As Dick Enberg would say, Oh my. The Cal football renaissance which began with the hiring of Jeff Tedford in 2001 has, for the first time, resulted in a pre-season Top Ten ranking by a major sports publication. Up until now, it's all been gravy - the steady improvement, the four consecutive wins over Stanford, the increased national exposure, the major upset of USC in 2003. Now, the Bears can take no one by surprise. Even in 2004, when they finished 10-1 and just missed being pegged for a BCS bowl, they began the season in the high teens and snuck up on a lot of folks.
Those days are over. The Old Blues, as they call the alumni who get to sit in the nice (shady) seats, have expectations. And nothing short of a Rose Bowl berth will meet those expectations. For the first time in many, many years, it's nervous time for Cal football.
It's a good feeling.