I've had a lot of questions about this California team. And my questions, like many other Golden Bear fans', would be answered in the game against Maryland.
Will they live up to the hype? Will they choke like in years past? Will Javhid Best play up to his potential? Will Kevin Riley screw things up again?
Does California have a shot at beating USC and claiming the PAC-10 Championship?
Every one of those questions were answered last night. California ruled Maryland 52-13 and not only stunned them, but the rest of the college football world.
Now I say stunned because even though we were favored to win, it was supposed to be a close game. Maryland isn't exactly San Jose State, who might I add had USC on the ropes for the first quarter. Maryland isn't a cupcake team just anyone could beat. The Terrapins were in contention for the ACC championship in 2008, even though they eventually fell to a four-way tie for 3rd place. But then again, what else do you expect from the unpredictable ACC?
What else do you expect from unpredictable Maryland, who upset the Golden bears 35-27 in 2008?
I'm stunned because of all the teams playing in the top 25, I heard over and over again that "Maryland would be the team to upset California..." on ESPN.
No upsets here my friends (unless you're including Oklahoma). All California did was give us a breath of fresh air. Kevin Riley looked stunning, completing more than 65 percent of his passes, threw for four touchdowns, 298 yards for a QB rating of 180.5.
Javhid Best and Shane Vereen ran for a combined 185 yards and three touchdowns, including two early strikes in the first six minutes of the game by Best.
The California defense looked unlike a top-25 defense. More like a top-10 defense, led by Syd'quan Thompson. The Bears didn't let Maryland get a touchdown until late in the third quarter.
I hope USC enjoyed their cupcake, while we took down a possible bowl contender.
Look out PAC-10, we may have a new champion by year's end, and the game with Maryland only calmed my nerves. I used to think California only had a slight chance of beating USC. But after watching this, the game could seriously go either way, possibly in favor of California, but only because we're at home. That game will come down to heart and sheer willpower.
Now I'm not saying we have nothing to worry about. We definitely could be upset by a lesser team, but we can definitely make some noise in the PAC-10, and possibly, the NCAA. I don't think I'm out of line saying California can definitely be playing in the National Championship come January (it's definitely possible).
History says it won't happen, but if there was any time for California to change history, 2009 is the year, and USC is the team to beat if Tedford's Golden Bears want that prize.
Like Javhid Best running out of the fog, it seems the California Golden Bears are also ready to come out of the shroud of misery and defeat it suffered before the Jeff Tedford era.