Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cal - My

By []Lenny Del Genio Well, I figured this was going to be funny, having ranked my Pac-10 teams before the season and having the preview extend into the regular season. I just didnt think it was going to be this funny two weeks in. Cal really stunk up the joint in losing to Tennessee. Erik Ainge threw for four touchdowns and led the Vols to a 35-18 win over Cal. And, believe it or not, the final score was better than the game would indicate. Cal fell behind 35-0 and scored the final 18 points in this one to make it look like it was a game. But it never was. California needs to put this one aside and realize that, over the years, a good number of teams have overcome horrific openers to post solid seasons. This team can still make something of itself, but it needs to completely forget about Week 1.
Miami, for example, started the 1983 season with a 28-3 loss to Florida yet still managed to find solace in a national championship. The last time Cal played in the Rose Bowl -- 1958 -- it lost its opener. It also lost its opener in 1975, when it shared the conference title with UCLA but didn't go to the Rose Bowl. "It wasn't so much about who we played, it was how we played," coach Jeff Tedford said. "We can play much better. Everybody understands it's just one game in the season. There's a long season ahead." Confidence is so important, though. It's possible the Bears will be deflated from one bad game in Tennessee. There are issues at quarterback and the defense was incapable of stopping a Pop Warner team against the Volunteers. I have not been a fan of any of their quarterbacks. Steve Levy is a marginal leader whose off-field problems got the better of him and were a distraction leading up to the Tennessee game. Joe Ayoob should probably not be playing quarterback at a Division I school; I am unsatisfied with his game management skills and arm. And Nate Longshore is a little inexperienced for my liking. The thing is, with this offensive line and this stable of running backs, you should be able to put just about anyone out there and do well. I think that Week 1 was an anomaly, and that running backs Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett will get the job done. But for Cal fans who were thinking national title, thats going to be tough. If youre going to fall apart at any time in the season, the opening game is the best time to do it. But for Cal, still my #2 team in the Pac-10, the main question is, can they recover? Lenny Del Genio is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League.
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