All the world's merely a stage, and on Saturday at Rice-Eccles, all the men are merely football players; the moving, helmeted pieces of a four-quarter drama. Watching will be the curious, hungry eyes of a nation, still doubtful that the team in blue is worthy of a number beside their name, let alone the zero that follows their record.
That skepticism is not without reason.
Not when ESPN's FPI metric rates our chances at 27%. Not when Vegas sees us a touchdown underdog; frisky, but not ultimately talented enough to win.
Then there's the most damning stat of all: the fact that nearly a lifetime has passed since we have beat an opponent of Utah's caliber, and an actual lifetime -- 65 years -- since we have beat an opponent of Utah's caliber on the road. That's not for a lack of opportunity, either -- rather, it suggests the kind of Sisyphean mediocrity that has defined almost all of our existence.
It is easy to feel doom in the face of all that history, suffocating in the stench of averageness.
But all streaks must die a hard end.
We are not fazed. We do not fear.
Not with this team, this brotherhood of Bears that has seen the lowest depths college football can offer and clawed its way back into relevance. We have come too far to let our hosts -- or anyone -- send us back into the dark we once toiled in.
Call this game for what it really is.
Not No. 23 Cal vs No. 5 Utah, but as Undaunted against Undefeated.
And you know what?