I am not going to try and break down players and positions with this. I am going to post a few numbers/stats and let you interpret them as you see fit.
Reading Lane Kiffin's comment earlier this week about the amount of points that Cal has allowed so far this season at first glance really shows the efficiency of their defense but when you dig a little deeper things aren't quiet what they seem.
Cal has had great defenses in the past that have underachieved. So far that does not look to be the issue this season but for Cal with the meat of their schedule still to come its still early yet.
Don't get me wrong, 'SC has their work cut out for them. This isn't going to be like playing some JUCO program, this a great Cal defense that has some players that have made some plays this season but they can be and have been exposed a little bit...especially against the pass.
So here are the numbers...
UC Davis W 52-3
FCS Total offense rank = 100
FCS Rushing offense rank = 111 @ 74.5 ypg (14 yards vs cal)
FCS Passing offense rank = 49 @ 201 ypg (67 yards vs cal)
Colorado W 52-7
Total offense = 84
Rushing offense = 66 @ 147.6 ypg (73 yards vs cal)
Passing offense = 80 @ 193.2 ypg (166 yards vs cal)
Nevada L 52-31
Total offense = 2
Rushing offense = 5 @ 314 ypg (316 yards vs cal)
Passing offense = 51 @ 231 ypg (181 yards vs cal)
Arizona L 10-9
Total offense = 26
Rushing Offense = 92 @ 116 ypg (99 yards vs cal)
Passing offense = 5 @ 328 ypg (212 yards vs cal)
UCLA W 35-7
Total offense = 98
Rushing offense = 17 @ 223 ypg (26 yards vs cal)
Passing offense = 118 @ 95.5 ypg (118 yards vs cal)
Rushing defense – 105.6 yards per game (21st overall, 2nd Pac-10)
Passing defense – 148.8 yards per game (6th overall, 1st Pac-10)
Scoring defense – 15.8 points per game (17th overall, 2nd Pac-10)
Total defense – 254.4 yards per game (7th overall, 1st Pac-10)
OK, those are pretty impressive numbers WRT the defensive unit rankings as a whole, but what stands out to me is that Cal's two toughest games were against ranked opponents, Nevada and Arizona. They also lost both of those games. It is hard to really know about UCLA because of their win against Texas. Texas has shown that they really aren't all that and UCLA has shown to be all over the map with their season so far this year (mostly bad). I will throw out the UC Davis game because its FCS so the body of work to look at is really CU, Nevada and Arizona. And its not like CU is very good either.
One thing I see is that Cal is a little suspect against the pass, giving up an average of around 190 yards to the three teams I mentioned above. But with a solid linebacker unit that can drop into coverage Cal can also bring pressure that will not bode well in giving opposing QB's a lot of time to throw. It just depends on how you catch them.That is the key for 'SC...give Barkley time in the pocket and the receivers to run their routes and they should have some success.
Outside of Nevada rolling through them like Grant through Richmond the front seven are pretty stout against the run. Nobody has gained over 100 yards of rushing. They have the depth to rotate fresh legs and they will throw a lot of different looks at opposing offenses so USC's front line needs to be on top of their game.
There really isn't much more to say. This will be a tough game for 'SC, the offense is going to have to perform even better than they did against Stanford.