Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh, Fudge

...Except I didn't say "fudge."

Having obsessed about sports for most of my 47 years, I think I can say with some authority that the worst kind of loss - in any sport - is when you fall behind by a margin that seems insurmountable, and then your team does something extraordinary to get back in the game, and then against all odds appears to have the game won, and then through some combination of bad luck, bad karma, and bad play ends up losing.

That pretty much sums up what happened to Cal this evening, blowing their chance at being ranked #1 in the nation by losing to Oregon State, 31-28.

An awful loss, to be sure, but all is not lost. With LSU also losing, this obviously is the season where anything can and will happen in college football. And what the heck - two weeks ago heading into the Oregon game, I was thinking that the Bears were looking at a 9-3 season. That could happen, and the Bears could also win out to go 11-1 and make it to the Rose Bowl for the first time in my lifetime. Your guess is as good as mine.

Kevin Riley, the Cal quarterback who made the grievous error on the final play, should not blame himself for the loss. Cal's defense didn't exactly distinguish itself, and the offensive line couldn't make a big enough hole for Justin Forsett to get through on four consecutive plays from inside the two. And Jeff Tedford should even get a piece of it, for not calling something different during those four plays.

But in the end, it doesn't really matter. The Bears lost, but showed heart and character in doing so. If they can win the next two on the road, all will be right with their world again.

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