10. Too much humility. This Golden Bears have way too many good guys on their defense. Oh, yes, good in the good way, but also good in the "GOODY!" way. D.J. Holt talked about the respect Nevada's offense deserves for all its multiple weapons and high-scoring attack. Mike Mohamed might be one of the nicest linebackers Cal has ever had and you'll never hear him trash-talk before a game. Not enough hubris, ego, and the dripping overconfidence that permeates the locker rooms of mighty Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
So imagine what'll happen on Friday night when Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick hits tight end Virgil Green over the middle. Instead of dragging him down for a short gain, Josh Hill will probably bow courteously and form an escort for him into the end zone. When running back Vai Taua catches the Bears sleeping on the outside on the pistol veer option, Jarred Price will clap his hands, pat him on the back after his multiple 70 yard touchdowns, and invite him over to Berkeley for tea and biscuits. It'll be the ultimate display in sportsmanship. Monday morning quarterbacks will talk about the great lessons it imparts to our children. And we will be sobbing.
9. Chris Ault, master illusionist. There are a lot of things you learn at fancy Reno nightclubs after gameday, and one of the things Ault learned was how to alter time and space so that football games feel quicker but in actuality last longer. Once Nevada rolled up 38 points in three minutes because the opposing defense was too busy watching Ault pull mouthwatering mystical double-double In-N-Out burgers out of his sleeves. Another legend of yore is that Ault once made a fearsome offense think they were facing eleven ravenous wolves on defense. Some opposing players say you can still hear the echoes of them bawling for their mommies.
Ault, who's been on Nevada's sideline on-and-off for 35 years, also has his own set of tricks to learn the ability of teleportation. When Deandre Coleman vanishes into thin air in the third quarter, you'll know how foolish you were to bet on the Bears.
8. Mike Mohamed in a boot. Hey, you know what that means, right? Nick Forbes, your first true test as a true freshman as an inside linebacker is to slow down one of the most complicated offenses in all of college football. Have fun the next three and a half hours trying to figure out where the ball is, where Kaepernick is handing off, or if he's handing off, or if he's throwing it, or if Coach Ault is using another Jedi mind trick and there are actually two footballs on the field, or if the ball even exists and you're actually on offense. Wake up from this dream rookie.
7. Night of the headhunters. Kevin Riley continues to lead with his head when he runs the football, whether on designed handoffs, scrambles, or zone reads. When Nevada gets rolled on for three touchdowns to start the game, Riley will tuck the ball and run. Then everyone's favorite nightmare will unfold: Some ambitious Wolf Pack defender who has no idea how to tackle will lay the wood a la T.J. Ward. Then everyone gets to witness the terrifying act of Beau Sweeney trying to get into a groove for the next three quarters as Nevada stacks 10 in the box for the rest of the game.
6. Tosh Lupoi, secret slot machine addict. People might not realize this, but Lupoi's hard-hitting, effervescent personality retreats into his shell in the bright lights of a casino strip. When you start wondering why the defensive line is underachieving and having all sorts of trouble, you'll have your answer in the Reno Harrah's, where Lupoi is splurging away the team's lunch money in the hope he can draw three BARs.
If you want a little unwritten Cal history, go back and watch those Las Vegas Bowl tapes and you'll see Lupoi shaking on the sidelines with a gigantic plastic container of coins, suffering from gambling withdrawals. Some idle parties attribute BYU's short-lived attempt at a comeback to Lupoi retreating frantically to the locker room in-between TV timeouts to play rounds of video poker on the press room computer.
5. Temptation for the New Kid. There's too much mojo for aspiring musical artist Alex Lagemann, whose quest for king of fun hip hop is reflected in lyrics like "If you buy some Patron, I'll stay here the whole night" and "Humpty-Dumpty I'm off the wall, and land in a pool of my alcohol". And nothing spells out f-u-n like Reno, the entertainment capital of Washoe County, Nevada. It's the next logical step on the way to the top, and you know Loggy will be quick to take advantage of this opportunity.
So when the millions of Loggy haters come out of the woodwork in Mackay Stadium and trash-talk about the superiority of insightfully relevant bands like Creed and Nickelback, the distraction to the team will be inevitable. D.J. "Big Red" Costanzo will race to the locker room to get his D.J. equipment and start drowning out playcalls from Tedford with his mad beats. A dance party will break out on the Cal sideline as the offensive linemen provide bouncer support for Loggy's first impromptu concert performance.
They say creating art involves methods to the madness, and there'll be nothing madder than this night to remember in Number 5's rise to greatness. It'll just happen while Riley and Shane Vereen play 2 on 11 on the field.
4. We're ranked by someone, somewhere. You know what happens when we're ranked, right? If only this team would lose more. We wouldn't have to worry about this problem.
3. The Revenge of Kaepernick. Oh how soon everyone forgets.
A three sport star at Pitman High School in Turlock, California, Kaepernick passed up a promising baseball career as a pitcher in order to play football. Kaepernick was nominated for all state in football, basketball, and baseball his senior year. He was the MVP of the Central California Conference in football leading his school to its first ever playoff victory. In basketball he was a first team all CCC selection at forward and lead his 16th ranked team to a near upset of the number 1 ranked Oak Ridge Trojans in the opening round of playoffs. In that game Colin would score 34 points but it wouldn't be enough as Ryan Anderson would score 50 to best the Pride.
Okay, it might be a different sport, and it might be at a different level, but don't think he's forgotten about the misery a Golden Bear spread on his college career. Ryan Anderson is about to wish he'd never scored that many points. Well, actually, Cal fans are about to wish Ryan Anderson never scored that many points. Ryan Anderson is too busy wondering why Rashard Lewis is getting all his minutes.
2. Jon Wilner likes Cal. RED ALERT! EVACUATE THE PREMISES! DISASTER LOOMS.
But after two weeks, 10 points allowed and 104 points scored, Cal looks like a team ready to produce an upside surprise -- a team that could finish higher than its projected spot (seventh) in the Pac-10 preseason media poll, that is having fun, playing loose and relishing its turn away from the spotlight.
Which is another way of saying the offseason changes implemented by coach Jeff Tedford -- more fun, more competition, more aggressiveness, less self-imposed pressure -- have had a positive effect.
For Cal fans, this is the kiss of death. Wilner couldn't have done more damage to the Bears if he had hiked the Campanile in the dark of night, spray painted it red, chopped it down using our Axe, and then surfed it down University Avenue and sailed it out to Palo Alto. At least we could build another Campanile. This Friday in Reno will be lost to the history books.
White Fang (via JRomePalk79)
Wolf vs bear (via 105km)
Black Bear vs Wolf Pack (via Apexpredator11)
I rest my case.