SI.com can’t get enough of college football. They released their own opinion of which teams have the toughest schedules and which matchups are the best of the year.

Of course Cal wouldn’t have a schedule ranked in the top 25. Not with powder-puffs like Louisiana Tech and Colorado State on its nonconference schedule.

And of course the Bears/USC matchup in late November will make that top 10 list of games to see. That game should determine the Pac-10 championship and whether or not Cal will go to a Rose Bowl. We know that seems like a broken record, but ever since that loss to the Trojans back in 2004, the Bears haven’t performed well in big games.

Speaking of not performing well in big games, SI.com’s Stewart Mandel thinks that Cal has been overrated that last couple of years. Apparently an angry Bears fan was trying to bitch out Mandel for not giving Cal more credit heading into this season.

But Mandel’s can argue right back:

bq. Remember last week when we discussed the carryover effect of Oklahoma’s 55-19 game a few years ago and how it affected the perception of that program? Well, I can’t speak for other voters, but Cal’s humiliating defeat at Tennessee last year had much the same effect for me. This is a program that, for several years, I think many of us slightly overrated in anticipation of a breakthrough that seemed to be coming following Jeff Tedford’s impressive turnaround job. Much of this was based on two games — the upset win over USC in 2003 and the near-upset of the Trojans in ’04. But the fact is, in nearly every big showcase game since then, the Bears have fallen flat, from the Holiday Bowl loss to Texas Tech to the past two USC games to that Tennessee debacle. Beating Texas A&M in the bowl game last year was nice, but I didn’t have that high an opinion of that A&M team to begin with.

bq. So what I’m saying is, I’m taking a little more cautious approach to Cal these days. They’ll certainly be in my preseason Top 25, but I’m not ready to throw the Bears in the national-title mix. The good news is, they have a chance to change my opinion very quickly with their rematch against the Vols opening weekend.

We agree with Mandel. Who have the Bears defeated that was of any note in the last three years? We mean, which good teams has Cal beaten in the last three years? And don’t say Oregon or Texas A&M.

The Bears haven’t proven themselves yet, and when they had the shot of clinching the Rose Bowl last year, they choked in Tucson, Ariz. and then lost to USC the week later.

To gain any street cred, Cal will have to beat someone better than Oregon State.

Image Source: Allison Porterfield, Daily Cal
Momentous matchups [SI.com]
Top 25 toughest schedules [SI.com]
Fearless foresight [SI.com]



Comments:
Avinash said:
Jun 22, 2007 at 7:16 am

Wait, the Big Game isn’t the only game Cal students care about?



anon said:
Jun 22, 2007 at 5:54 pm

clearly avinash does not actually attend cal football games.



kaden said:
Jun 29, 2007 at 8:53 pm

send me back some pictures of running backs and any other cool stuff



bert jermy said:
Sep 24, 2007 at 11:43 am

want no if i go in the team