A month ago, this Promo wrote itself. The script called for a ranked Cal and USC, in a 60 minute match with everything on the line: Pac-12 supremacy, and a chance to end the Streak, on Halloween night.
Little ever goes according to plan. Instead, we have the near opposite of all I listed above: an almost assured non-sell out, 12 PM kick, with a reeling Bears team meeting a USC still far, far from its traditional heights -- they already have three losses at the end of October, when they used to go seasons without reaching that number in total.
Yes, if truth be told, this game has already lost much of its luster...and yet, none of its importance. Never any of its importance.
Rivalry does not take years off, regardless of record, and this year's edition of the Cal-USC meeting still means much. There are the obvious things still at stake: bowl qualification and positioning, maintaining the slim, slim odds of a Pac-12 North division title, all that stuff. Just as big is the chance to exorcise the haunting specter of USC dominance, which would reach full-fledged adolescence with another win.
Too many autumns -- 11 in a row -- have spiraled into misery after Trojan hands.
Let us finally flash the fortitude to prevent another.
Let us stop resembling the Bears of old and letting one poor loss string along too many others.
Let us back up that hopeful, press-conference talk of a different team, a different program post UCLA, and prove it by toppling the most constant opponent of all: The Streak..
Let us find ourselves with the bigger total at 0:00 for once -- just once.
Let us find catharsis when we meet after it all, on the field of play, even if it has been a decade coming.
We will meet indeed.
50 yard line.
We're coming. Expect us.