Tomorrow is A Good Day For Revenge (Cal-Arizona Soliloquy)
November 11, 2006. One of the 5 worst sporting days of my life (I’m sure for most Cal fans it’s tops, but I’ve crossed paths with Nick Anderson, Robert Horry, Peja Stojakovic, and Wychek to Dyson. So it’s easy to say I’ve been here before.). Sometimes it’s best to move forward by looking back. So here I go…
Two wins away from the Rose Bowl. Possibly three wins away from the BCS title game. The horrors at Neyland seemed like an eternity ago. Of course, after the throttling of UCLA a week ago and the Pac-10 title showdown with USC two weeks later, Arizona should have screamed trap game. But I wasn’t too worried. I was confident we would win.
So I shrugged off Longshore’s inital trouble reading the defense. Thought Desean sank the life out of the Arizona crowd with his punt return and his torching reception. Didn’t think that the initial Lynch run callback was a bad sign of things to come, and Arizona was doing nothing special to stay in the game.
But then the Cal offense started to stagnate, and Arizona got away with not one but two interceptions because of defensive penalties on the tying drive, my reflexive mechanisms kicked into gear…oh no, it’s happening again. Watched Longshore throw the worst pass of his life to give the Wildcats the lead. Stared in horror when Hawkins (who had his worst game too) tripped up at the 5 with no one in front of him and the Bears couldn’t punch it in. Nearly gave up when Jackson’s game-saving TD reception was called back. All of it was set up for the game-clinching interception. This was like the football’s equivalent of Murphy’s Law. It was like a microcosm of my entire sports life.
I wasn’t too surprised when Cal stumbled into LA Memorial Coliseum a week later, tantalizing us for three quarters while ultimately breaking down in the 4th quarter. The damage had already been done a week earlier. We had the Rose Bowl in our sights and we gave it away under the desert skies of Tucson.
So we come to this week with a chance to destroy some more ghosts, just like we did with Tennessee three weeks past. Yes, I know Arizona is pitiful this year. Yes, the Bears are arguably stronger and more battle-tested then they were last year. None of this really matters to me. Every game, save Oregon and USC, scream trap game to me now. And I want vengeance.
Crush the Wildcats, Bears. Help to expunge that game from our collective memory banks.
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