Well, let's do this one more time since Sonny Dykes thinks it's a big deal. What do you think of the Pac-12's decision to give Cal a short week of rest to face a USC team on a week and a half of rest? What do you think of its impact on the game?
boomtho: The easy answer is it's a bad decision by the conference that should probably have been protested more vigorously by AD Mike Williams (given the recent reports that he basically OK'ed it).
Let me disaggregate a bit: I think Thursday games are fine, not ideal, but a reality in modern college football. Even back to back weekday games can be OK, as long as the bye is space appropriately before the first game and ideally they'd both be at home. The worst part here is that Cal had 5 days rest (and then to add insult to injury, was coming off a game in which they set the record for offensive plays in an FBS game) playing a rested USC team. That imbalance is what the biggest problem is here. The commentators also raised an important point: for competitive balance, other teams in the South have the right to be aggrieved by USC's advantage in this game.
In terms of impact on the game, I'll first say I don't think the outcome would have been different if both teams were rested. USC showed a really impressive ability to run the ball that I'm not sure Cal could have countered, even if rested, with current personnel. Cal was clearly tired and banged up, so that might have been mitigated a bit, but I ultimately don't think it swung at all the outcome of the game.
Nik Jam: I don't think Cal wins anyway, Cal has been blown out at USC without scheduling issues, but it was a very bad decision by the Pac-12. The schedule has not been friendly to the Bears, especially with a lot of late night games. However, since the Cal AD approves of these things, the coaching staff needs to be more involved in the decision making on these things. On another subject, I wonder if other teams get to specifically say "Hey, we've had enough 7:30 games" or if we just have to deal with it. I think we have to be a lot more vocal about these issues if that is possible.
HydroTech: Absolutely it did. Did it have enough of an effect to prevent Cal from winning? No. Cal was just outmatched the entire game. That, and this whole losing streak curse to USC.
ragnarok: I don't know, Hydro, if I'd call it a curse. Can you really say that Cal has had a better team than USC in any of the last 13 years? I suppose random variation says we maybe shoulda won one of those games, but which one?
Avinash: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015 were all winnable games. And the Bears probably could've made it a game in 2009 (that was not a good USC team) or 2011-12 (if they had any red zone acumen), or 2014 (if they decided to play the first half).
But aside from 2004 Cal has a nasty habit of bringing their worst when the play USC, giving them no shot to win from the outset. Every Pac-12 team except Cal and Colorado has beaten USC once since 2003, and most of those teams have done it multiple times. Year after year, USC proves to be beatable and Cal can't ever take advantage of it.
LeonPowe: I don't think it had any impact on the game, but I think if you're looking at things like academics, long-term effects of football on health, and the already high injury rate of the Cal defense - it's not ideal. Look - we were already behind the 8 ball and would've had to have played a pretty perfect game to have a shot - and the short rest week was just one more thing stacking the deck against this team. It didn't impact the game to where we lost, but it certainly didn't help us maximize our chances either.