Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sports Illustrated: Season Opening Questions

Stewart Mandel

There's football this weekend, folks. Real, actual, meaningful football games. Let's not beat around the bush. Here are 10 questions I'm most eager to have answered by this time next week:

1) Is Cal ready to reclaim its manhood?

There's no sugar-coating it -- the Bears got absolutely humiliated in Knoxville last year, and the cloud never fully vanished, even amid a 10-win season. Saturday night, they get their chance at revenge on friendly turf. I don't think it's a stretch to call it the most important game to date in the Jeff Tedford era.

2) Will the SEC walk the talk?

Having heard non-stop for the past eight months how undeniably superior their conference is to all others, it's time for the Southern powers to back it up. In addition to Cal-Tennessee, the conference hosts two other high-profile matchups in Week 1: Kansas State-Auburn and Oklahoma State-Georgia. After all that bragging, I'm going to be highly disappointed if I don't see at least three-touchdown margins in both.

Read the entire article here.


California Pete said...

No, Stewart, it IS a stretch. The last two Cal trips to the L.A. Coliseum were both bigger, as a win over SC either year would have put the Bears into the Rose Bowl--or maybe even the BCS title game in '04. Perhaps in the eyes of the national media, a redemption win over a good-but-not-great SEC team is bigger. But everyone in the Cal program would gladly trade a win over the Vols for one over the Trojans.

Anonymous said...

Um, after last year's embarassment (which continues to today), I'd gladly have a one loss season feature a loss to USC (with the Rose Bowl still a possibility) than to run the table with the suspicion that we can't beat an SEC team. Losing to the Vols would diminish the Pac 10, and people would explain away a voctory over USC as evidence of a weak conference. Absurd? Yes. But it would happen.

Let's take this one step at a time. And our game this weekend is a big step.

If we win this game, *then* the USC game becomes the biggest game of the season.

Thus, Mandel is half right: It is the biggest game if we lose, but not the biggest game if we win. As it should be.