For the Bears, this year’s college football season has been magical. It’s been insane. And for the first time in many, many years, Cal fans have a true — based in fact — hope that the Bears’ can make a bowl game, that the program is really moving in the right direction.
Pundits predicted Cal to be terrible again this year, but the Bears have been able to make a statement in the Pac-12. And not just in the win column, but in the dramatic ways those games have played out.
Missed field goals shorter than extra points! Hail Mary passes! Fumbles! Overtime! Double overtime!
Hollywood scribes are seriously jealous they didn’t come up with scripts like what has been happening to the Bears. Now that “Friday Night Lights” is over, writers are looking for the next great football TV show. What better than tackling college football in what has been such a wild season?
But heading into the toughest part of Cal’s season, that magic might be running out. The game script against UCLA should have read: Cal, despite having 200 fewer yards than the Bruins, wins on a last minute field goal. Instead, Jared Goff threw an interception, and Cal lost, 36-34. Against Washington, the Bears were supposed to come out of the half trailing 28-0 and score 51 points to win. In reality, Cal only scored seven points, ultimately losing 31-7.
So what chance does Cal have against Oregon, the No. 6 team in the AP Top 25? In all honesty, probably none. Oregon is a more fully developed team with more all-around threats and a Heisman frontrunner in quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Oregon just looks too good, too strong.
But let’s imagine we can conjure up some more magic, because this seems to be the year for it for Cal football. Here are 10 things that could happen that would give the Bears a big, fat “W”:
1. The Occupy Berkeley movement decides it’s not being taken seriously enough and starts an “Occupy Levi’s Stadium” campaign. The Bears wouldn’t win, but at least they wouldn’t lose.
2. Aaron Rodgers decides he misses playing college football and convinces Jared Goff to let him play behind center. Rodgers constantly tears apart pro defenses, so what kind of problems can Oregon — the No. 100 defense in the country — present?
3. Tony Gonzalez decides that if Rodgers is coming back, he wants to, too.
4. All the Oregon players decide to try the local cuisine and eat some really bad sushi.
5. There’s a problem with the Ducks’ plane, and the players all land on an island “Lost”-style, just without the smoke monster and the Dharma Initiative and the flashes sideways. Of course, the Oregon players would all be safely rescued Saturday morning after the scheduled game time passes.
6. It turns out that Peter Pan and Tinkerbell are real, and the Cal players get sprinkled with pixie dust, allowing them to fly over the heads of all the Ducks’ players. Go figure: Ducks can’t fly, but Bears can.
7. The entire Oregon team comes down with Ebola. How are they supposed to play if they’re all quarantined and not allowed to fly? Huh? (Of course, after the game is over, everyone is OK.)
8. The Ducks’ mascot pulls a muscle from doing so many push-ups on the sideline as part of his weird, drunk-seeming antics, and the team decides it has to accompany him to the hospital.
9. Kanye West storms onto the field, takes all the footballs, announces that he deserves them more than Oregon does and refuses to give the balls back.
10. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh throws one of his famous tantrums and demands his stadium back.
Or maybe Cal fans should accept that this one is probably going to go the other way.