Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oakland Tribune: Cal should be orange with envy

JEFF TEDFORD SAYS Cal turned its attention to Tennessee on Wednesday — 11 days before the season opener — and I have to ask: Why? The only positive in last year's humiliating defeat in Knoxville was the knowledge it could be a rallying point in the Bears' offseason. Instead of screaming at Steve Levy or congratulating Marshawn Lynch on his brilliant career, Tedford should have been trumpeting the Tennessee-revenge motive from the moment his triumphant Bears skipped off the Qualcomm Stadium field last December.   I'm not sure when I turned into a Notre Dame-type fan, but for the second year in a row, Cal's season will be rendered basically meaningless if it doesn't beat Tennessee.  Sure, the Bears still could run the table and wind up in the Rose Bowl. But as last year pointed out, a team unable to beat a midlevel SEC club isn't going to whitewash the Pac-10, and even one conference defeat would lead to the same obscurity as last season's bowl appearance.  Meanwhile, a win over Tennessee would merge the Cal bandwagon onto I-5, heading toward Pasadena at about 100 mph. The Bears could even lose to USC and still make the Rose Bowl, if Pete Carroll's club were to head to New Orleans for the national championship game.  Such is the current state of the college game that a Sept.1 matchup with Tennessee could make or break Cal's chances of going to the Rose Bowl. It is, without a doubt, the most important game the Bears will play all season.  It's so big, it should have gotten the team's attention a long time ago.


Anonymous said...

Um, I think the guys remember. We all remember. And we're all hoping the blue and gold can walk the line between aggresive preparation and over-hype.

All the preseason hype last year was about the trip to UT. Playing Rocky Top in spring practices. And we got embarassed.

Back to business as usual mostly means good things since Tedford arrived.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it'll just be good for the season to start. Right now the hype just gets over the top.

To say that a game on 9/1 determines whether the season in meaningless or not - well, I think that just goes way over the top.

Cal is a different team this year, there's no doubt they remember last year's loss to Tennessee, and there is no way they play as poorly as they did last season.

Its a good thing Tedford and crew don't think like this or they would have folded up their tents and cashed in rest of last season.

Instead, we rallied enough to play USC even for 3 quarters - and put us in a position to make a strong run at the roses this year.

Bear with Fangs said...

I agree. I feel Cal is preparing for this game about as well as you could at this point. And as much as most on the team will refuse to admit it, almost everyone knows what's on the line, so it certainly won't be a lack of motivation.

And although the win will do a lot for national conference bragging rights, a win against Tennessee isn't going to make or break our season. You have to keep in mind that Cal was still in the National Championship conversation up until the Arizona game last year.

All in all, I feel Cal will be better prepared for this season's opener. The question will be whether it will be enough.

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with making or breaking a season. Look, Cal was not used to playing in front of 109,000 screaming Vols fans. They just got rattled.
Having the home field advantagage will make all the differance this year. But win or lose its just an opening non confrence game. Whatever happens, the season will not be won or lost.