Cal, fresh off a bye week, and sporting a lofty #2 national ranking, is all set to take on the Oregon State Beavers this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. The last time we saw the Bears, they had squeaked out a challenging victory against the Oregon Ducks, catapulting their #6 poll position to where they are today. Since then, many an upset has befallen the college football leaderboard, including an utter collapse by USC against Stanford. Now, the nation's eyes are on Cal, and whether their so-far undefeated season will take them to a national championship berth, or if it will become unraveled on the way.
Being an "Old Blue" Cal alum, we keep expecting this dream to come crashing down at any moment. I know Cal is a great football team. It has excellent speed, and some well-known individuals, starting with DeSean Jackson, supported by Justin Forsett, Nate Longshore and a host of leaders on defense. I've seen them consistently win. But just as I feared Cal was overrated at the #6 spot, my anxiety is increased as they've continued their ascent. When I see the play to play struggles or a soft quarter, it's all I can do but hold my head in my hands and hope that outside of the stadium, nobody else sees what I see - a spotty defense and an offense with big playmakers but inexact consistency.
Couple in my pessimism with news that Cal quarterback Longshore is still hobbling after an ankle injury at Oregon, meaning the backup quarterback might see play today, and my stomach starts to turn. Just when we were taking the world by storm, too!
The Beavers are not to be underestimated. In the last few years as a season ticket holder, they have surprised me with their offense, and they've taken some games from the Bears where they shouldn't have. They're no longer the Pac-10 basement dwellers of years gone by, but instead a formidable opponent not to be taken lightly. I hope Cal is ready, and doesn't expect to get a "W" simply because of the logos on their jerseys and what it says in the paper. After all, the game always starts out tied, 0-0.
In a few hours, we'll be in Berkeley, clad in the blue and gold, yelling our lungs out for our Cal Bears to put the pounding on the Beavers and keep progressing up that evolutionary ladder. We'll hope for the best, challenge on every play, and try to keep that little voice in our head quiet for just one more week.
You can follow along on Excuse Me For My Voice or The Band Is Out on the Field. Game time is 4 p.m.