Friday, November 11, 2005

Can Cal Pull a Notre Dame?

Great streaks exist so that we can all go nuts when they finally end. Did you ever hear of somebody watching a record-breaking streak with the hope that it'll continue, other than die-hard fans of the ones doing the streaking? No. And so it is these days with the USC Trojans - everybody beyond the corner of Adams & Figueroa is rooting for their 31 game winning streak to crash and burn. The Irish were only.......NO, I cannot continue, just writing about it brings back terrible memories.

But this weekend, USC returns to the site of their last defeat, in September of 2003, against the Mighty Golden Bears of California-Berkely. And with God as my witness, I declare it now for all to hear: CAL WILL WIN THIS GAME.

Not because I don't like USC or have any particular fondness for the Golden Bears. But the symmetry is at work - a titan of college sports from Los Angeles being felled twice by the same underdog. Cal is about to pull a Notre Dame.

For those who don't follow, a little history lesson: on January 23, 1971, the UCLA Bruins entered Notre Dame's Joyce Center and left 89-82 losers. Three years later, they returned not only as back-to-back-to-back national champions, but undefeated since that cold South Bend day. 88 games, 88 wins. February 2, 1974 was the day it all ended, the Bruins denied their 89th in a row...on the same court to the same team, Digger Phelps' Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Not many teams can claim to be at both ends of an eye-popping streak like UCLA's 88 straight in basketball. But in today's college football world, USC's 31 is almost as impressive. But just to offer a little perspective, assuming USC does win out and take home the Rose Bowl, they would STILL have to go undefeated in 2006 in order to match Oklahoma's record of 47 straight gridiron victories.

And it ain't happening. I have faith in the Cal Bears. Blind and misinformed though it may be, I think you're really gonna see something tomorrow, particularly when you consider how under-the-radar this game is behind the SEC's three-headed monster Saturday of LSU-Alabama, Auburn-Georgia, and South Carolina-Florida (Steve S. gonna show Urby how it's done). So strap in for 3:30 PM ET. Cal's about to pull a Notre Dame out of its Golden Bear hat.

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