As I looked at the games on TV this weekend a pattern emerged, the schedule is full of teams that Cal has played this year. The reason is that the Golden Bears have played some pretty good teams over the course of the season and this Saturday is when conference championships will be decided. The Sagarin Strength of Schedule ranks California with the #7 toughest schedule of the year while FEI ranks Cal with the #14 toughest schedule.
Grambling State: After losing their first two games, including their trip to Memorial Stadium, the Tigers have reeled off 9 straight wins and at 9-2 now fing themselves in the SWAC Eastern conference Championship game against Alcorn State who they beat earlier this year 35-34. The game is on ESPNU and WatchESPN at 1pm PST.
San Diego State: The Aztecs dropped two games after their loss to the Golden Bears before they embarked on an 8 game winning streak. Seven SDSU players including star runnin gback Donnel Pumphrey were named to the 1st team Mountain West All Conference team. SDSU had the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, the Defensive Player of the year and Head Coach Rocky Long was named Coach of the Year. The 9-3 Aztecs are facing off against Air Force in the Mountain West Conference Championship game in San Diego at 4:30pm on ESPN2.
Texas: The Longhorns had a season to forget in 2015. 4-7 will not get it done for the Texas faithful, but one of those 4 wins was a 24-17 triumph over rival Olkahoma in the Red River Showdown. That was the Sooners only loss of the season and Oklahoma is almost a sure pick for the FBS Playoffs. Texas faces #12 Baylor on ESPN at 9am.
And of course at 4:45pm on ESPN there is the Pac-12 Championship game. Cal fans won't enjoy seeing Stanfurd or USC in this game but it will be interesting to see if the Clay Helton Trojans fare better than the Sarkisian led ones did earlier this season.
Turns out our out of conference schedule was tougher than we thought it was to start the season. I believe that combined with wins against Wazzu, Washington and ASU once we gain the perspective of time will lead Cal fans to regard this season as a successful one.