CAL LEGENDARY TAILBACK Jahvid Best will be the talk of Minnesota today. And tonight. Come sunrise Sunday, the state can resume its Brett Favre worship. As for that "legend" label on Best, it will stick with him from here on out, from campus life to his NFL pension-cashing days. His Cal career — and Heisman Trophy candidacy — ramps up big time over the next few weeks, starting with Cal's first road trip of the season: today's journey into Big Ten territory, where Minnesota will be showing off its new TCF Bank Stadium. Next Saturday is a visit to Oregon's daunting Autzen Stadium. On Oct. 3, it's "Victory Cannon In The Canyon," when host Cal looks for that elusive win over USC.
Is Best up for this gantlet? It's a fair question, no matter how wonderfully team oriented he and the No. 8 Bears (2-0) are talking and playing. Best's big-game credentials are lacking (not "Big Game" vs. Stanford, mind you), and here come some biggies. What makes unranked Minnesota (2-0) so treacherous is Cal's recent road history. The Bears are 1-8 away from Memorial Stadium since a mid-2007 win at Oregon (excluding bowl games). That trouble away from home is a stain on Best's legacy. His resume needs impressive road wins. Today's will be a tuneup for next week's trip to Oregon, and, after the home game vs. USC and a bye, Cal plays UCLA at the Rose Bowl (the first of, gulp, two appearances there this season?).
"We're not going to have our crowd backing us, and it's not going to be our atmosphere," Best said at his weekly media session Wednesday, "but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is what happens on the field. It shouldn't be too much of a difference for us."