Cal vs. (12) Ohio State
Time: Noon EST, Saturday, Sept 15
Spread: OSU -16.5
M/L: OSU -825, CAL +625
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
The Buckeyes are not BCS contenders this year due to NCAA sanctions. It’s a pity, because they may be otherwise. After smashing Miami of Ohio 56-10 two weeks ago, they won by 15 against a much improved UCF squad, but they failed to cover the 18 point spread set by college football oddsmakers.
Against UCF, Braxton Miller became the first OSU QB to rush for three TDs in 34 years. Despite the win, coach Urban Meyer wants and expects more, commenting that the team is “not where (he) thought (they’d) be.”
Apparently, outscoring teams by an average of 31 points per contest isn’t good enough for Meyer and a team whose defense he feels still has a “long way to go.” He cites terrible mistakes carrying the ball as further evidence that this Buckeyes squad has come nowhere near realizing its immense potential.
As good as Braxton Miller has been, Meyer wants the talented dual-threat to focus more on passing the ball. Miller ranks 4th in the nation in rushing with 302 yards and 4 TDs, and he has only thrown one interception on 48 passes, but Meyer feels Miller can be even better by being “a little smarter.”
The Golden Bears are going to be relying on a bunch of freshman receivers. Zach Maynard will have his hands full with that group, whose inexperience will pose problems, but he does at least still have his half brother Keenan Allen to help with the duties.
Allen was his favorite target last year and was All Pac 12 first team. The other returning receivers have a combined four catches, though, so they will be counting on their highly regarded freshman to step up. Bryce Teggs, who was a five star recruit, will be at the top of that list.
Their ground game will be a little more definite with Isi Sofele back after rushing for 1300+ yards last season and C.J. Anderson is a good backup. Sophomore Brendan Bigelow and redshirt freshman Daniel Lasco are both on the rise, too. So, expect the Bears to do a good bit of running, while at the same time trying to develop their WRs for the future. They are a team in transition.
So far, Allen has been good for 136 yards on 11 receptions, and has one TD. Harper is one of the talented freshman, averaging 12.6 yards per reception on 12 receptions (151 yards) with one TD, as well.
Maynard has been pretty solid, but his completion ratio is low (64%). He has 474 yards on his 34 completions and three TDs, but the Golden Bears’ 240 passing yards per game rank them only 61st in the nation.
Last week, Allen had two TDs and a 69 yard punt return, to help Cal win their first game in their newly renovated stadium. Cal picked up too many penalties last week, with 12 for 106 lost yards. They also converted 5 of 11 third downs against SUU.
The Golden Bears has been around .500 for three years straight and despite the reasons to be pumped, there’s little hope for anything much better, as Athlon magazine predicts a win better than that at 7-5. They don’t really have much of a chance of winning the North Division with Oregon at the top, but are the second favorite along with Washington, so aiming for second in the division is a realistic and palpable goal for the Bears.
Cal is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs the Big Ten. They are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games against teams with winning home records. The Golden Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conf games and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 on the road. They are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 after scoring 40+ the previous game and 0-4 ATS their last 4 on turf.
OSU is 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. the Pac-12. They are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 after an ATS loss and 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 after accumulating < 170 yards passing in the previous game. They are 21-9-1 ATS in their last 31 games on turf and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
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