Don’t look back in anger

I bet you’re upset. Your blood is coursing bluer and golder than ever before, your righteous fury making Menelaus’ rage seem but a polite objection.

Well, stop. This recruiting freefall was the reality check: Cal has never been, and will likely never become, an elite football program.

Elite programs don’t see their signing class drop from No. 10 to No. “Who Cares?” in a span of two weeks. They also don’t base their entire recruiting strategy around one man, even if that one man seemed like the consummate Cal lifer. Remember that aphorism about the eggs? The Bears’ basket just broke, and Washington was there to catch a shiny golden orb.

On Jan. 16, Cal defensive line coach and super-recruiter Tosh Lupoi bolted north to Washington for a waterfall of cash and a rumored boat. Two weeks away from National Signing Day, the dominoes teetered.

Twitter, today’s best source for breaking news, blew up.

Five-star defensive end Aziz Shittu, then considering Cal: “WOWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! The Game Just Changed”

Five-star defensive back Shaq Thompson, then committed to Cal: “I have A lot of thinking to do”

Four-star receiver Jordan Payton, originally committed to USC before flipping to Cal: “So i guess there tellin me i have to make grown man decisions now. So here come my GMD’s. #itstime”

Five-star defensive end Ellis McCarthy, verbally a Bear, committed to UCLA later that night. The next day, Cal wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau joined Lupoi in Seattle, becoming the Huskies’ new offensive coordinator. Thompson eventually followed, while Shittu opted for Stanford. Payton committed to Washington, then became a Bruin at the last minute. Arik Armstead, another potential Bear, headed to Eugene.

Directing your anger at 17- and 18-year-olds for basing their choice on an assistant coach is silly. Seventeen- and 18-year-olds have made and will make far stupider decisions. (Oregon’s rise was fueled in part by wacky uniforms — uniforms!) That the teenagers attached themselves more to the 30-year-old Lupoi rather than, say, head coach Jeff Tedford, says something about this program’s stature. Did big-time recruits back off Texas when defensive coordinator Will Muschamp went to Florida?

Face it: Top-shelf football talent doesn’t flock to a place like Berkeley.

Cal got star receiver DeSean Jackson in 2005 because he felt USC had taken him for granted. It lucked into star receiver Keenan Allen — originally committed to Alabama — in 2009 because he wanted to play with his brother, Zach Maynard, who transferred from Buffalo.

Shiny new facilities won’t cloak football’s place on the campus totem pole. Tedford may be the state’s highest-paid employee, but the lifetime of free parking is reserved for Nobel laureates. There’s a reason this place is more widely known as UC Berkeley.

Once in a while, someone like Aaron Rodgers will grace Cal with his presence, leading it to victories over actual juggernauts like USC. But that success is beautiful and fleeting like Halley’s Comet; when you chance upon a sighting, just thank Pappy’s ghost and soak the moment in.

You didn’t pick Cal for its football team. You came here because your parents wanted you to, because you didn’t get into the Ivies or because you fell in love with the Bay. And now, you have the nonpareil privilege of living in Berkeley, where you can hike to Tilden Park, hit up the Berkeley Rep and eat at Chez Panisse in the same day. If you’re lucky, you can even see the Golden Gate from your bedroom window.

Still mad? Walk 15 minutes from campus and you can find half a dozen yoga studios. Namaste.

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  • putnam78

    Really?  Please tell me that you’re a Stanford troll who somehow hacked the Daily Cal.  I was accepted to Stanford and Yale and chose Cal because it’s a great university, the student body is truly diverse, and it is one of the best values in American education.  As for Cal sports, I’m very proud that the Bears have performed as well as they have given the university’s academic and ethical standards.   It’s not that I don’t want Cal to be the national champion in every sport.  Let’s just say that for me, a higher priority is that my alma mater is a place where coaches and athletes  compete at the highest level with passion, integrity, and a commitment to the team.  

    • The Dude

      Ha! The hell you turned down Yale and Stanford for Cal.  No sane person would do that….ever.

      • Sucks

        Turned down MIT and Furd to come here.

        • The Dude

          Good luck explaining that for the rest of your life.  I wouldn’t hire you.

          • Wenceslaus

            But I would rather not work for you at McDonald’s, “Dude.” My job, although much more tedious, pays a lot more than that.

          • Sucks

            Cal got me set up perfectly for life. Not worried about it one bit. 

        • putnam78

          I can’t stand the snobs from HYPS who assume that Cal is for people who were not admitted to the Ivies or Furd.  Berkeley is a great fit if you like/love NCal and the Bay Area, don’t need the security blanket of the high priced diploma to feel accomplished, want to spend the rest of your life soaking up the pure bliss of Saturdays at Memorial Stadium, and smile every time you hear or say, “Go Bears!”

      • Wenceslaus

        Turned down Penn, Columbia, and a full scholarship from Stanford. I’m a Bear through and through, been going to games before I was taller than a doorknob. “The Dude” is probably Jack Wang’s alterego.

      • putnam78

        And you say that because . . .  ?????

  • Adsahjh

    Jack, you’re a great guy, but this is unnecessarily defeatist. A great recruiter can make a mediocre football school a real power. The problem is that Tedford is not it, but we invested all our money in him instead of spending it on natural recruiters like Lupoi. Until that piece of shit leaves, we’re going to be mediocre. We should have fired his ass and signed Mike Leach. Fucking Stanford went to a BCS bowl because they had Jim Harbaugh. No reason we can’t.

  • loverspoint

    Jack as a psychologist I’m advising you to stay away from sharp objects, lock your medicine cabinet and quit staring at the Golden Gate Bridge, I’m afraid your defeatist attitude is a sign that you are indeed suicidal, you need help boy. 

  • Thereoofds54

    I am Jack’s complete lack of testosterone.

  • Brian

    Jack, not everybody is a nerd like you.  Some of us believe we can have a very successful program.  

  • loverspoint

    In the movie “Blind Side” Michael Oher was investigated by the NCAA because he chose Mississippi St. the college his adoptive parents attended, the investigator said that his decision was manipulated by these people and that they only adopted him because he showed promise as a football player. I think someone needs to ask Shaq Thompson why he is attached at the hip to an assistant coach/ recruiter that doesn’t even have a hand in his coaching. Lupoi is a DL coach and Thompson is a Safety and RB. I understood why Ellis McCarthy might have changed his mind, he was a defensive lineman. I could also understand why Jordan Payton would leave, he thought Kiesau would be his WR coach. After dumping USC for Cal and then for Washington he eventually ended up at UCLA, someone take this kids driving license away before he has to make a decision at a 4 way stop sign. 

  • Pepe

    Hey loser!  You are a joke!  Somebody needs to punch you in the nuts!

  • Sshafikh

    The worst article I’ve read ever. Frankly, I’m offended by your comments. To suggest that Cal football team can’t be good because it’s not an established program or because of its high academic standards is just foolish. Just look at Stanford and their players. To suggest UC Berkeley students were “Ivies rejects” is frankly insulting. Berkeley students are not rejects. A lot of us have received education and training from various schools. I can guarantee you that education at Berkeley is as good as any. I  picked Berkeley because Berkeley is special.

  • BbW

    Shut up you Douche!  I can’t believe they let you write for the Daily Cal.  You know nothing about football or sports.

  • AO

    Hey Jack, you’re totally right: Why would anyone ever want to aspire to something better than what they have right now in life? People shouldn’t try to leave the ghetto or look for a better job. Definitely don’t vote in any sort of election – what good would that do? 

    And our football team shouldn’t expect to ever become elite. We can just ignore the fact that Oregon has shrugged off 100 years of mediocrity to become an elite program in just the last decade. The same decade where Cal was neck-and-neck to achieve the same result, if not for a huge discrepancy in money. 

    You see, because that’s exactly why Cal fans should expect to become elite. With the new SAHPC and new Pac 12 TV revenues, Oregon/Nike’s money advantage is somewhat muted. We’re invested: A highly paid coach, brand new facilities and nearly a decade of future NFL draftees on the sidelines of Memorial Stadium (or did we “luck” into having the 2nd most NFL players of any school in the Pac 12? Remind me which of those 28 guys you wouldn’t classify as “top-shelf talent”?

    Cal has everything going for it: A chance to compete in the Pac 12, and a chance to go to the NFL or end up with a Cal diploma as a consolation prize. With new facilities and more money, we’re finally on an even playing field with the rest of the conference. As a Cal football fan, I expect great things from the guys we have. 

    But then again, you don’t want to hear any of that. From the sound of it, you’re pretty happy stumbling through life status quo. You picked Cal because your parents picked it, and you’re just stoked that there happens to be a park, some yoga and a view of a bridge nearby. Sounds average to me, but I suppose that’s what you’re shooting for. 

  • Anonymous

    Don’t be such a Mary.  After all the gnashing and rending, it’s still a top-25 class (top-16 quality ranking), following a top-20 class last year and a top-15 class the year prior.  Tedford has plenty of talent to work with, and the recent haul pretty much craps all over your theory that Cal isn’t a destination for talented football players.  And what do you have to say about Stanford?  4 years ago, Palo Alto was a football waste land.  Today, they have a recruiting haul that rivals SC’s. 

    And, please, try to do something about the inferiority complex before you put finger to keyboard again.  I got into Princeton and Cornell, and my parents could not have given the shortest shit whether I went to Cal or not.  I suspect I’m not alone.   

  • Guest

    You are a moron.  I don’t think we got any 5* writers at the DC either.   You have never known Cal FB.   EVER.

  • DblBear

    Aaron Rodgers beat USC?  Gee, I could have sworn it was Reggie Robertson.

    I’ll listen to what you have to say once you have any clue what you are saying.

  • Anonymous

    Ok Jack, we get it.  You’re a loser.  Don’t lump us all in with yourself.

  • loverspoint

    The people that rank these kids do so because it is their livelihood, there have been thousands of High School 5 star athletes that never even make it as starters on the college they commit to, there are also many that never make it to the NFL. There are also plenty of people in the NFL that were never even ranked coming out of H.S., they were walk ons. There are also plenty of players in the NFL that were never drafted and they also had to walk on to a NFL team and prove themselves. Oregon has been out- recruited for years by other teams in the Pac-12 but the coaches show the kids how to win. I think Cal’s coaches need to be held accountable. 

  • calbears2003

    The only thing I’m upset about is this article.  Proud of all recruits who chose the best university in the world!

  • CalDude

    What a lame article. Bring back Katie Dowd!

  • John

    This is truly pathetic.  You should resign from this post. 

  • Tosh Lupoi

    This article is an embarrassment to the University. So am I.

  • Calgldnbear

    This dude is employed by the DAILY CAL?????  

  • Pcinsf

    What an utter embarrassment to the university. Is this the sort or tripe the Daily Crap puts out these days?

  • Brj1

    Jack – Wisconsin and Michigan are two great schools that seem to have no problem fielding competitive football teams without compromising their academic stature. Cal’s rival , Stanford, is doing it as well. While you are dining at Chez Panisse or basking in the marvelous sunset, a lot of your fellow students are in line at Top Dog or grabbing a burger at Kip’s, and they want a good football team.

  • worst.writer.ever

    Jack, FUCK OFF. Sincerely, every Cal fan ever. 

  • flip

    Terrible article, we have all of the tools to succeed

  • BadBill

    Absurd article. Why be so friggin’ negative? Us alums were upset, but we still got a nationally ranked class….

  • schadenbear

    Know what you are talking about before you print this type of garbage. 

    It really reflects poorly upon the writer. 

    I’m speaking directly at you Mr. Wang.

  • Westcoastgradstudent

    Jack Wang, stop writing, you’re embarrassing to all of us.  Seriously, please shut up.

  • Matthewshoemaker

    Maybe you should try something else besides Journalism.

  • Hermosafootballer

    Shut up, Loser.

    Lazy retards like you is why Cal Football has a bad image.

    Go write about what you know… Video games or youporn.

  • Current student

    This article sucks.  Jack Wang is a loser.

  • Allen

    We should be angry! Angry because there was potential to land a top 5 class and we fell sort. Sure, there may have been nothing we could do about our situation but CAL is definitely a contender when it comes to athletics and football programs. Don’t be surprised when Kline gets up and running.

  • AnOski

    Honestly, Jack.  You make me ashamed to go to Cal.  I turned down an Ivy for this place, and now I’m told by a classmate that this school is second-best?  This bit you’ve written here isn’t a news column.  It’s a story about how you’re personally disappointed in your life achievements, and you’re dragging the rest of your classmates down with you.  

    I’m writing to the Daily Cal to get you booted and hope you’ve done well enough in your first few years here to transfer out as you so obviously desire, you pessimistic jerk.  

    • Jack’s an Ass


    • Anonymous

      Cornell is not a real Ivy, bro.

  • Negativesumgame

    Too much money at stake now. Perhaps you noticed the huge construction project on Piedmont Ave? Program will have to trend up or changes will be made. This loser talk is a remnant from the 80’s. 

  • VN

    Stanford couldnt fill half its stadium three years ago, this year they pulled in one of the best OL classes of all time.  Is Palo Alto a football city?  Give me a break. 

  • Danny Torres

    I didn’t pick Cal because my parents wanted me to or because the “Ivies” rejected me. I picked Cal because it’s one of the best educations in the world.

    If you don’t think Cal Athletes should strive to be the best or achieve great things, how do you explain that to Aaron Rodgers, Natalie Coughlin, and Alex Morgan?

  • flip

    This is a terrible article, Cal has the recruiting territory and the facilities (starting 2012). There is no reason we cannot be a contender in the Pac-12 and the nation year in and year out. There is a lot of talent in berkeley right now and to say that talent doesn’t want to come here is disrespectful to them. It seems like the daily cal will never be a heavy weight university news paper if Jack Wang is the kind of talent and attitude we have

  • Kyle

    Forget DailyCal, this guy shouldn’t even be at Berkeley.  Is his life philosophy equally pathetic?

    • dr150

      Yup.  Transfer out of Cal.  You look like a douche and act like a douche.  How did you even get the job….take some writing classes, yo!

  • Steve

    Have you played competitive sports before? Do you just lay down when you don’t think you can win? Pathetic. You don’t have to focus just on athletics or just on academics. Pathetic representation of a school that prides itself on excellence in ALL facets of life. 

  • Wow

    I’m glad you speak your mind.  But i just want to say this:  YOU’RE OPINION IS SUCH A JOKE.  I’m embarrassed that you’re even a member of this university.

  • Frank

    “Face it: Top-shelf football talent doesn’t flock to a place like Berkeley.”

    Why?  Because of attitudes like this.

  • TrueCalFan

    This is the worst Cal sports article i have ever read.

    • dr150

      Truly writes like shit.  LOL!  Guy has a loser mentality!

    • Jack Wang’s Mom.

      Wow, and after all I taught Jack about persevereance and dedication to success, and this is how he repays me?   THAT’S IT.  NO MORE WEEKEND BOTTLED WATER DELIVERY.  

    • Jack Wang’s Mom
      • Coach Lupoi

        Oh you are so witty Jack Wang’s mom. 

        Maybe you would like to come along on Jack’s official recruiting visit to Washington. 

        It’s one of the universities of the world. 

        Just don’t tell him the sun never comes out lol. 

        I figured out a way around that, I bought a tanning salon and put it on my boat.

        WOOF WOOF

        Coach Lupoi

  • dr150

    You sound defeated.  Just b/c who’ve had little success in your life, don’t troll the team

  • giddyup

    Honestly dude…don’t sell any part of Cal sports short again.  This is a mistake.  Berkeley is an all around wonderful place and the university is built on academics and a rich tradition of being a political and social maverick, but don’t kid yourself — football matters.  It is big business and it will assist in keeping UC Berkeley the number 1 public university in the future.  Look at how many institutions have raised the level of other services they provide students and their communities because football was and is important.  I appreciate the “chill out, it’s all good” message, but November 2nd will mean a lot more to many more alumni than I think you understand.  Football will increase in reverance and importance at Berkeley, as well.  Just you watch.  Roll on  you bears.

  • facepalm

    Nice article to post on signing day.  “Top talent doesn’t come to Berkeley.”  Hope all our new recruits aren’t reading your whiny garbage.  

  • Marc

    Wow. You are pathetic.

  • eddie

    Wow, you know NOTHING about competing and striving.

  • mposki

    This is an utterly ridiculous column. It reflects poorly on the university and is absolutely a defeatist attitude. Look at what schools like Stanford and other academic bastions can accomplish. Please stop talking out of your a**.

  • Jackwang

    You sir are… a douche!

    • mposki

      Nice journalistic integrity. Way to keep it classy.

    • Ed

      thanks. glad you read my comment then.

  • SierraBear

    Pappy Waldorf can’t hear you…

  • Ed

    what a fuckin defeatist viewpoint. “we can’t do well b/c we’re Berkeley”–so we should resign ourselves to settle with mediocrity? what a fuckin joke. meanwhile our disgusting Stanfurd rivals are on the rise, pulled in three 5 star linemen, and we should be complacent?

    • eddie

      Seriously. Stanford just reeled in a top 5 class but Berkeley is supposed to be content? Jack, punch yourself in the nuts.

    • loverspoint

      Jack is depressed because he has come to the realization that he has no journalistic qualities and will be stuck a the Daily Californian for the rest of is life if he pursues that career. We know one job he won’t be pursuing is that of a inspirational speaker. Tony Robbins your job is safe.