Last week, Cal's defeat at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats left us extremely frustrated. Having won eight straight contests prior to last week's game, the Cal Bears were rising in the national rankings, and discussions of them being one of the strongest "one-loss teams" to challenge for the national title were growing strong. But with a single 24-20 loss in Tucson, the Bears returned home completely out of the BCS standings.
With that said, the team still remains tied with USC at 6-1 in the Pac-10 conference standings, and with a win tonight, they would be almost guaranteed a spot in the Rose Bowl, barring an unthinkable collapse against conference doormat Stanford in the official "Big Game". Yet, not many are giving Cal a chance to pull it off. The team, ranked #17 in the nation, is going down to Southern California to face the Trojans, ranked #3 overall in the country, where they have won 22 consecutive contests at home, and 18 straight contests in November. Not even my father-in-law, though usually supportive of our Bears, could pick them in his weekly football pool. "They don't have a chance," he told me yesterday. "I'm sorry."
With that said, we're still going to be watching. My wife and I will head to her father's house tonight and see the big game unfold on TV, hoping that Cal will have shaken off last week's horrible outcome, and can ride the strength of Marshawn Lynch, DeSean Jackson and Ryan Longshore to an unexpected victory. We will be yelling at the TV tonight in support of our Bears, and surely, at least at some points, in frustration. We don't despise USC the way we do Stanford, but there's nothing good to say about that school, the University of Spoiled Children, or as my wife says, the University of Second Choice.
While the rest of the nation takes in the Michigan/Ohio State game (OSU is winning 41-31...), we're still focused on the West Coast, on our Bears, and on what could be the opening for Cal to reach the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1959.
If you're near a computer during the game, follow along at "The Band Is Out On The Field".