Thursday, October 08, 2009

A CAL FAN’S NOTES USC

Bear Fans,

My wrists had just scabbed over when I got home late Saturday night and attempted the old Sylvia Plath two-step with the oven. Alas, being in Real Estate, we are broke and haven’t paid the gas bill in months so putting my head in the oven was as brilliant as trying to put it where my wife keeps telling me it is.

Ergo: like some of you I’ve had to live with the pain of our most recent Saturday Night Massacre.

Friends have been emailing me for an opinion and comments. They want answers. They have thoughts. So do I, but since this is a family medium I can’t print them.

Someone has to say it. The Bears go 10 and 2 and we’re still angry.

No. We’re not going to date the Centerfold. But the other girls in the back pages are hardly chopped liver.

Now that you know that Marajuana is clearly legal up here, let’s look at the bright side:

We do have a lot of athletes, and judging by what the rest of the teams on our schedule have done against the competition they’ve played, we have an outstanding chance to win each and every game—assuming we don’t go in the tank like the Desean-Marshawn group did a couple of years back.

Football can once again be fun for us fans. We no longer have to look at polls and watch useless games like Boise State vs. Sarah Lawrence in the hopes that Sarah upsets them and knocks them out of contention—that we might move up a notch or two.
We don’t have to hope that Tebow misses a game so Jahvid can move up in the Heisman rankings (I hate rooting against anybody!)

We don’t have to fret about Mac Brown and the pollsters jobbing us at the end of the year and robbing us of the Holy Grail.

For the rest of the year (barring a total collapse) the point spread will be within a touchdown of everyone we play. And we’ll win way more than we lose.
Now that the pressure’s off, finally we may win in Pasadena—just not in the game we want to be in.

We won’t be blasé about scoring over 50 points against Washington State.
We’ll point out that we beat the Huskies—and they beat SC.
We’re liable to sweep the Arizona schools.

Big Game will really be big. Hopefully, Stanford wins a bunch and then we crush them and wreck their entire season.

Why might this take place? Let’s look at some facts.

Jahvid Best isn’t any worse today than he was when the season started. (Though his toe may be giving him more problems than they are letting on). As marketing is king, he won’t get the Heisman but he’s clearly Heisman caliber. He does have to get the ball—however.

One of the most depressing stats was that in three years against SC, he’s carried 30 times for 90 yards. If it read 60 times for 180 yards—the three yard average would be the same but it wouldn’t hurt so. For it would have meant that he carried the ball 20 times a game.

I don’t think anyone beats SC with their best athlete carrying the ball 10 times each time they play.

The D played well against SC.

The O line did not protect as well as it should—or can. I think they will still be a great unit—especially if we run more.

But we can still be a very good team. And coming in tied for 2nd in the Pac 10 might be a lot of fun.

Today, we just aren’t a top 10 team—though some of us dreamers thought we would be.
Why aren’t we a top 10 team?

It’s foolish to point fingers at coaches or kids. There are just some things which top 10 teams do that other teams don’t. It’s that simple.

Top 10 teams do not miss field goals—and it takes a whole team to miss one.

Top ten teams take care of special teams—and don’t allow punt returns for scores.

Top ten teams kick off into the end zone.

Top ten teams don’t leave 7 seconds on the clock at the end of the half when they are trailing and in the red zone.

To 10 teams don’t go two weeks without a touch.

Top 10 teams play to their strength. They either run or pass--depending upon whether they have a Colt McCoy or Toby Gherhart (Interestingly, this year’s top 10ers pass more than run).

Top 10 teams hit.

Top 10 teams don’t give up sacks.

Top 10 teams don’t miss opportunities (we tried a playground trick play—which was very cool. Vareen pretended to run off the field, and just like we did as kids, stood on the sideline without leaving the field. He ran down—no one was anywhere near him—and the pass was over thrown. To be a top 10 team, we just have to make gimme plays like that. They don’t come around that often.

Top 10 teams go right at you on 4th and short or third and short and dare you to stop them.

Top 10 teams don’t beat a team like Miami in a bowl game, bring back more starters than they do, and then fall off the face of the earth while Miami plays tough teams and moves up to number 11.

Top 10 teams belong in the top 10 and act like it. They have a swagger. They know they are going to put a hit on the opposition, and they keep the pressure on them all game long until they break. Somehow we tend to let teams up off the mat and don’t pound them the way we might. No one is afraid of us.

Top 10 teams take risks and play with audacity. Pete Caroll went for it on 4th down four times!! He treats us with disdain.

Like you, I hate SC. We are so close to playing with them—(our D actually did)—yet we just don’t quite yet have it—in all phases of the game. Or we didn’t that day.
So if you like Cal football, the rest of the season could be really thrilling. We’re looking at 5 and two easily and a possible 7 love run the rest of the way. What could be bad about that?

I know. We were hoping for 12 and 0. That’s because we’re Bear fans and have no sense of reality.

10 and 2! Even worst case--8 and 4. For years we were praying for seasons like these. What have we become?

We're now our worst enemy. We actually think that foldout likes us and will dump Sean Connery and walk out on our arm.

Or not!!

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70