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Archive for November, 2007

A win is a win is a frustrating win

Forsett scores the lone redzone TDThe Bears FINALLY got back in the win column last night… but it was one of the most uninspiring win of the Tedford era. How many times do the Bears have to run it up the gut inside the 5 yard line to know that between the young/weak offensive line and defenses keying on it that it’s just NOT going to happen.

There will be plenty of commentary to come, although most of it is going to have to wait until tonight. Unfortunately the podcast won’t be posted until tomorrow because I left the critical cable to upload the audio in the office. However I do plan to do my full re-watch game analysis tonight. In the mean time, here are a few thoughts:

  • The team that played last night WILL NOT beat USC. The good news is that they’re some better redzone play calling and Longshore getting back into rythym from being the team that can pull it off.
  • The defense had one of its best performances of the season outside of both those last two big WSU plays and of course their performance against Oregon.
  • Longshore looked fairly healthy for the majority of the game. Perhaps 90%. His one big interception was an under-thrown ball that had the feel of the ASU injured Longshore and there were a few other moments where he was moving around a little gimpy, but for the most part this was the old Longshore, mobility wise.
  • Despite getting a bit more healthy, you can tell that Longshore and the offense are still suffering from his injury. They felt about as in sync as a 2nd week of the season team, not a 9th week. This injury has completely disrupted the team’s timing and Longshore’s over-the-middle confidence (it seemed he was using the out patterns as a crutch a lot). Hopefully now that he’s closer to full strength a good week of practice and reflection will get them back in sync for the big matchup next week.

More to come…

WaZoo where are you!

(Imagine the above as the voice of shaggy from Scooby Doo)

Today I’d like to take every to a different time.

It was a simplier time. A time when there was no quaterback controversy. A time when the defense was better than bending. A time when Tedford was still above reproach and everything he touched turned to gold… with one exception: Joseph Ayoob.

What… did you think I was talking about 2004?

No, I’m talking about 2005. A team that may just have been Cal’s best team ever if one projects that Longshore would have played as well in 2005 as he did in 2006. That team had everything. It had a great defense (Mebane, Hughes, Mixon, Bishop, Tafisi, McCluskey, Foltz… man they were ALL good). It had the same wide receiver core as today, albeit a little less polished. It had probably the best offensive line in the Pac-10 in over a decade (Merz, O’Callaghan, Phillip, et. al.). It even had a mostly injury free Marshawn Lynch. Yup, it had everything EXCEPT a quarterback.

After going 5-0 against a pretty weak set of opponents, the lack of a quarterback sacked Cal in two consecutive games against UCLA and Oregon State. Everyone was crushed. The Bears had fallen out of the top-25, something they’d been in every week for more than a year. Was it time to sit the QB, the ONLY QB the Bears really had? Washington State was coming to town and everyone feared that the once great Bears were going to lose, that the Bears would turn into an absolute disgrace.

Sound familiar?

Yes, 2007 has a surprisingly 2005 feel to it. Of course the big difference is that Ayoob was completely healthy and unable to perform whereas Longshore has been hampered by injury adding a lot of questions marks as to whether a turn around is in the making as his injuries heal without going to the level of benching him in favor of the backup.

No matter what the cause of the 2005/2007 collapses, I’m confident about one thing: WSU is the perfect team to undo the odd year blues. This is a pretty weak team and one that if the Bears come to play at all, will win with ease. Don’t even bother with the “they beat UCLA” comments or the “their run defense seems pretty stout”… that’s all garbage thinking. They’re beating UCLA has more to do with UCLA’s inconsistency and Cal’s inability to beat a remarkably mediocre team than it has anything to do with WSU. The run defense isn’t stout, just the worse of the two alternatives for opponents who are able to light them up in the air. Also, this is a team that hasn’t won on the road yet (that’s the counter to the “they took ASU to the brink” argument as well). Average score of their road games you ask? Try 15-47 including a humiliating 20-48 loss to Arizona.

Add in that the Bears are hungry and there is nothing better than WSU to end an odd year hibernation. Bears win this in a walk: 31-10 (sticking with my preseason prediction)