Cal unmasked

September, 18, 2010
9/18/10
10:26
AM ET
There is a bit of good news coming out of California's 52-31 loss at Nevada.

Bears fans spent the week fretting their team's new national ranking. That won't be an issue on Monday.

Cal's defense also won't be ranked No. 1 in the nation when this weeks' stats come out. The Bears entered Friday allowing just 160 yards per game. Nevada rolled up 502.

This one was simple, really: Cal's defense couldn't stop Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Cal quarterback Kevin Riley threw three interceptions, including a pick-6 when the Bears looked to be driving for the go-ahead score in the third quarter. In fact, all three came in Nevada territory. And there was also a horrible delay of game penalty on a fourth-and-6 on the Nevada 8-yard line in the fourth quarter.

And so Cal falls to 2-1, with a date at Arizona next weekend.

It's hard not to look at the two senior quarterbacks. Kaepernick has put it all together running Nevada's pistol offense -- UCLA fans, that's what it's supposed to look like -- accounting for five TDs running and passing. He's at the top of his game.

As for Riley, it was more of the same inconsistency that has plagued him for three seasons, starting with the high throw off the hands of Keenan Allen on the Bears' first drive that was picked off. Allen was wide open. It as an easy completion. Riley had good protection. He just missed.

As for the new, aggressive defense with coordinator Clancy Pendergast: Whoops.

The loss obscured a big game from running back Shane Vereen, who ran for a career-high 198 yards and three touchdowns.

Let's give some credit to Nevada. That might be a Top-25 team. But from the Pac-10 perspective, it seems clear that Cal is not.

And it wasn't a good prelude for the conference on "Measuring Stick" Saturday. The Bears were one of four favorites entering the weekend. That means the Pac-10 now needs two underdogs to prevail for the conference to go 5-4.

Wonder if anyone has an upset in 'em?

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