What This Weekend Meant to Cal

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, October 8th, 2007


Very little.

As much fun as the Stanford-USC game was, it hasn’t changed much about where the Golden Bears lie. The Bears were 5-0 before Saturday, they’re 5-0 afterwards. The fate of our team didn’t lie in John David Booty’s broken finger, it rests on how quickly Nate Longshore can nurse that high ankle sprain back to 100%. The only thing that could’ve meant anything was Karl Dorrell being fired, since facing UCLA with a competent coach gives me the jitters. But he looks safe for now.

It’s true that we’re in territory that even Tedford hasn’t touched since he got here: Pac-10 favorite. Or are we? Are there really things as favorites anymore?

Michigan losing to App. State reinforced that every team is vulnerable. Stanford beating USC rammed that point home. No one is safe. The future is long. One week is an eternity. Cal cannot worry about what LSU does, or whether another contender below it falters, or whether UCLA gives up 48 points in its bye week. Focus must be placed in the present, on Homecoming and the Beavers. To look beyond is to invite disaster.

If there is one bright thing about USC’s loss, it’s that the possibility of a let-down game has significantly diminished. With all the perennial contenders getting upset left and right, USC-Cal was quickly shaping up to be the game of the year. The march to the showdown in Memorial would have been pumped up nonstop, and we all know what looking ahead did to Cal last year (not that I expected a repeat of the debacle, but it’s nice to eliminate the situation altogether before we get through October). If the Bears lose a game over the next four weeks, it’s because they weren’t the better team on the field that given Saturday. Period.

And we’re expected to win these games now. We’re #2. I noticed. I’m sure Tedford noticed too. And Cal might have had circumstances of fortune with teams plummeting out of the top 5, only to see teams like South Florida and Boston College supplant them. Through it all, the Golden Bears have yet to let their guard down, and have passed their big tests against Oregon and Tennessee. But challenges await over the next three weeks before the stretch run. Every game must be played with greater resolve than the one before it.

These upsets are omens–beware the future and the past. The future will betray you, the past will burden you. Live in the moment. Doing anything else can doom your chance to claim your place in history.

Because as the Cardinal proved, let your guard down, and even the mighty can be struck down.

Topics: Cal Football, Sports

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