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Desperately Seeking Victory: Cal vs. Arizona Pregame Open Thread

Cal takes the field at home against Arizona this afternoon in search of its first Pac-12 win of the season and itching to break a 12-game losing streak to FBS opponents.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats at California Golden Bears

Kickoff: 12:30 pm PT (TV: Pac-12 Networks)


Our California Golden Bears have endured a tough season, to say the least. The Bears (1-7, 0-5 Pac-12) have lost six straight games and have not so much as led in any game since defeating Portland State on September 7. Cal's opponents have bloodied the Bears early and never looked back, leading to lopsided scores in all six losses during the losing streak: 52-34, 55-16, 44-22, 37-10, 49-17, and 41-17.

With the Bears having no shot at a bowl game, the goals for the season become more modest. Cal's immediate goal, besides achieving improvement as a team by season's end, is to win a game. Any game. That's why you play, right?

Where have I heard that before? Didn't a Cal football alumnus famously say something like that?

Thanks for the reminder, Herman!

So you play. To win. The game. And that is what our Bears will continue to try and do. At 0-5 in the Pac-12 with four games remaining, many of us might find the prospects bleak for winning a game. The way this season has gone, it is natural to wonder: will Cal go winless in the Pac-12? Will the losing streak against FBS opponents reach 13 today?

As Cal desperately seeks a victory, I remembered the 1989 Cal football season. That year, Cal had a pass-happy offense led by quarterback Troy Taylor, who threw for 2,738 yards. But what started out as a season of cautious optimism went south quickly. Cal found itself 0-5 in the Pac-10 (2-6 overall) entering the first Saturday of November. On that Saturday, Cal played a home game at Memorial Stadium against the 15th-ranked Arizona Wildcats.

During the week of that Arizona game in 1989, I vaguely recall a headline from the Daily Cal sports section: the headline asked, "Will Cal go Oh?" or something to that effect. The article surmised that Cal had a very good chance of going winless in the Pac-10 that year, as Cal's last three games were against a ranked Arizona team, a Washington State team that had a winning record, and a Stanford team that, while not very good, had arguably looked better than Cal in 1989.

Well, Cal would not go "oh." On that first Saturday of November in 1989, Cal rallied from a second half deficit to stun Arizona 29-28 on a late fourth quarter touchdown run by Greg Zomalt. Cal even got a second Pac-10 win the following week, upsetting Washington State 38-26 in Cal's final home game of the season. (The Bears would, however, lose the Big Game 24-14 to end the season.)

Today is the first Saturday in November. Cal is 0-5 in the Pac-12 and questions naturally arise as to whether the Bears will go winless in conference play. Cal is playing at home today against the Arizona Wildcats, who are a heavy favorite to defeat the Bears. Sounds a lot like 1989. Can history repeat itself 24 years later with the Bears getting an unlikely victory?

This is your pregame open thread. Get yourself worked up for the game in the comments here and look for the link the first quarter thread as the kickoff time draws near.