(Written by Ken Crawford)
It’s been pretty surprising to me to see how quickly both the fan and pundit impression of the Bears have changed, and multiple times at that.
The Bears were done for after the first two games. Then they played a close one against tOSU and all of a sudden they just might be able to beat USC (despite the fact that USC was probably better than tOSU). Then the Bears lose to USC, as was to be expected even if an upset was possible, and the Bears were terrible again. They were even more terrible after the loss to ASU (I’ve got no excuses for that one).
Then there was the VERY pleasant surprising dominant win over UCLA and the bandwagon was officially open for business again. It gained even more steam after an all too easy win over WSU.
Then came the Big Game beat down and all of a sudden the question is just how terrible the Bears are. Utah is all of a sudden a better team.
Look… maybe, just maybe, the Bears are just mediocre. Nothing more complicated than that. Mediocre teams can on occasion play a good game, some times even getting the upset, but most of the time they lose to the best teams. (tOSU, USC, Stanford) Sometimes it is ugly.
When mediocre teams play other mediocre teams, sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. Sometimes all the breaks go their way and they win pretty big and sometimes it is exactly the opposite (ASU, UCLA, Nevada)
But when mediocre teams play crummy teams they win almost all the time and they make it look like they are better than they are. Ocassionally they play a bad game and lose to a crummy team, but it is the exception, not the rule.
So I ask you, is 2-5 Utah a crummy team or a mediocre team?
I say crummy. They have been man handled by every team in the conference they have played, including the same UCLA team Cal handled easily. They also lost far worse to ASU than Cal did. The fact that their low score loss to OSU is considered progress further underlines how they are on the wrong side of mediocre.
People will bring up that they went 0-4 in conference last year before going on a run… but that was AFTER Cal made easy work of them to put them at 0-4 in conference. Cal showed last year who has the better players and not much has changed since last year.
To the game itself…
The gameplan for this one is the same as it was for WSU and it will work again: win this one at the line of scrimmage with superior athletes. (The fact that we has the same gameplan against Stanford… well that is why Tedford’s job is at stake.)
But make no mistake, Cal is the better team and as long as they show up to play with a reasonable amount of heart (which I expect), the Bears should win.
Final score: Bears 27, Utes (what is a Ute?) 13