Moving on with the preseason prediction series, we arrive at week seven against California. California is usually one of my least favorite games of the year. It probably has something to do with the fact WSU is 0-7 vs. the Bears dating back to my days as a student and I'm almost certain it's a NCAA requirement that a Cal running back must run for 150 yards or more against WSU.
California's profile and poll after the jump.
2011 record: 7-6
2011 S&P+ rating: 217.6 (WSU 175.3)
2011 away record: 2-4
Returning starters: 11
Athlon Sports preseason ranking: 38 (WSU 51)
Phil Steele power rating: 130.68 (WSU 123.32)
All-time record vs. WSU: 43-25-5
Last meeting: California 30 vs. WSU 7 (2011)
Bill C Stat Profile: LINK
Bill C Preview: LINK
If you are trying to build a consistent winner out of a program that hasn't always consistently won, you typically want to see one specific thing taking shape: your upperclassmen are winning, and their potential replacements were more highly-ranked recruits than them. The latter is taking shape -- there are too many young, four-star freshmen and sophomores to list all of them here. But this team's fate will still be determined as much by the old guys seniors like Zach Maynard, Isi Sofele, C.J. Anderson, the three returning two-year starters on the offensive line (Matt Summers-Gavin,Brian Schwenke, Dominic Gates), defensive lineman Aaron Tipoti, safety Josh Hill, et cetera, not to mention junior Keenan Allen, who very well might be playing his last season of non-NFL football. Can this group continue a recovery that began last year and set the table for the aforementioned exciting youngsters? I see Cal treading water in 2012, but honestly, that might be enough to continue optimism for the future.