Cal coach Sonny Dykes sees something more than the tangible benefits – extra practice time, a boost to recruiting – that a win over BYU Saturday and bowl eligibility would provide his program.
“The most important thing is just the psyche of our players, feeling they really accomplished something,” said Dykes, whose program progressed from one victory last season to five so far this fall. “That part would be really critical, just from where we were to being in the bowl discussion would be a credit to those players.”
Cal (5-6) and BYU (7-4) kick off at 1:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium, with the Bears needing that sixth win to become eligible for its first bowl game since 2011.
Given the circumstances, this ranks as perhaps the most important nonconference game Cal has ever played, or at least since 2001, when a season-ending win at Rutgers allowed the Bears to avoid their first winless season.
“This is kind of like a playoff game and we’re treating it as such,” wide receiver Chris Harper said.
“We know what’s at stake,” guard Alejandro Crosthwaite said. “We’re hungry. We all love each other – the chemistry has been ridiculous – and we want the extra month.”
Dykes addressed the bowl situation to his team just once – immediately after last Saturday’s Big Game loss to Stanford. “Everybody knew it,” running back Daniel Lasco said.