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Utah 49, Cal 27: A Bitter End Nears

This is the way the world ends; Not with a bang but a whimper.

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

The Bears were facing a team with one win over a BCS team. Utah beat BYU despite getting outgained by 67 yards, and that's their only meaningful win. Before today, they were a few plays away from 1-6. There's simply no getting around the fact that Utah is a very bad football team this year.

And they destroyed California. In every way, in every phase of the game.

On offense, Cal turned it over 3 times and gave up 4 sacks and managed just 115 yards on their first 8 drives when the game was still in doubt. On defense Cal allowed Utah's offense to run for over 200 yards. On special teams, Cal allowed two kick off returns for touchdowns and constantly had horrible field position. Add it all up and Utah finished with 49 points. Utah had scored a cumulative 56 points in their last 4 games. Utah scored nearly as many points against Cal as they did against Arizona State, USC, UCLA, and Oregon State combined. COMBINED.

Even when Cal succeeded, it only worked to point out failures. Electric running back Brendan Bigelow didn't touch the ball on offense until the very end of the 3rd quarter with the game long since decided. His first carry was a touchdown that would have been thrilling if it came when the game was remotely competitive. It only served to remind Cal fans that a coaching staff that needs to find a spark is bizarrely unwilling to play its biggest home run threat.

Keenan Allen broke Geoff MacArthur's record for most career catches by a Bear. It's a tremendous achievement that doesn't put a smile on my face like it should because of the circumstances. It seems cruel that, at the end of the Tedford era, we are forcibly reminded of a player who made the first few years under Jeff Tedford so successful while watching Tedford's current team fall apart in Salt Lake City.

So naturally, attention turns towards the status of Cal's head coach. The general consensus was that only a bowl bid could save Tedford's job. For that to happen Cal would have to win out, including wins over two top 10 20 teams. Considering that Cal was just blown out by the 2nd worst team on their conference schedule, I'm not especially optimistic.

The simple matter is that it is hard to conceive of any scenario that results in Jeff Tedford coaching at Cal in 2013. It's over. There's no point in arguing about it. All the sturm und drang, all the angst . . . there's no need for it any more. Unfortunately, now we can move on to discussing the when and how, and who will be next*. And that's a bummer. I like talking about successful blocking schemes, and growth in young players. I don't like talking about buy-outs and assistant coach salaries and, really, anything that happens when our Bears aren't on the field.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this:

Call me a sap, call me an idiot, call me a nostalgic fool - but there's still a part of me who believes that Tedford will recapture that magic that made all of us believers. Do you remember how we all felt in 2004? How could that have been wrong?!

If you're given the chance - please coach, prove that part of me right.

Turns out I was a nostalgic fool. I don't know how it was supposed to end, but it wasn't supposed to be like this.

*The next person that mentions Bobby Petrino or Jim Tressel as a legitimate candidate to coach at Cal will be immediately banned. SO I HAVE RULED!