RBBID comments on my predictions

RBBID linked to my post with 2007 Cal game predictions with the following comment:

 Over at Bear Territory, Ken has done a post spring practice Cal game prediction. I would say I agree with most of his analysis except for any game he picked us to lose. Also, he picks Cal to lose to ASU and USC and sneak into the Rose Bowl after USC goes to the National Championship Game. I am not sure Cal would finish high enough in the polls to get picked for a BCS game if it did lose two Pac 10 games.

First of all, I sympathize with their desire to predict all games as wins.  That said, I’m too much of a realist for that.  The reality is very few seasons result in a team being undefeated and it’s not practical to expect that of any team, with an occasional exception.  So, I sympathize, and it does indeed pain me to write that Cal gets beat by ASU, a craptastic team that doesn’t deserve the respect of that prediction, but I’ve got to think that Cal loses one of its tough Pac-10 road games and that’s my best guess as to which of the three it is.  As for USC, I hope that I’m wrong, but the realist/”Cal fan who lived through both the Gilbertson and Holmoe years” in me says that I’m not.

As for the 2 losses being too much for a Rose Bowl bid, with 3 losses last year Cal was just a couple of poll spots short of being BCS eligible and it was quite clear that the Rose Bowl wanted Cal if they were eligible.  2 losses puts Cal in the top-10 (I’d guess #8 with my predicted wins/loses) and that’s plenty high enough for a Rose Bowl selection.  Perhaps RBBID is thinking of 2004 when #6 (or said differently #5 plus Mack Brown) didn’t get Cal into the Rose Bowl, but what one can’t forget is that there are now 2 extra BCS spots with the BCS championship game being a separate game from the 4 BCS bowl games.  Those two extra spots change a great deal and allow the bowl game selection committees a lot more flexibility.  The Rose Bowl desperately wants the Bears.  They know that a Cal Rose Bowl will bring 49 years of waiting Cal fans out of the woodworks and it’ll be a popularity/financial windfall for them when they finally have the opportunity to pick Cal.

Cal would have been in the Rose Bowl in 2004 had the current BCS lineup.  Texas would have played in the Orange Bowl against likely either Georgia or Virginia Tech, since USC and Oklahoma wouldn’t have played their pathetic blowout game in the Orange Bowl but a week later in the separate “BCS Championship Game”.  With these new rules, a top-10 2nd place Pac-10 team will always play in the Rose Bowl if the 1st place Pac-10 team goes to the BCS Championship Game, particularly if Notre Dame isn’t BCS eligible (that’s my prediction for this year).

Now that I think about it, perhaps RBBID’s thought is that 2 losses doesn’t get Cal 2nd place.  Considering that I’m predicting USC to go undefeated (hence giving every other Pac-10 team at least 1 loss), I think 2 losses will be good enough for 2nd place, particularly if that loss is to ASU.  A big part of the reason I put ASU with one loss (to Boise St. edit: I meant Oregon St.) when they got to the Cal game is because their schedule is very tail heavy.  Because of a desire to keep a semblance of brevity (pause for laughter) I edited out the part of my ASU prediction where I said they then go on to lose at least 3 of their last 4 games (@Oregon, @UCLA, USC and Arizona).  Basically, assuming USC goes undefeated, for Cal to keep 2nd place with 2 losses, whoever Cal loses to has to have 2 other Pac-10 loses (3 total).  I’m confident ASU will, and think it is likely that either Oregon or UCLA will as well.  For my money, I think Oregon is the team most likely of the three teams to be trouble to take 2nd place away if Cal doesn’t beat them.

In any case, I’m not predicting a loss to Oregon.  I’m predicting ASU.  And at the same time I’m predicting ASU loses 3 of their last 4 to let Cal pass them by for 2nd place in the Pac-10 and a Rose Bowl bid.

Any other questions? :-)

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