Bowl invite? One win, maybe two, are needed

The big picture seemed meaningless for Cal after the scary injury to tailback Jahvid Best on Saturday. But when the smoke cleared from a 31-14 loss to Oregon State, Cal found itself in sixth place in the Pac-10 with surprising Arizona headed to town next week.

After the Bears (6-3, 3-3 Pac-10) suffered blowout losses to Oregon and USC, they made a goal to go 7-0 the rest of the way. That would have given Cal a 10-win season and a likely berth in a high-profile bowl game.

With three games left — two against teams ahead of them in the Pac-10 standings — the Bears simply are trying to keep up with the middle of the pack.

"Now we're going to try to go 6-1," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "It all starts next week against Arizona. We want to finish out the homestand with a win and just take it from there. We want to close out the Pac-10 with another three wins."

Arizona is tied in the loss column for first place in the Pac-10. Stanford, the Bears' opponent on Nov. 21, is 5-2 in the conference after knocking off No. 8 Oregon on Saturday. Cal finishes the regular season Dec. 5 at Washington.

It's not an easy road, and although the Bears are bowl eligible already, they likely will have to win at least one of their three remaining games to ensure a berth in the postseason.

"The focus was one at a time all the way through," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "That doesn't change. We need to regroup and make sure that we are ready."

  • Cal's neutralization of Oregon State star tailback Jacquizz Rodgers (67 yards, 25 carries) was nullified by the passing of Beavers quarterback Sean Canfield (29-for-39 for 342 yards).

    "Basically, they read the defense and found ways to get more of their personnel into areas where we were short," Cal cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson said. "That turned out in big plays for them throughout the game."

  • Cal receiver Verran Tucker caught a career-high six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.

  • Wide receiver Alex Lagemann caught two passes to give him five in the past two games after registering one previously during his career. All five of the catches gave Cal a first down.

    — Jonathan Okanes