A few of you may remember October 13, 2007. Our football team, ranked number 2 in the country, played a late afternoon game against the industrious, turnover prone beavers of Oregon State. Even though OSU (OOOOOOOOOO SSSSSSSSSS UUUUUUUUU) entered the game at only 3-3, CBKWit had warned his many friends (read: my dad) about underestimating the beavers due to their turnover woes. Turnovers are one of the most volatile statistics from game to game, and when teams who have been turning it over 5 times per game take care of the ball, they suddenly look a lot better. As luck and zero pass rush would have it, OSU turned it over once, Cal turned it over three times and there I stood as time expired, thankfully too shocked and numb to cry. It wasn’t just that we lost our probable number one ranking and undefeated season - it was that, with less than 5 minutes left down 10 points, I had turned to my friend and said "we don’t have enough time left." He agreed, and we started coming to terms with that fact that our perfect season was finally blemished. Then The Hawk sprints down the sideline for a touchdown, Riley somehow escapes a safety, on 4th and 17 Riley picks up a low snap and find Hawkins, who fights through 2 defenders for the 1st, Jordan lays out on the east sideline for a 40 yard completion, spraining his shoulder in the process, and we’re left estaticly wondering if we’ll win the game in regulation or in overtime. After accepting defeat, to open ourselves up so completely only to lose as we did was unbearable. Add to the fact that this loss precipitated a Mariucci like collapse, dropping games to $C, fUCLA, and even the furd in process, and, well, this was a bad loss.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t let go and move on from something like this. You want revenge, and not just run of the mill, don’t go home for Thanksgiving to get back at mom for not hugging you enough as a child revenge. No, you want Kill Bill style, taking names revenge on OSU for torpedoing our most promising season in…50 years? Well Cal fans, I’m happy to say that we had our revenge and then some on Saturday, when Cal beat 6-9 juggernaut Oregon State in men’s basketball. Oregon State lost their first three Pac-10 games but was about to go on a 15 game winning streak to win the conference, en-route to a sure final four appearance. The Cal Bears had other plans. By dominating the game and closing out a 10 point victory, the bears not only kept themselves in the NCAA tournament hunt but also seriously damaged the beavers’ realistic national title hopes. Much as we still painfully relive the October 13th football game, beaver fans will remember Saturday’s basketball game as for days to come, until OSU gets blown out by the next team they play. I know it hurts, residents of Corvallis, but now we’re even.
The actual game wasn’t very interesting. Cal was in control throughout, except for an 18-2 OSU run early in the first half. Hardin and Randle recovered from very poor showings against the ducks on thursday to post slightly above average numbers, and Anderson set a career-high with 17 rebounds. Cal definitely played better than they did against Oregon or UCLA, but weren’t amazing by any stretch. Rather, OSU is simply an awful team, particularly at shooting (the FSN announcers mentioned their shooting percentage is among the bottom 25 of 350 or so D1 teams). I’ve seen OSU play very bad basketball during the Jay John era, but this team is definitely the worst. The Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks could probably give them a game.
Cal returns to action against respectable teams this weekend with the Arizona schools making the trip to the bay. In order to make the tournament, Cal will probably need to go 500 and finish in the top 6 in conference play. Sweeping UA and ASU will give Cal the inside track for 5th place, which is a virtual lock for the tourney, while getting swept likely means a chance at another NIT title. I’m hoping for the former, but Cal’s going to have a fight in both games. Go Bears!!