Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Cal Bandwagon Has Lost a Wheel

Wondering what the most popular thing to do as a Bay Area college football fan is?

No, it's not running to the nearest mall and picking up the hottest t-shirt on the Stanford campus.

It's apparently hopping off the Cal to the Rose Bowl bandwagon.

Taking a look at the major papers around Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area...there's once again frustration surrounding the latest shortcomings of Nate Longshore, Jeff Tedford and the rest of the California Golden Bears.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News says that in a mere eight days, Cal has gone from a National Championship contender to a "Sun Bowl wannabe." He goes on to say that against top teams, Cal plays evenly but always seems to give up one or two plays that turn the tide of the game. And the way that Keegan Herring and Dmitri Nance (who, by the way, will most likely be ASU's starter on Saturday night) have been breaking off big runs over the past month, that could be something to look out for, especially the way UCLA's Khalil Bell was able to run the ball down Cal's throat's last weekend.

Rusty Simmons, a football writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, talks about how over the past two weeks and since the team assumed the #2 ranking in the nation, the Cal players have stopped having fun. However, that has not stopped WR Robert Jordan from boasting of a guaranteed win over Arizona State, but apparently there's tension between fellow wide out DeSean Jackson and Tedford.

Post game comments in Jonathan Okanes' article in the Oakland Tribune allude to players that seem to have let the Oregon State and UCLA losses emotionally devestate them. He also talks about big plays, such as rising star Jahvid Best's 54-yard kickoff return which was negated two plays later by a terribly thrown ball by Longshore that resulted in a Bruin pick-six.

Even Cal's student paper, The Daily Californian, has seemed to throw in the towel. A column by Gerald Nicdao seems to compare missed opportunities this season to ones in the past, such as the 2004 loss to USC in which Aaron Rodgers did not throw an incomplete pass until the 4th quarter. He mentions "high expectations and not-so-wonderful results." Unfortunately, that's something we know a lot about here in the desert, but then again, the Devils were never the #2 team in the nation and knocking on the door of the National Championship in the past four years.

Now despite all this, there is absolutely no way that fans should overlook Cal. Despite two losses in back to back weeks, Cal is still by far the most dangerous team the Devils have faced all season, especially now that the Bears will certainly come into Tempe with a chip placed squarely on their gold and blue shoulders.

Mike Jones and Jarrell Woods have both been working out and are expected to play Saturday against California. Head Coach Dennis Erickson said at his Monday press conference that Brent Miller is still questionable after minor knee surgery.

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