Sonny Dykes is no different than most coaches. They all insist on playing ‘em one at a time.
Well the next one for Cal is big: The Big Game.
And there is more at stake than usual – one more win and the Bears will play in a bowl game.
Asked to explain what a win over Stanford on Saturday would mean to his program, Dykes said it’s about the rivalry, but more than that.
“It’s just the next step. The next logical step is to beat a rival, to beat a team that’s been good here recently, a team we haven’t beaten in a while,” Dykes said. “The biggest thing is what it does for your program, makes you bowl eligible and gives you a chance to extend your season, which is big for us.
“It’s always big because of the rivalry. The bowl makes it bigger than usual.”
Cal suffered an historic 63-13 loss at Stanford a year ago – its biggest margin of defeat in the first 116 meetings of the two schools.
Dykes acknowledges that winning the line of scrimmage will be a big challenge, but a pivotal one in the game.
“That’s the strength of their football team,” he said of the Cardinal’s offensive and defensive lines. “They lost a lot of players (from last season) who were seniors, but they’ve got a lot of good experienced players back.
“They’re still a good football team, that’s who they are and what they’re good at. It will be very important for us to match their physical play and certainly hold up better than we did last year.
“I think it’s a better matchup for us. We’ll certainly be tested on Saturday. We’ll find out.”