It’s easy around this time of year to think about what we want or are wishful for this coming holiday season (that will come during the next blog). But I’m going to take look back what Cal football fans should be thankful for from this 2011 football season so far.
1. A place to go bowling this December – We won’t be playing football on January 2nd as we had hoped this year, but with the Bear’s 23-6 win over Oregon State (ending the 4 year Beaver curse in the meantime), Cal is assured of a bowl game this coming season. Depending on the result of our performance in Tempe on Friday, and all sorts of other factors we can’t control (Stanford vs. Notre Dame, UCLA vs. USC, Utah vs. Colorado, we can significantly improve our bowl prospective from a low tier bowl vs. a non-AQ team, to one against a high-profile Big-12 team (hello Texas or Texas A&M?). Two years ago, the Bears were largely disappointed to hear they were out of the running for the Holiday Bowl when the folks in San Diego announced they were going to pick the winner of the Arizona vs. USC game that season. The Bears then played an extremely unmotivated game in Seattle getting crushed 42-10 by the Huskies and played uninspired in the “other” San Diego bowl game losing to Utah 37-27. However, I’m sure that was a lot better than “studying for finals” or “getting prepared for the draft” which is the silver lining coaches had to focus the players on last year.
2. No significant injuries this year – We had some injuries to our deep linebacking corp and offensive line, but for the most part, we have avoided the injury bug for most of the year. No injuries to Maynard (yes I do believe he is our best option at QB), his brother Keenan, Marvin Jones, or captain on defense Mychal Kendricks. Outside of the USC game, we have largely played competitively in all our games this year. And whether it’s better conditioning or longer offseason from no bowl from last year, it has improved the prospective for 2011.
3. No more home games at AT&T – The home away from home provided 4 victories in 5 games. But lackluster attendance, followed by weird stadium configurations, weird weather, questionable kickoff times, gave a sense we were playing at a pseudo-home field than a true home-field. Unless we play in the Kraft Fight for Hunger Bowl on 12/31, I’m sure Bear fans are eager to un-inhabit their temporary San Francisco home and greet the Nevada Wolfpack opening day in the new Memorial Stadium next year.