Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bears favored? It will Rain in California first!




I’m thinking it’s aliens that are messing with us.

It was once gospel that there’d be rain in California before the Bears would be favored to beat the Texas Longhorns.  Oops!  Put the top up on the jeep, Goobs.  It’s actually raining outside—and egads forsooth, the Bears are favored by 7—on the road, no less. 

If Donald Trump sports a buzz cut in the debate tonight, you’ll understand that weirdness is the new normal.  Macbeth said, “Nothing is but what is not,”  and now we have “nothing that could ever happen—has.”

Who, during our 1 and 11 season ever dreamed the Bears would be favored over the pride of the Big 12? Not Mac Brown.  Of course, most of the prognosticators figured Bill would be indicted before Hillary, so it shows what experts know.

Of course, both could be just flukes.  This rain may be all we see this season, and the Bears first two victories may be all they get.

But there’s reason to believe, in both cases, that there may be some substance behind the appearances.

OK.  It’s not often that the game ball after the opener against Grambling State was given to the schedule maker.  Pac 12 Commissioner, Larry Scott, loves Friday night games (we don’t) so why he didn’t schedule our game against a high school on Friday night is beyond me. 

I’m not a fan of having schools with 85 scholarships play ones limited to 66.  But we grew up under Ray Willsey who was ashamed to play San Jose State because they played in a weaker conference.  He felt athletes wanted to prove themselves only against the big boys.  Check out those schedules in the 60’s vs. who USC, and Cal played on opening day.

But I digress.  

We played well—both Saturdays.  There were few penalties and we looked disciplined.  The special teams need work, but the D. stepped up—big time--albeit against inferior completion.  However, in years past inferior competition scored  superior points, so we should be encouraged.

(Not sure I’m comfortable with the starting QB being in the game when we are up by 51 points, but times have changed, I guess—and we Luddites have to learn to change with them).   Mr. Goff may be the best QB in the land.

With that exception (as a parent of a former Notre Dame QB who didn’t start) it was great to see just how many kids the coaches got into the game.  It appeared they did a terrific job of emptying the bench—which will only make the team better.  As Coach George Davis used to say, “It’s the third team halfback that will cost you the championship.”—i.e. you are only as strong as your weakest link.

For two years we’ve proved we can pass and we can catch.  For two weeks we’ve proved that we can block and we can tackle.  Now, can we do it on the big stage?

The South is daunting (106,000 screaming fans completely intimidated a good Bears team in Tennessee)—and incredibly friendly.  (Remember when we went to Tennessee and the locals invited us on to their boats, and when the Goobs didn’t want a beer, (an ex-Tennessee Cheerleader around our age said, “I know just what you need.  It’s Vodka, pink lemonade and Sprite.  We call it a Pink Panty Pull-down.)  Sold.  And make it a double.  I love the South. 

The mass of warm water off the coast is called “The Blob.”  It’s what gives us hope for a huge El Nino. The “Goff” is what gives us hope for a huge win on Saturday.  One brings the promise of more rain.  The other the promise of more wins. 

Playing on the road is a daunting task.   Whether we can keep our cool down there, especially on 6th street under such pressure is an open question.  Same goes for the team.  Playing (different from our kind of playing) in front of 100,000 fans and a national TV audience will be a difficult test for these young boys. 

But there will be more than a few of us loyal Golden Bears down there to root them on (Andy Rogers is hosting a B.Y.O.B “Southern M.O.A.T) Mother of all Tailgates), and quite a golden Bear contingent is expected to show up and show the colors.

Unlike the Grambling game, playing on the big stage is what most college athletes yearn for.  Our kids going up against the wealthiest athletic department in the country.  They have the best team and the best facilities money can buy.

Hope they prove that pride and character count more than dollars and cents.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren '70