Thursday, September 14th, 2006 at 12:52 pm in Mid-week.
OK, it’s not THE BIG GAME, but it is a big game week in college football. It’s too bad that Cal isn’t included. Nebraska-USC, Florida-Tennessee, Oklahoma-Oregon, LSU-Auburn. It goes on and on. The nation will be watching and Cal is playing Portland State.
Oh well. Cal just needs to keep rolling along under the radar for a while. I have often talked about how important hype is to a program. If you aren’t getting any, you put yourself in a very difficult situation. Take, for instance, the case of Boise State vs. Cal. Cal received off-season hype and was ranked in the top 10. It look an early game, but didn’t fall out of the rankings. If it can win out, it can be right back in the top 10 by the end of the season and in contention for a bowl championship series game. Boise State, meanwhile, which returned 18 starters and figured to be a monster team (i’m not arguing here about strength of schedule, obviously the Broncos have an easier road to hoe) can’t afford to lose a game anywhere along the way. This is a team that will completely disappear if it stumbles anywhere along the way. If you don’t get that early season hype, you can’t recover.
The point of this topic is that I’ve found that the very top teams in the nation EMBRACE high expectations and hype. John Robinson used to state plainly that his teams were shooting for a Pac-10 championship and a national title. He would push his players for national awards. He wasn’t afraid of failure.
I thought it was very important this off season that Jeff Tedford talked openly about what a wonderful player he has in Marshawn Lynch. He talked about having high expectations for what he deems to be a very talented group. Teams that are ranked higher in the beginning of a season have a better shot to FINISH in the top 10. It might not be fair, but it’s true.
Cal is becoming known on a national level and that new-found respect will show itself in early season rankings. It is important.