Monday, October 08, 2007

Why We Love, NCAA Style: The Cal Golden Bears

'Ello, friends. Ted back again with a new edition of "Why We Love," NCAA style. To clarify once again for newer stumblers-uponst-this-drivel, "Why We Love" is a summary of a lesser-known entity in an effort to convince you that you should, in fact, want to mate with a representation of their team (perhaps the mascot - although that could get a little hairy). We try to avoid profiling the USCs (even with the loss to Stanford) and the Texas' (even with the losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma), because we figure you already know about them - and as such, know why you should love (or utterly despise) them.

Today: a team that's lesser known but still Top 3. Presenting the California Golden Bears:

- Love them because they're ranked this high for the first time in 50 years.

- Love them because, since they are from Berkeley and all, they do have people sitting in a tree outside their stadium in protest of administrative policy.

- Love them because their most notable player, DeSean Jackson, might be the single most electrifying presence in college football this year.

- Love them because they were part of arguably the most exciting college football game of this year - the Bears vs. the Oregon Ducks two weeks ago at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, a battle that wasn't decided until Oregon fumbled a ball out of the end zone with less than one minute remaining.

- Love them because this entire season has been about taking care of business while others have faltered. While five teams in the initial Top 10 have lost already - including two massive upsets in the form of Appy over Michigan and Stanford over USC - Cal has won their two most important games, the season opener against Tennessee and the aforementioned Oregon game, and now need only to take out USC and run the table against inferior competition to potentially reach the BCS Title Game.

- Love 'em because, if Jacob Hester had been stuffed on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, they would be the No. 1 team in America.

- Love 'em because Nate Longshore is following in a long line of Jeff Tedford-mentored quarterbacks who achieve tremendous college success (if often followed by dubious pro success). Longshore - who comes after previous Tedford studies Trent Dilfer, David Carr, Akili Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Boller, and Joey Harrington - directed that season opener over the Vols, throwing for 2 TDs and rushing for another, and has been spotless when asked to be in his mastery of Tedford's legendary playbook, which he once told The Washington Post "is like Webster's Dictionary."

- Love them because Justin Forsett isn't Marshawn Lynch, but might have been better then and still better now. Forsett, the Bears' tailback, was No. 1 in America in YPC last year when he was playing behind Lynch. This year, he's ripping defenses to shreds. In high school, they called him "The Truth," but now they simply call him "Tex" in reference to his Arlington, TX roots.

- Love the fact that Lavelle Hawkins gets less ink than DeSean, but might be the more consistent receiving threat. Need proof? Here, here, and oh yes - here.

- And love Jeff Tedford because, well, he's an offensive genius. If you have trouble embracing Mike Martz in any type of romantic way for the same reasons, check this out and consider using it as the rationalization for your newfound desire to write love poems to Tedford.

- And I mean, any time we talk California Golden Bears, we need to see - and love - this clip, don't we?

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