Pursued By Bears: Handicapping California's Conference Matchups

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Pursued By Bears: Handicapping California's Conference Matchups
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Things looked pretty good for the Bears after the first two weeks of the season. Kevin Riley was completing passes at will, Shane Vereen was able to get his rest after impressive early-game cameos, and nothing was getting past the defense. Yes sir, fans of the blue and gold had every reason to be optimistic.

But no longer.

After wrapping up their non-conference schedule with an embarrassing loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack, the Golden Bears essentially find themselves right back where they were at the start of the season: off the national radar, and outside the elite ring of Pac-10 teams.And things aren't going to get any easier starting with Saturday's road tilt with No. 14 Arizona.

Conventional wisdom suggests that a Pac-10 title is out of the question. The good news is that, as things stand right now, the Bears look like a textbook case of a team that has nothing to lose. And it's not uncommon for teams like those to be dangerous.

So why not review their matchups, and take a realistic look at Cal's chances of staying in the mix until the end? After all, one loss doesn't necessarily kill a season.

Note: prepare for optimism.

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