Although Cal certainly felt good about its 52-3 shellacking of UC Davis in its season opener, there was a sense that the game didn't really provide any early answers about the 2010 Bears. The Aggies are a Football Championship Subdivision team that was clearly outclassed in strength and speed.
Today against Colorado, it's almost as though Cal is playing another season opener. It will be the Bears' first game against an opponent on equal footing and should provide a much more accurate measuring stick.
"Davis is a good FCS team, but in all honesty, they can't compete with us on the football field, as you saw," Cal quarterback Kevin Riley said. "And I think our football team is very aware of that. We know Colorado is a much better team."
In the team's first meeting of the week on Monday, Cal coach Jeff Tedford made it very clear to his players that the level of strength and athleticism they will face today will be entirely different from that of the Aggies. The Bears racked up 517 yards of offense and held UC Davis to just 81 yards of its own.
Cal true freshman wide receiver Keenan Allen caught four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown and added 38 yards and a touchdown on three carries. But he has a substantial athletic advantage on virtually every Aggies defender. It won't be as easy today.
"It's going to be a different story now," Tedford said.
But Allen's presence is sure to make life easier on junior Marvin Jones, who led Cal with 43 catches for 651 yards and six touchdowns last season but didn't get much help from the rest of his receiving corps. With Jones and Allen on opposite sides of the field, the Bears' passing game suddenly has the balance it lacked last season.
"Now in our base setup, when you have Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen on each side, those are two very good receivers," Riley said. "So you have to be very aware of where they are at all times. It can open up the offense and it's going to keep the defense more honest."