Still reluctant to give a definitive answer, Cal coach Jeff Tedford said after practice Thursday that backup quarterback Allan Bridgford "most likely" will replace injured starter Zach Maynard against No. 2 Oregon.
Maynard, who sprained his left knee last Friday against Washington, has not practiced all week. He walked off the practice field Thursday morning wearing a brace on his knee after being transported on a cart the previous two days.
"He has not practiced," Tedford said of Maynard. "He's gotten better each and every day, but we don't want to irritate it. Most likely if he's ready to play (Saturday), he'll be there for a backup-type of role. Most likely Bridgford will start."
Bridgford finished the Washington game after Maynard left with 4:01 left.
Bridgford, who is 4 of 16 for 32 yards this season, has gotten first-team practice repetitions all week. Tedford said he is ready.
"He's always done a real nice job of preparing, keeping his head into it. He's a student of the game," Tedford said.
Florida State 28, Virginia Tech 22: E.J. Manuel hit Rashad Greene with a slant pass that Greene took 39 yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds to play and the No. 8 Seminoles (9-1, 6-1) survived a scare to beat the Hokies (4-6, 2-4) in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in Blacksburg, Va.
The Hokies had gone ahead 22-20 on Cody Journell's 21-yard field goal with 2:19 remaining. The kick
Limited to minus-15 rushing yards for the game, the Seminoles got 7 from James Wilder Jr. on fourth-and-1 from their 41, and Manuel hit Greg Dent for 13 yards two plays later. After Manuel threw a pass away under pressure, he hit Greene on a short slant against a zone defense, and Greene took it all the way.
Academic honors: San Jose State's Travis Johnson and Stanford's Henry Anderson were voted to the Capital One Academic All-District 8 Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
USC: Coach Lane Kiffin suggested that the student manager who was dismissed by the school for underinflating several game balls was acting on his own.
"I was just disappointed, because it was just a distraction," Kiffin said. "It was a distraction that nobody knew about here, that had no effect on the game. If anything, it had a negative effect to be throwing two different types of balls for a quarterback. I was just disappointed, because it was a distraction that we didn't need."
Officials apparently discovered three underinflated balls before USC lost to Oregon on Saturday and two more at halftime. Kiffin offered no thoughts about the possible motivation of the unidentified manager, saying he hadn't spoken to the student.
Houston: Cornerback D.J. Hayden remains hospitalized in "stable, yet critical" condition after tearing a vein in a collision with a teammate during practice.
Tennessee State: Freshman defensive back William Wayne Jones III, 19, died at a hospital after collapsing during practice Wednesday afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.