Fans arriving at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch Cal play UCLA may wonder if they’re about to see the Bears who averaged 50 points through their first five games or the team held to a single touchdown by Washington last week.
Glenn Parker, analyst for the Pac-12 Networks and a former NFL offensive lineman, offers those fans an Aaron Rodgers-like response: Relax.
“After the season they had last year, the (4-1) start they had this year puts unrealistic expectations on those guys from a fan perspective. They think they should win every game,” said Parker, who worked the Cal-UW game.
“This is a process. They have grown immensely in a year and a half. The reality is probably somewhere between the unbeaten team the fans want and 1-11 of last year.”
Does the Cal-UCLA rivalry mean anything to the two programs anymore? The L.A. Times explores the question, with a biting response from former Cal quarterback star Mike Pawlawski.
Even so, no one envisioned the offensive meltdown the Bears (4-2, 2-2 Pac-12) experienced in a 31-7 loss to Huskies. So the question remains: How will Cal respond against UCLA (4-2, 1-2), a team fighting expectations issues of its own?
Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin expects the Bears to play with the kind of energy and effort he saw the first five games.
But when he flipped on the tape of the UW game, he saw something else.