Cal relishes another shot at Tennessee in Week 1
At the end of a 20-minute chat Wednesday, California quarterback Nate Longshore circled back to emphasize a point he'd made earlier. "I have nothing but respect for Appalachian State," he repeated. "Those guys have great players, and they're the champions of their division." This had not prevented Longshore from tweaking Chad Henne over the summer. The Cal and Michigan quarterbacks worked together at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. When the subject of opening-day opponents arose, Henne informed Longshore that the Wolverines would face the Mountaineers of Appalachian State. "Must be nice," rejoined Longshore. "Will you guys wear your game jerseys for that one?" Longshore (who went out of his way to point out that ASU is coming off its second national title in the Division formerly known as I-AA) has some room to talk. On Saturday, the junior from Canyon Country, Calif., will lead the 12th-ranked Bears against No. 15 Tennessee -- the only matchup between ranked teams in Week 1.
I know that today's schedules were drawn up in the mists of time, in a previous millennium. But it sure seems as if we're kicking off the season with fewer and fewer meaningful games. For every Cal and Tennessee, there are 10 squads willing to cut a six-figure check to whatever cash-strapped program is willing to play pet-shop mouse to the home team's boa. Gazing upon college football's opening weekend, one sees a bakeoff, a cavalcade of confectionary with a theme song on loan from the neck-tied minstrel of the Snickers commercial.
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