Friday, December 31, 2004

What a Cal-amity

After watching No. 4 Cal's loss to No. 21 Texas Tech last night in the Holiday Bowl, I can only wonder how the Golden Bears could fall so far. This was a team that was one possession away from beating USC in Los Angeles. This was a team that finished the season 10-1. This was a team that was supposedly overlooked by the BCS for Texas.

Maybe the BCS got it right after all. I think so.

When the final BCS rankings came out three weeks ago and the four BCS Bowls drew their match ups, Cal was on the outside looking in. Tomorrow No. 12 Michigan and No. 5 Texas will meet in the Rose Bowl and No. 20 Pittsburgh will face No. 6 Utah in the Fiesta Bowl. ACC champion No. 9 Virginia Tech will take on No. 3 Auburn Jan. 3 in the Sugar Bowl, and No. 1 USC and No. 2 OU will square in the national championship game - the Orange Bowl - on Jan. 4.

Golden Bears coach Jeff Tedford emphasized that his team did not lose because they did not make the Rose Bowl, but I'm pretty sure that while that may not have been the main reason, it didn't help. Cal didn't want to be in the San Diego for the Holiday Bowl. They wanted to be in Pasadena. They wanted to go to arguably the greatest game in college football. Instead, their Holiday went terribly wrong.

Cal did not just roll over and die to allow Texas Tech to destroy them. The Red Raiders are a good team. They have a potent passing offense that has put up big numbers all year. Quarterback Sonny Cumbie lowest passing total of the year was a mere 281 yards in their regular season finale against Oklahoma State, a game in which Cumbie threw three touchdowns in a 31-15 Red Raiders win. He had five 400-yard games. His lowest quarterback rating in any game this season was a 108.7 at Kansas back in September.

Texas Tech came to play. Cumbie threw for 520 yards and the Red Raiders were three yards shy of a 600-yard offense. Cal should be embarrassed. Not because Texas Tech was supposed to be the victim in a massacre to expose another flaw in the BCS.

Instead Cal should be embarrassed because they talked the talk. They said Texas did not deserve their Rose Bowl bid. They said they were a better team. Well they lost to a Texas Tech team the Longhorns destroyed 51-21 at Texas Tech. Maybe Texas doesn't deserve that Rose Bowl bid, but Cal certainly doesn't have the right to complain about that anymore.

If they thought they were good enough for a BCS bowl, if they thought they got snubbed, if they truly wanted to prove the BCS wrong they would have won that game. They would have demolished Texas Tech.

Final score: Texas Tech 45, California 31.

The games are won on the field, not complaining about rankings. Cal blew it. Maybe next year they will prepare for their bowl game instead of complaining about being left out of one they clearly don't deserve to play in.

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