The next three games could be a serious test to both of those lofty goals.
The sixth-ranked Golden Bears open that stretch Saturday when they begin conference play on the road against Oregon.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made
Best entered the season as a potential candidate for the Heisman Trophy, which has never been won by a
"I see him as a complete player," offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. "I don't see him as a role player. That guy, we're asking him to do a lot and he accepts his workload and responsibility."
Best, averaging 7.8 yards per carry, rushed for 131 yards and a modern school-record five TDs to help
With Best leading the way, the Bears are looking like strong contenders for a conference title and their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1958. Last year, they finished fourth while Southern
The Golden Bears are starting a tough three-game stretch that sees them visiting the Ducks (2-1) and hosting the Trojans before an Oct. 17 matchup at UCLA, which is 3-0.
They are coming off a good test against the Golden Gophers - the game was tied in the fourth quarter - after outscoring their first two opponents 111-20.
Best had a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs in the fourth to put away last Saturday's game. Kevin Riley threw for 77 of his 252 yards on the go-ahead drive midway through the quarter and continues to provide the Bears offense with good balance, completing 64.8 percent of his passes for 698 yards with five TDs and no interceptions.
"He feels good about what he's doing," coach Jeff Tedford said. "He's very poised and very confident. He never panics. I think he's playing really solid."
The Golden Bears have won three straight over
They lost star running back LaGarrette Blount for the rest of the season due to a team-imposed suspension for punching Broncos defensive end Byron Hout in the face as
The Ducks have rebounded, beating Purdue 38-36 on Sept. 12 before snapping then-No. 18
Running back LaMichael James has filled in nicely for Blount. The freshman had 152 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries against
The junior completed 4 of 16 passes for 95 yards and an interception last week, though he did run for two scores and 47 yards. He's rushed for 205 yards and a team-high four TDs this season.
A good day on the ground by Masoli wasn't enough for
The Ducks might have a hard time getting the ground game going against a hard-hitting
Posted: 9/22/09 6:05PM ET