Yesterday's game was a really strong underline to and confirmation of the fact that this year's Cal team wasn't quite ready for prime-time. And let's face it, we probably all knew it, too. A team doesn't lose the likes of three really solid receivers, a couple of stalwarts on the O-Line, and a dependable stud running back and expect the offense to just pick up and not miss a beat.
That being said, the talent did certainly tease us with it's potential and promise of what might be. Especially after being seduced by the huge opening day win, and a stomping of a really inferior opponent. But even then, we could see past the seduction: Cal couldn't sustain a drive against Wazzu, and it was the big play on D and special teams that really beat MSU (and Oregon, and Ucla, and ASU ...)
But reality has a way of showing up, doesn't it? In the sober light of morning, that hottie you picked up in the bar after your fourth Golden Bear reveals herself to be kind of homely. And the Cal offense is proving to be kind of ugly too.
And then, depression sets in. The ugly chick is knocked up, and Cal's offense sucks. Of course, it's not quite time to pick up that seppuku blade just yet. There are two very winnable games remaining (if we lose to Washington again this year, you can pick up that blade), and what could be a Holiday Bowl berth waiting for us.
Of course, none of that addresses the problems. Silly penalties at the wrong time. Inconsistent (and sometimes crappy) OL play. Dropped balls. Choosing the wrong hole by the RBs. Overthrows, underthrows, behind the receiver throws, missed open receivers, etc by the QBs. Brain farts by the D on seemingly every single third and greater-than-7. And special teams collapses.
Of all these, I feel least worried about the RBs. Best & Vereen (and Slocum, maybe) are already studs and with good OL play could be racking up huge numbers. The receivers will get better as they get more comfy with the QBs (and Tucker is emerging). Hopefully Riley will grow from this year and prove himself to be more Kyle Boller than Joe Ayoob.
But still, JT has a big task in front of him for next year. The OL hasn't really shown any level of skill (and that's saying something when it still has Alex Mack on it), and we are losing three LBs off the defense (and maybe one all-world DB if SQT leaves early).
All in all, in retrospect and after a night of reflection and a couple of giant cups of some yummy Major Dickason's blend, it seems to me this Cal team is performing about where it should be this year. It could have been better (and maybe should have been), but I think most of us figured a 7 or 8 win season.
And as far as yesterday ... well, OSU is a good team, and they just managed to pull away in the 2nd half. And it was all those Rodgers kids, too. Congratulations to them on a good win and a great season. They deserve their success. And we deserve our mediocrity ... at least this year.