bears are ranked 24th in USA Today Coaches Poll, 29th in the AP poll and 46th in CBS power rankings. Most of Cal fans see this game as a huge trap game for them. Cal is looking for their first Rose Bowl in 50 years.

Mackay Stadium is sold out for time since since November 11th 2008 against Boise State. The city of Reno is energized at the moment looking for Nevada's first big signature win that we have all been desperately looking for during the past several years. Mackay is also one of the few stadiums that sells beer so it can get a bit hectic in the stands.

QB Colin Kaepernick coming off another hot week is also looking for his signature win to end his college career. Coach Chris Ault will try to use every trick in his Pistol Playbook to try to confuse and keep Cal's defense confused for the entire game and he has tons of ammunition for his pistol. With RB Vai Taua, RB Lampford Mark, TE Virgil Green, WR Brandon Wimberly, and WR Rishard Matthews Nevada will try to spread out Cal's defense and keep them guessing on who has the ball (Like listening to the announcers having trouble who has the ball). Nevada main concern will be is not turning the ball over multiple times like we have in past big games and to keep a constant momentum.

Cal's defense is statistically the #1 defense in the nation but has yet to fight an opponent thats a bowl contender. Cal is going to have to be very disciplined and not get faked on the constant triple option veers. They will need to commit one person on watching Kaepernick most of the time. Colorado's offense was dismantled by Cal's ability force constant turnovers. Turnovers will be a huge key on who wins this game.

Defense is going to have to play the game of their college careers to contain the Gold Bears offense. Nevada needs to keep constant pressure on QB Kevin Riley forcing him to make mistakes. DE Dontay Moch should be able to cause constant trouble in the backfield. RB Shane Vereen hasn't been a real factor during last 2 games so Nevada's front 7 should be able to contain the running game.

Nevada's main concern will be our secondary. SS Corbin Louks has been reported that he has returned to practice and there is a chance he will play against Cal. The secondary cannot afford to get burned or commit miss tackles that will end up in big plays. No penalties to give Cal's offense chances to march down the field.

Special Teams will also be a big factor into this game. Last week Cal had constant short fields to play against Colorado. Nevada special will need to step up and pin Cal deep on punts and RB Mike Ball will need to have good big returns to give Kaepernick a short field to work on.

Expert Precitions

ESPN PAC-10 blogger Ted Miller

California 38, Nevada 30: Warning, warning, warning, Cal Bears! Nevada is not a push-over, particularly not at home. The Wolf Pack has averaged 592 yards and 50 points in its first two games. Cal fans, if you want my advice, you should feel nervous about this one.

ESPN Non-AQ blogger Andrea Adelson. (Shes constantly down playing us)

California 28, Nevada 17. The Wolf Pack haven’t had much success against AQ opponents, losing 8 straight games. Though the defense has looked much better, and defensive coordinator Andy Buh spent the last three seasons as a Stanford assistant, California simply has too much talent on offense. The Bears will find a way to slow down Colin Kaepernick enough to win.

My Prediction: Nevada 42 California 35.

My Take

Nevada will try its best to hold California's offense to a minimal. Colin Kaepernick will have another fantastic night as the California linebackers will be exhausted by the 4th quarter with Nevada's great depth of running backs. You saw in Colorado St game that Nevada had the foot on the pedal for the entire game so expect the same for this game. Nevada will not not commit any turnovers. The stadium will be very hostile because Mackay is one of the few stadiums that sells beer. So if your in the Zonies section and its a close game in the 2nd half, bring an umbrella.

Best Case Scenario

Nevada's offense will not turn the ball over and Cal's defense will not be able to know whats left from right with the pistol offense running all over them. The secondary will not get burned and give up a big play. DE Dontay Moch and the rest of the D Line will terrorize QB Kevin Riley to make mistakes. All the wolf pack doubters and Ault haters will return to their hole and wait till the Boise game in November. Nevada will score high amount points and votes to be ranked and Boise State Fans will chant in praise for Nevada in making their S.O.S better. California will get their act together and win the PAC-10.

Worst Case Scenario

Its flippin DeJaVu all over again. Nevada's offense turns the ball over in the worst situations and not be able to move the ball. The defensive line will not be able to put on any pressure on QB Kevin Riley and he lights our secondary up like a christmas tree. The whole country will once again see that Nevada is a FCS school like the rest of the WAC. All the Ault haters will be out in force chanting "Fire Ault." The Mountain West will not lift a finger to help Nevada to get out early and will have to sit 2 years of no TV revenue and bowl money. And Boise will yet take another SOS hit.

Quotes from California Golden Blogs SBN

From California Golden Blogs Top Ten Reasons Why California will lose to Nevada

8. Mike Mohamed in a boot. Hey, you know what that means, right? Nick Forbes, your first true test as a true freshman as an inside linebacker is to slow down one of the most complicated offenses in all of college football. Have fun the next three and a half hours trying to figure out where the ball is, where Kaepernick is handing off, or if he's handing off, or if he's throwing it, or if Coach Ault is using another Jedi mind trick and there are actually two footballs on the field, or if the ball even exists and you're actually on offense. Wake up from this dream rookie

4. We're ranked by someone, somewhere. You know what happens when we're ranked, right? If only this team would lose more. We wouldn't have to worry about this problem.

Heh apparently they're all paranoid because California always drop the big games when they are ranked.

A little humor from the Movie White Fang (Skip to 1:24)