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Guest Blogger: Andy Smith and Jeff Tedford - When Legends Pass In The Night

Kodiak selfishly spent this weekend with his family rather than watching grainy internet footage of Cal’s 12th most important game of the year.  While the CGB Supreme Court deliberates on appropriate punishments, we have a guest writer for this morning’s column!

With a win over Presbyterian, Jeff Tedford won his 75th game at Cal, passing the great Andy Smith.  To put such an achievement in perspective,
Grantland Rice has agreed to write a guest column.  Rice was a prominent college football writer during Smith’s time at Cal, and is one of the few people able to put such an event in perspective.

Andy Smith’s boys were known as the Wonder team, but the more punctilious moniker would be the Thunder team, for his lads raced across the field imbued with the full power of the Roman or Norse pantheon.  Opposing pigskin carriers were struck down with such great promptitude that onlookers swore they must have been struck by the lighting of Zeus or smote by Thor’s hammer.

For five years Smith’s charges were unbeaten on the field of battle, no matter the strategy, gamesmanship and trickery thrown at him.  His defense was stalwart, a stone wall as impregnable as the great General Jackson during the War Between The States.  Play after play offending opponents splashed futilely against his indomitable defenders.

So it is with great surprise and admiration that I turn my eyes to the exploits of one Jeff Tedford, who I’m told has surpassed the victory total amassed by the great Smith.  It was a truly bewildering sight to watch these Ursidae, gilded with gold, so stunningly dispatch the mighty Scottish warriors from Clinton, South Carolina.

Your humble scribe has witnessed some truly flabbergasting exploits between the hash marks.  None shall forget the exploits of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh or Don Hutson.  Yet the ability of this team of osos peligrosos to fling the pigskin with such prodigious distance and irrefutable accuracy may very well be unprecedented.  California passers lofted the ball towards the heavens a staggering 37 times.  And perhaps more impressively, the ball calmly fell into the waiting limbs of fleet footed flankers 20 times.  These plays are not designed and executed by a field general, but by a wizard, casting spells that enchant all spectators privileged enough to witness them.

Still, if this gauche show of unprecedented air power seemed not in keeping with Andy Smith’s legacy, older Berkelites will be pleased to know that young Tedford has retained a commitment to a pounding attack on terra firma.  No less than ten Bears disseminated the ball from line of scrimmage to further down the field, churning up 285 yards in the process. 

These yards were obtained behind the most colossal collection of linemen ever seen by your reporter.  Stunningly, unbelievably, inconceivably, each man on the line of scrimmage tipped the scales at over 290 pounds!  I'm told they each have proper given names, but they are known to me as Atlas, Prometheus, Cronus, Hyperion and Oceanus - Titans all.  Only a true Olympian could control them, but evidently Tedford has such a man in line coach Jim Michalczik.

Luminaries abound on the field for the Bears.  Marvin Jones seemingly has the ability to pluck every spheroid from the sky with nary a bobble.  Signore Tavecchio can make a football curve and knuckle much in the fashion of screwball artist Rube Waddell.  And perhaps most stunningly, freshman Brendan Bigelow appears to have the speed of the great African Jesse Owens.  No word on what, if any, punishment Cal will receive for illegally playing a freshman in a varsity contest – the only blemish in an otherwise dominant performance.  Despite this violation, the Bears are to be applauded for their commitment to the integration of races.

It is the nature of time that the baton must always be passed from generation to generation.  Coach Tedford today took the baton from Coach Smith, as his exploits in the past fade into the fog that so frequently shrouds the city in which the record was broken.  But we old-timers can still spend the evenings recalling the triumphs earned when the Bears of Berkeley roared with the power of the 1920s in their breast.  Athletes and scholars they were, myths and legends they became.  We will remember as the myth-makers of today carve their own cantos alongside those erstwhile heroes.

CaliforniaGoldenBlogs thanks Mr. Rice for his time and perspective.