In the recent weeks, ESPN's Ted Miller has been doing Best Case/Worst Case scenarios for other Pac-Ten schools such as UCLA, WSU, and a few others. He hasn't done one for Cal yet, so I thought I would make one of my own.
Michigan State, August 30: Kevin Riley throws for 3 INTs and 1 TD while Jahvid Best runs for a measly 30 yards in the first half. Spartans QB Brian Hoyer throws for 2 TDs and tailback Javon Ringer runs for one, making the score 21-7 going into halftime. Longshore comes out to start the third quarter to mixed cheers from Olsonist and boos from the crowd. Longshore looks decent throughout the third, leading a six minute drive up the field that results in a Marvin Jones. The defense quiets MSU for the third quarter, holding the Spartans to a field goal. But Tedford leave Longshore in for the 4th quarter, where he promptly throws two INTs, one of which is run back 65 yards for a touchdown. The Spartans win, 31-14.
Washington State, September 6: Kevin Riley reverses his MSU performance and plays all 4 quarters, throwing for 2 TDs without a turnover. Jahvid Best runs for a touchdown and causes a fumble on a punt return. The Cougs offense is quiet until the fourth quarter, when they try to mount a comeback from a 24-7 deficit. Gary Rogers throws a TD to Brandon Gibson and Michael Bumpus to make it 24-21, but the Bears rally back with a Seawright FG and another Jahvid Best TD. Bears beat the Cougars, 34-21.
Maryland, September 13: Everything goes wrong for the Bears today. Everything. Having to wake up at 4AM Pacific Time for a 9AM PT game, Cal comes out completely flat against a speedy Maryland team. Kevin Riley gets sacked 3 times in the first quarter and Jahvid Best turns the ball over on the Bears' 14 yardline, resulting in a Terps TD . Maryland adds two FGs to their lead before halftime, and all Cal can come up with is a FG before the half. The game goes the same way for the second half, and Maryland wins 30-10.
Colorado State, September 27: The Bears are fresh and motivated coming off a tough loss and then a bye week, and Jahvid Best runs for a career best 220 yards all over a helpless CSU defense. Longshore comes in midway through the second quarter and stays in the game, finishing with 3 TDs & no INTs. Bears win, 42-10.
Arizona State, October 4th: Rudy Carpenter comes to Strawberry Canyon and stomps all over a lackluster Cal secondary. The Bears do sack him 3 times, but he makes up for it by throwing for 4 touchdowns in a not-so-close 35-13 ASU victory as Shane Vereen scores his first TD of the year and Seawright adds 2 more FGs.
Arizona, October 18: The Bears don't usually play well in Tucson. They don't end that trend tonight. Riley throws for 1 TD but gets picked off twice, Willie Tuitama throws for 3 TDs, and the Wildcats fans don't even rush the field like the did in 2006 as they beat a now 2-4 Golden Bear team, 35-10.
UCLA, October 25: The Bears are angry with themselves, and they take it out on the Bruins without mercy. The D-Line sacks 3rd-String QB Kevin Craft a whopping 7 times, and Kevin Riley throws for 3 TDs while getting picked off only once. Longshore plays the 4th quarter and leads the bears on a 55 yard drive resulting in a field goal, and the Bears win 31-17.
Oregon, November 1: The Ducks offense is just as high-powered as it was last year and Nate Costa throws right through Cal's inexperienced secondary. Riley doesn't have his best night, either. He throws 2 INTs without a touchdown and completes only 8 of 19 pass attempts. Ducks beat the Bears, 33-10.
USC, November 8: Jeff Tedford has never won in Los Angeles. This year is not the year. Joe McKnight and C.J. Gable run for a touchdown each and Mark Sanchez passes for 2, while Riley throws a touchdown to Jones and gets picked off once in the third quarter. The Trojans roll 34-10.
Oregon State, November 15: The Bears would be down in the dumps at this point and Oregon State doesn't feel like changing that. Sean Canfield throws for a touchdown and the Beavs add 4 field goals, while Cal's Jahvid Best runs for one touchdown and Riley throws in another one. The Beavs win a tight one, 19-14.
Stanford, November 22: The Bears are really mad now. Their once promising season has turned into a long, drawn-out nightmare and all they want is to crush their biggest rival. Jim Harbaugh's team isn't really capable of stopping the Bears offense, and the Bears are more than happy to take advantage of that. Riley throws for 2, Best runs for 2, and Seawright adds 6 points of his own as the Bears trounce the 'Furd, 34-3.
Washington, December 6: As doubt begins to build in Berkeley about Jeff Tedford's future, the Bears are eager to make on end-of-season statement about what type of team they should have been. Jake Locker throws 3 touchdowns, but Kevin Riley throws 4 in the game of his career. Best adds a touchdown of his own, and the Bears Roll On, 41-24.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that ugly worst case. But it was an absolute worst-case scenario, and I think that everyone on this blog will agree a lot more with the best case than they do with the worst case.
Michigan State, August 30: The Bears run out of North Tunnel looking to redeem themselves from last year's second-half nightmare, and they do. The new-look defense shuts down MSU's running game, and Jahvid Best runs for two touchdowns. Riley plays the entire first half and going into halftime, the Bears lead 17-7. Nate Longshore starts the second half, and throws a touchdown and an interception. Riley comes back in for the 4th quarter and throws another TD, giving himself 2 on the night. Bears win, 35-17.
Washington State, September 6: The Bears go up north looking to show the country that the MSU victory wasn't a fluke, and they do. Riley plays the whole game this time, throwing for 280 yards, 2 TDs and one INT. Best and Vereen add a TD each, and the Bears crush the Cougs on the road, 34-7.
Maryland, September 13: This game is a sloppier one, but the Bears clearly have the edge over an overpowered Terrapin squad. Riley, having established himself as the clear starter, plays the whole game again, throwing for 3 TDs and 1 interception. Jahvid Best goes scoreless, but David Seawright makes up for him by nailing two 45 yard-plus kicks. Bears win, 27-10.
Colorado State, September 27: The Bears come out strong and dominate an intimidated CSU team. Best makes up for his lackluster performance and runs for 2 TDs, while Riley throws for 1 and runs one in himself on a QB keeper. Final score: Bears 37, Rams 3. The Golden Bears improve to 4-0 and are ranked 17th in the nation.
Arizona State, October 4: The Bears are red-hot, and the Sun Devils are coming off a heartbreaking one-touchdown loss to Georgia. Jahvid Best continues his dominance of defenses with 2 more touchdowns and 145 yards, while Riley throws for 190 yards and a touchdown. The Sun Devils rally late in the game but Bob Gregory's defense saves the game by causing a late fumble, and the Bears win 27-21.
Arizona, October 18th: The Bears are practically unstoppable right now, and they beat Willie Tuitama and the Wildcats into the ground. Riley throws 2, Best runs for 2, Seawright kicks 2, and the Bears only have 2 games left before their matchup with undefeated USC at the Coliseum. Final Score: California 34, Arizona 13.
UCLA, October 25th: The Bruins still don't have a half-decent quarterback and the Bears have 2. This shows early as Worrell Williams causes a fumble on Kevin Craft halfway through the first quarter, and Kevin Riley finishes the act with a 27-yard strike to a wide-open Marvin Jones in the Endzone. The other 3 quarters go similarly, and the Bears improve to 7-0 by beating UCLA by a score of 37-17. The next morning when the AP Poll comes out, they find themselves ranked number 7.
Oregon, November 1: The Week before the Cal-USC game has never been a good week for fans in Berkeley. The Bears realize this, however, and they don't take a talented Oregon team for granted. Tedford knows that even though his team is 7-0, another trap-game loss could have die-hard Bears fans screaming for his head. Tedford keeps the team focused, and a customary Cal-Oregon offensive battle ensues, with Nate Costa and Kevin Riley each throwing 4 touchdowns. Jahvid Best runs for one, but Nate Costa scores on an option play and the game is tied. In overtime, the Bears get a stop and win the game on a Seawright 34-yarder. The AP Poll on November 2, 2008 goes something like this:
#1 Georgia, #2 USC, #3 Florida, #4 California.
USC, November 8: This is obviously the most important game of the season for the Bears, and they need it if they have any Rose Bowl or National Championship hopes. The Trojans, Pete Caroll, and the vile Trojan fanbase create on of the most intimidating environments in the game when the Bears come to town, and Kevin Riley has to squeeze his legs together as to not crap his pants. The Bears start off terribly; after Jahvid Best is tackled at the 9 yard line on the kickoff return, Kevin Riley gets picked off and Joe McKnight runs the ball in on the next play. At the half, the Trojans lead the Bears 24-7, the Bears' touchdown coming on a spectacular 66 yard run by Best. The Bears do mount a fourth quarter rally but it comes up short, and the Trojans beat the Bears 34-21. The Bears drop to #9 in the polls.
Oregon State, November 15: The Bears are disappointed but not discouraged going into Corvallis, and they trounce an OSU team that ruined their national title hopes last year. Riley throws for 2 touchdowns, Best runs for 2 touchdowns, and the Bears are winning big at the end of the third. In a moment of pity for his star-turned-bench-warmer, Tedford puts in Longshore and Longshore doesn't disappoint the 1,000-ish Cal fans that made the trip to the middle of nowhere. He throws one touchdown to Layrelle Cunningham and the Bears fly home happy having beaten the Beavs 38-16.
Stanford, November 22: The result of this game is probably comparable to what would happen if TwistNHook asked Marshawn Lynch to marry him.
Need I say more? Bears over the Cardinal, by a whopping 47-7. Roll On You Bears!
Washington, December 6: At this point in the season, I think this game shouldn't pose too much of a threat to the boys in Blue and Gold. I'm actually looking forward to seeing locker play live, but I think the Bears come away with yet another easy victory. Best scores 1 TD, and Longshore plays three whole quarters, while throwing 3 touchdowns and *GASP* no interceptions. The Bears beat the Dogs 34-10, and they finish the season 11-1 behind an undefeated USC team.
Oh yeah, did I mention that they started construction on the SAHPC the day after the Michigan State game?
Anyways, the Bears go on to earn an at-large bid to the Fiesta Bowl, where they tromp some team from the East Coast by a lot. Nate Longshore gets drafted with the 25th pick of the second round of the 2009 NFL draft, and becomes a sort of Kyle Boller 2.0
Remember, folks, that is the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. What I think will likely happen is somewhere in between the two, with a record between 10-2 and 8-4. Hopefully, the best case scenario plays out and we all fly home from Glendale happy with a BCS win. Go Bears!