Cal JUST beats Wazzu. Let's go through the roundtable.
The Cardiac Bears are winning, but they're winning ugly and taking years off our lives. How do you feel about the way Cal is winning? Awesome? Excited? Exhausted? Dead?
Vincent S: I think "Cardiac Bears" sums it up perfectly. I still have some reservations about in-game coaching (see: numerous 4th down decision-paralysis time-outs in previous games, for example), but with the exception of some reservations about not going for 2 after a touchdown brought us within 2 earlier in the game, I generally agreed with his calls against Wazzu. That surprise on-side kick was a masterful call; to that point, it had looked like a shootout, and the extra 15-20 yards we would've given up if we had failed to recover would probably have been 2-3 plays for the Cougs at that stage of the game. If I'm looking for something to nitpick about, it would be nice to not be in that position in the first place, but I think we can all agree that the defense is drastically improved from last year, and that in three consecutive years, the nitpickers have had to find smaller and smaller things to complain about (if at all).
Piotr T Le: I am frankly disappointed with the way we are winning. Especially the Washington game, there is no excuse for a team that is winning the turn-over battle 3+ to have to have it go to the wire. Same with WSU, it never felt comfortable, it was either a miscue by our offense or our defense allowing large holes for big completions. Sure we have better on defense and still have a potent offense, but we need to start hotter than we have. Utah will not make mistakes on offense and with its deadly D-line I can only see us going down hard. Sure a win is a win is a win, but how we win also dictates how we will perform next week.
Benwemer: I'm exhausted. Watching this football team is terrifying yet so thrilling. I like the fact that we're 5-0 and the 23rd best team in the country. I don't like how we had to come from behind to beat Wahington State. This team is just so stressful I don't know how long I can bare it. They better play better against the Utes or we might be in for a long night. On the bright side Gameday is going to a cal football game. If you told me that a couple years ago I would have laughed at you, I am very proud of this team so whatever happens in salt lake im okay with it. However, a win would be amazing.
Alex Ghenis: It's impossible to just use one word. On the one hand, these games have shown that we have really amazing potential if we just put all phases of the game together - some of our short-timeframe drives (end of the first half WSU, for example) have been things of beauty. If we can only replicate that for 60 minutes, we'll be golden. So, in that sense, they've made me confident that we have potential to win their matter what the score. Of course, the same thing could be said about uneasiness at the end of any game, even if we are up by several touchdowns.
One word that hasn't really been thrown around is "entertained." When it comes to having a memorable season, I'd rather be able to point to games we won and say "man, you remember how ridiculous that game was?" rather than "remember how much we completely destroyed that other team?" If we are going to win a game, I actually find it more entertaining to watch until the last minute on the edge of my seat, rather than turn to social conversation at halftime because it's a blowout. And on a related note, the close wins feel like the universe is making up for treating us so poorly these past many years... or maybe it's just been good luck (see: Texas game) - and as Lefty Gomez said, "I'd rather be lucky than good"
A.W. Johnston: Can I choose two? Exhausted and excited. We are 5-0 and headed into one of the biggest games since my freshman year, there is a lot to like. However, the unnecessary stress on my body is starting to take a toll as I haven't been able to watch a Cal game without destroying my fingernails.
TwistNHook: BREAKING FASHION NEWS: Style point are out, chaos is in for the fall of 2015. I understand completely the concerns raised by people in regards to our victories this year. But we are 5-0. We literally could not have a superior record to the one we have right now. And look at the constellation of teams in the college footballiverse this season, nobody is perfect. Nowhere is there a dominant team that everybody says "This is the #1 team."
SURVIVE AND ADVANCE. SURVIVE AND ADVANCE. That is my mantra. I don't care whether we beat a mediocre team by 1 point, because there are a lot of teams that can't even beat the mediocre teams despite the fact that they "should have."
KWBears: I'm starting to get exhausted. Close games don't instill a lot of confidence in the fan base, but maybe they do for the players. In those "real" tough moments later on (like against Utah this weekend), our guys are going to have to draw on their past experiences on how they pulled it out. Hopefully, this Wazzu memory will be something they serves them well.
atomsareenough: I feel great that Cal is winning. Even though Cal has been the better, favored team in each game so far, it's refreshing to see the Bears actually being better than many of its opponents for a change, and beating teams that they are supposed to beat. I'm somewhat concerned that Cal has been merely holding on at the end rather than putting teams away, but hey, baby steps. The next step, in my opinion, is to beat an opponent they aren't supposed to beat. That means one of Utah, UCLA, or USC. They'll have to learn how to play a full 4 quarters of consistent, quality football in order to do that, and that's part and parcel with how you put teams away.
Nik Jam: I have to be a little realistic here. Yes, I was uncomfortable and nervous as hell almost to the point of tears these last three games (Having some friends I'm trying to convert to Cal fans at the Wazzu game didn't help. One of them said she might buy a WSU jersey instead when they were up.) I also have to understand that the team is learning and yes, a little overrated.
I do think the "A win's a win" approach is fair. These close wins will hopefully instill a lot of confidence in the team.
This is still a team that has to learn confidence in winning. Yeah we're ranked, most of these players are upperclassmen now, Vegas said we'd blow out Wazzu and handle Texas easily (and if a few plays went differently, the Texas game IS comfortable) but the fact is... none of them have tasted a real victory (Still riding a 3 year losing streak against ranked teams. No bowl game, etc.) so it's a stretch to think this team can just blow out a Washington State or a Texas. (Even though I picked Cal to do so both times.) The fact is, even though they'll say otherwise in the press conferences, the winning probably DID get in their heads. They almost certainly overlooked Wazzu.
(And I'm sure from Wazzu and Texas' point of view, Cal was still one of the easier teams on their schedule, and they played knowing beating Cal was probably mandatory if they wanted six wins)
Does the logic "Well, they played close against Texas and Washington State. Therefore, great teams like Utah, UCLA and USC should destroy Cal easily" make sense? Yeah. But I think the Bears can play differently when they're the underdog. There's not going to be TV analysts unanimously picking the Bears to win. Even the team knows it's not likely they'll beat Utah. Hopefully that means they'll play looser. Run more trick plays. Maybe they won't press on offense, meaning they will play well all four quarters instead of just when the game gets dicey. In other words, the pressure will be on Utah, UCLA and USC this time. Maybe they'll handle it badly too?