I'm a Caro-Kann player who is coming up against the line 1. e4 c6 2. c4.
This line has a few names, such as the "Anti Caro-Kann" and the "Quasi Panov-Botvinnik".
The books recommend 2...d5. Afterall 1...c6 prepared 2...d5. But the line 2...d5 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. exd5 Qxd5 leads to a move down variation of the regular Panov-Botvinnik, so the books recommend after 4. exd5 to play 4...Nf6 to eventually regain the pawn.
My question is, can black feasibly side-step these tricky variations with 1. e4 c6 2. c4 b5(!?). Does this reach a playable middlegame for black?