SI.com went college football crazy a few weeks ago. So, how does ESPN.com do it? Well, when you’re the World Wide Leader in Sports, you outsource, of course.
ESPN uses Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook’s analysis and breaks down all 119 Division 1-A football teams.
While Blue Ribbon gives Cal passing marks on its report, we’d like to remind you to take it with a grain of salt. Yes, hype is everything, but get too hyped too early and lose badly in the first game of the year (like last year). Then you risk of falling so hard that you won’t be able to get back up.
But without further ado:
Blue Ribbon’s report card consists of four categories—offense, special teams, defense and intangibles. The Bears received an ‘A’ for offense, an ‘A+’ for special teams (thanks to the Golden Blur, DeSean Jackson), an ‘A-’ for intangible (no doubt thanks to God himself, Jeff Tedford) and a ‘B’ for defense.
Couple this with the fact that Athlon Sports ranked Cal just outside the top 10 in its preseason rankings, the hype machine must be working real hard for the Bears.
Blue Ribbon also thinks that Cal can win 11 games, play in a BCS bowl but not beat USC. They say that Bears fans (and maybe the entire college football community) will look back at last season’s 10-3 record, the loss to Arizona, in another-trip-to-the-Holiday-Bowl season, as the one that got away.
bq. When Tedford’s run at Cal ends, whether it’s in 2008 or 2028, there’s a real chance that last season will be looked upon — not only him but Cal fans — as their Moby Dick, the one that got away.
Also interesting is that they think that Tedford is one of the top two offensive geniuses in all of college football. They can’t make up their mind about whether or not Florida coach Urban Meyer is better, but at least Tedford is No. 2.
But Blue Ribbon thinks Cal is second-best in the Pac-10 only to the Trojans because of defense.
We’ll give you another reason—history and coaching. We’re going to say it, 2003 was a fluke. Sure the win over USC put the Bears on the map. But since then, they’ve faltered.
When so much is on the line, Cal has come up short. That’s what happened in Tucson last year. That’s what happened at the Coliseum last year and in 2004.
And what does this come down to? Coaching. Tedford plays not to lose. It’s cliché, but you’ve got to play to win, like our old buddy Herman Edwards said.
Daymeion Hughes put it best last year after the Bears’ loss to the Trojans.
bq. “Their coaches are some of the gutsiest ever,” said Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes. “They think no matter what the situation is, they’re going to win.”
That’s something Cal doesn’t have yet.
Image Source: Ben Gallup, Daily Cal
Earlier: SI.com Goes College Football Preview Crazy, So We Do Too Team preview: California [ESPN.com]