Another week, another appearance. Once again, a fantastic job. Hats off to "CougWill", Will Walker, for making the trip to Gainesville for this one. Just a great job, and another week of flag-spotting comes through to shake the foundation of ESPN Gameday!
Ok, maybe not shake their foundation, but still. In your face Lee! Speaking of Lee, I doubt he'll pick us as his upset special this week. As you probably know, he did pick us to win last week, and went out of his way to say "how tough it is to play in Pullman, and this one's in Pullman!" Just a week too early. I wonder if he knows Bill Doba, his old coaching buddy from Indiana, is actually not the head man anymore? Whatever. Hey, any time we're on ESPN, it's gravy as far as I'm concerned. Besides, Lee is probably fresh off another round of Hooters commercials, and you know his mind isn't where it should be about 90% of the time.
Moving on, nice to hear the talk about the 1988 Aloha Bowl team reunion happening today. Of course Coach Wulff was the center on that team, but man, that was one heck of an offensive line. Mike Utley and Chris Dyko were downright nasty up front, and Cal's own Jim Michalczik joined Wulff to form a strong middle of the line. Grippi wrote about this a few days ago, and the relationship between Michalczik and Wulff. Bonds formed in weekly battles against the opponent, it sounds as though Wulff and Michalczik are friends forever.
That '88 team was something special though. The 9-3 record in Erickson's second year. The upset of UCLA, where people on campus that day still say that right when that game ended, you could hear a collective yell throughout the area, with everyone basically celebrating at once when it was finally clear we were going to win that game. Of course, the thrilling Apple Cup comeback victory, 32-31, when Rosey ran it in. Here's a trip down video lane:
Rosey would have over 3400 passing yards that season, and actually got Heisman votes. Tim Stallworth had a huge season at WR. But maybe the biggest testament to that team's success was the running game. Steve Broussard had 1280 yards rushing that year, but Rich Swinton came off the bench to go for 1,018! We've never had two players go over 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. In fact, we've only had twelve instances - EVER - to even have a player go over 1,000 yards rushing in one year. To think that two of those times happened in the same season? Not only were they talented backs, but that was one hell of an offensive line.
Finally, the experts have weighed in. Have you seen anyone calling for the upset? Doubtful. But have you seen anyone even calling for a close one? Sportsline's Harmon Forecast has it at 10 points, 30-20, and that's about the closest I've seen from the national guys. However Grippi picks Cal, 28-23, and I think he's right. We might be in for a very close game today.
But most of all, the thing I'm hoping to take from today is IMPROVEMENT! A close loss would sting, no doubt, but this season is about getting better.
We'll be back during, and after, the game today. Enjoy your day, and most of all, GO COUGS!