Fellow Bears fans:
I feel your pain. The problem is, it's become an all-too-common pain over the past few years.
Every year, Jeff Tedford and his Cal football team kicks off the season with the grandest of expectations: A Pac-10 and national championship, of course. And even that elusive Rose Bowl berth would be a nice consolation prize.
The media always buys in to the hype at the beginning. Or, like in this year's case, it takes only a couple of high-scoring victories before the bandwagon is back. So, loyal fans that we are, we jump on, expecting a perfect season, and, dare I say it, a win over USC. Because we know our boys have the talent.
Then, there's that unexpected pot hole in the road. We never see it coming, but our beloved Bears can't ever seem too miss it.
Well, ladies and gents, we've hit our first pothole. It resides at the University of Maryland. The Bears failed to even compete for the first three quarters of their East Coast battle with the Terps last Saturday. Their vaunted rushing attack of Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen never even showed up.
But there’s good news. It’s very early in the season, and Cal gets a couple of weeks to regroup for a home game with Colorado St. Then it’s off to the grind of Pac-10 play.
Despite their poor showing on national TV last weekend, Kevin Riley and crew are still a very talented group. Cal is young, fast, and presumably angry after getting abused by a team it should have splattered.
If Bob Gregory’s defense can straighten out its recent issues (i.e. pressure the quarterback), Cal has the potential to finish toward the top of the conference. Right now, it doesn’t seem like anybody in the country—let alone the Pac 10—is capable of unseating USC, but the Bears’ success in games against schools like Oregon, Oregon State, and Arizona State will be key.
Last week’s loss wasn’t pretty, Bear Backers, but the season is still young. So use this weekend to take a deep breath and do a little refocusing. Hopefully, Tedford and his team will do the same.
Remember, Cal, the country is still watching. It’s time to wake up and play to your potential. Because if you don’t, those viewers will turn you off faster than you can say “Armed Forces Bowl.”