My good friend Melly Mel made it to Columbus for the game at The Horseshoe. He paid through the nose for scalper tickets that put him far away from the visitor section and in the thick of a bunch Ohio State fans.
As the 3rd quarter gave way to the fourth he could feel their collective nervousness rise. Our Defense was stifling and befuddling them as our diverse ground game was gouging their front 7. Melly Mel was standing taller and smiling wider as the entire sections posture slunk deeper into their seats.
The fourth quarter was winding down and Cal had intercepted the ball and were driving down the field for the go-ahead and potentially game winning drive.
Then came "The Call."
When The Ohio State fans realized that after the time-out, Jeff Tedford was sending out his overwhelmed slumping kicker for a 42 yard field goal from the left hash instead of putting the screws to a winded defense who couldn't stop any of our running backs, a strange thing happened.
The Ohio State fans all stood up and started cheering and laughing at Jeff Tedford. They couldn't believe it. They were howling in gratitude. They kept asking Melly Mel in disbelief, "Is he really letting that guy kick AGAIN?!" The comment that stung the most, Melly Mel recalled, "So he's dumb AND a pussy?" Ouch.
We all know what happened next. Everyone knew what would happen next before it happened. We let Ohio State off the hook. We let our offense off the hook and put it on Special Teams. (Tedford has been passing the buck to defense and special teams a lot lately in critical moments like the 3rd and long draw at the end of the Nevada Game.) It was a call that fractures a team.
Consider this: if Cal went for it and didn't get it and lost the game, wouldn't the team at least trust him more since he went down backing his offense? Isi and others all said they would have gone for it... oh, but they respect coach.
Sure you do, Isi.
The fact that there are so many main-writers on this site who are defenders of his call to trot out the shaken kicker in this situation makes me think they're on the take. We are pleased as punch with our latest nationally televised loss, apparently. SC, I assure you, is not.
Does Chip Kelly go for it on 4th and 1 on their 25? Yes.
Does Chip Kelly go to Rose Bowls and national championships? Yes.
This blog does a very impressive and exhaustive job. I check it out each day during football season. Unfortunately the main writers on this blog refer to my camp as "Tedford Haters," a term I despise.
I graduated in '01, so my senior year at Cal was our fateful 1 win season. Jeff Tedford came in the next year and turned this program around. I appreciate everything he has done. I really do. He has made me happy and he has made me proud.
We climbed and we joyously climbed until 2007 when we went off of a cliff. We totaled our ride. Now we have been middling around for half a decade, trying to fix a totaled vehicle. The conference is getting stronger as new quality coaches are immediately turning around sagging programs. The game has passed a proud man that lost his mojo after Kevin Riley sprinted for glory but a beaver tripped him up.
Our swagger is gone.
Yet somehow this site celebrates losses. Losses we gave away. "We've turned a corner!" they say. If we've turned a corner its a turn from "Suckitude Lane" onto "Mediocre Boulevard". Oh yippee skippy for us.
The current state of Cal football is worse than that 1 win season. At least then we knew and accepted our football team sucked. It was an ironic badge of honor. We were in on the joke.
The past 5 years have been agonizing embarrassment. We tease of success with our buckets of talent and draw the eyes of the nation... yet we never deliver and are mercilessly mocked for our continued stage fright. Now we are the joke.
We were at the summit in 2007 and, my oh my, was it fun. Does this site really believe Tedford can take us back there? Does this site maintain that Tedford is indeed the Quarterback Guru? Because that title is dusty. Dusty like my dreams of a Rose Bowl.
Stanford has not only passed us but they have lapped us with a 2nd coach. UCLA is back. Oregon is a titan. Rich Rod is opening up Arizona. Leach is bringing the Air Raid in WaSU. USC is freed from sanctions. The list goes on as our window closes.
I thank you, Jeff Tedford. I appreciate all that you have done. I am sorry this site says I hate you. I do not.
But I am realist. I am a business man. The industry has passed you by. You are in our record books and hearts forever. With this new stadium and facilities that you got us, god bless you, Cal has committed itself to going back to the summit... but that's a trip it does not appear you are ready to embark on anytime soon.
Oh, how much I hope I am completely wrong about the state and direction of our current program.
Last weekends debacle and the ensuing sunshine from this site did nothing to dissuade me from my disillusionment of college football purgatory for Cal for years to come.