(Written by Ken Crawford)
OK, I know we’re all still in somewhat smarting from last year’s loss to Oregon. I know most of us have blocked the 2009 game out of our minds (but I’ll bring back the pain with a looking back posts in the next couple days). But it’s important to remember that this has been one VERY balanced series since the Tedford took over the helm in Berkeley:
2002: Didn’t play
2003: Cal loses a tough one in Eugene, 17-21, when some prankster… er… “computer glitch” turned off the lights in the stadium giving Oregon a 2nd halftime to regroup just as the Bears were sticking it to the Ducks.
2004: Cal wins 28-27 in an otherwise equal game that came down to a missed extra point by Oregon (and Oregon’s extra emphasis on 2-point conversions in future years had absolutely NOTHING to do with this game) and the inability of a wide open tight end to catch a perfectly thrown ball on 4th down that would have put the Ducks in easy field goal range at the end of the game.
2005: Cal loses 20-27 in the first overtime after a hurried field goal attempt by the Bears falls inches short at the end of regulation and would have won the game for the Bears.
2006: Cal lays the wood to Oregon, 45-24 in the one lopsided Cal victory where mistakes by Dennis Dixon doomed the Ducks from their first possession
2007: Cal comes away with their one road victory, 31-24, where Oregon was in position to tie in the final seconds of the game but an jarring Ezeff hit on the wide receiver forces a fumble through the endzone for a Cal touchback.
2008: Cal continues their winning streak to 3 games, winning 26-16 in a defensive struggle most memorable for the Cal turfs inability to drain water in a downpour (you think a team named the Ducks would do better on a flooded field).
2009: Cal gives up their one blowout loss 3-42, in a game where Cal recovered a fumble on the initial kickoff and never scored again in what might just be the most painful game I’ve personally witnessed.
2010: Cal loses for the first time at home in this series, a tight 13-15 loss where Oregon’s preemptive 2-point conversions (see earlier note) and Cal’s successive failed attempt to make up the difference was the difference in scoring, although a missed late field goal by Tavecchio will not soon be forgotten by Bear fans despite the fact that Oregon drove inside the Cal redzone in their last drive to run out the clock.
For those counting, the Bears and Ducks are 4-4 against each other, with one blowout to each team’s name and one road victory to each team’s name. Both times the road team won, they were the higher ranked team. However both times there was a blowout, it was the lower ranked team doing the damage. Of course both blowouts were in favor of the home team.
What does all this mean for Thursday night? NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Really… what could those teams possibly have to do with this year’s matchup? Nevertheless we all know that it does matter, right? Just like some teams play the Bears well (Washington, Oregon State), the Bears, with one exception, have played Oregon tough even when they were expected to lose.
Food for thought.