Top OOC Games of 2007: #3 Tennessee at California
#3 Tennessee at California
For the second time in as many years the Bears and the Vols will open up the season playing against each other. Last season Tennessee handed one of Cal's 3 losses for the season 35-18. They held Cal's Heisman caliber back, Marshawn Lynch, to under 100 yards while Erik Ainge had a field day with the Cal secondary. It was a big blow to Cal's national perception as many so called experts couldn't get this loss out of their heads when talking about the Bears later in the season.
This year Tennessee travels to Berkley, and they do it having to replace 3 of 4 starters in their secondary. Why is that so important you ask? Well not only is Cal's starting quarterback Nate Longshore returning, but one of the most electrifying players in all of college football DeSean Jackson, will be spilt out for the Bears. Containing him would go a long way towards another Vols victory. Lynch will be replaced by Justin Forsett, who is no slouch himself having posted six 100 yard games in his career. The Bears lost three first-team All-Pac-10 performers on defense as well as three other starters. So if you like offense, this will be the game for you.
Tennessee has Ainge and running back Coker coming back, but have to replace two really good receivers in Smith and Meachem. Ainge's development depends on Fulmer finding him someone to throw the ball to. Ainge did get hit by the injury bug last season, plus missed the second half of spring drills after undergoing surgery to remove torn meniscus cartilage from his right knee. He's back, but still a little fragile under center. Defensively the Vols have to replace most of their defensive line and secondary.
Like I said earlier, if you like offense tune into this game on September 1st at 8pm on ABC. You will see a lot of offensive fireworks, but in the end I think you will see Cal coming out on top due to the home field advantage and the explosiveness of DeSean Jackson.