Fill in the blank: My main emotion about Cal after the USC loss is ____________ because ________________________.
Avinash: Hopeful, because the Bears don't hang around with the Trojans that often. By halftime it's usually over and it's usually a blowout. This was a return to the early Tedford days, when Cal and USC would battle for most of the second half before the Trojans pulled it out. These are the type of efforts I'd like to see more of from Cal on both sides of the football.
The game was decided when Patrick Laird dropped a TD, Vic Enwere couldn't convert a 3rd and 1, and Matt Anderson missed a chip shot. There was no margin for error today. Cal just needs to gain seasoning, experience and build up their talent pool.
Ruey Yen: Wistful. Although before the game, I had thought the Bears would have to wait another year to beat USC, the near-miss nature of this loss is one that hurts and haunts. Even with their close wins and Darnold throwing a bunch of interceptions, USC is a much more talented team than North Carolina or Ole Miss. Like Avi pointed out, the game may have turned out very differently had the Bears made those few plays. Instead, we have USC continuing their long winning streak against our sturdy Golden Bears for yet another year.
With the way that the Cal defense has performed, I have also raised my expectation for the rest of the year. If things go well the rest of the year, I hope this loss won't be the one that keeps the Bears from a more lucrative bowl bid [Yes, I think Cal will be bowling this winter].
Nik Jam: Regretful. Cal needed a perfect game and instead we got interceptions, missed field goals and dropped passes. The problem with college football is you only play your rivals once, and only once every 2 years at home. Whereas in the NFL I can see a rival again next year, or later in the year, we have to sit on our losing streak against these bums for a full year... and given our luck in LA, it's likely two years before our next realistic crack at them.
Anyone besides Furd and SC I'd be happy with moral victories. I'd be happy for a moral victory against Oregon and UW, though. I hate having to sit on these long losing streaks.
Vincent S: My main emotion about Cal after the USC loss is disappointment because I (against better judgment) started believing after the first half. Objectively though, this is the first time I've felt hope for the long-term future of the football program since 2009. I hope the school realizes what a good program can do for the school's alumni engagement (both financially and socially) and public profile, and reacts accordingly.