Cal already figures to be a substantial underdog Saturday against No. 1 Oregon. But it could have been worse.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford said Monday that an MRI on wide receiver Keenan Allen's right knee came back negative and he is expected to play against the Ducks at Memorial Stadium.
Allen injured his knee while running his first pregame route before Saturday's game at Washington State. He had the knee taped and he attempted to ride the exercise bike before the game, and trainers ruled him out. He remained in uniform and watched the entire game from the sideline.
Allen was able to take part in Cal's conditioning practice Monday. He is the Bears' second-leading receiver with 32 catches for 382 yards. He also leads Cal with five touchdown catches.
Cal struggled to beat the lowly Cougars last weekend, ultimately holding on for a 20-13 victory. Still, the Bears are relishing a chance to play the top team in the land.
"It's motivating," Cal safety Sean Cattouse said. "You don't get a chance very often to play the No. 1 team in the nation. It's what every competitor lives for."
The Bears were 3-0 and ranked sixth in the country last year when the Ducks trounced them at Autzen Stadium, 42-3. Cal is looking forward to the chance to register a similar ranking-reducing win.
"They knocked us off last year. It was a rude awakening," Cal linebacker D.J. Holt said. "Now, it's at our house. We have to step it up. They're a great team, the best team in the Pac-10. But they're a team just like us, student-athletes going to school and playing football. They happen to be really good at what they do. We're all excited and ready to play this weekend. I wish it was today."
"There's a lot said about their offense, but they play great on defense," Tedford said. "They have a lot of good athletes and a lot of team speed. They're very aggressive. They're able to do a great job on defense."