When it comes to the Cal football team, the vibe in Berkeley has been one of impatience – lots of opportunity and little to show for it. This year fit that same mold. The Golden Bears would have to win out against Washington, #4 Oregon, and #11 Oregon State in order to become bowl eligible – a monumental task for sure. A gorgeous early November afternoon morphed into a chilly Friday evening of football inside Memorial Stadium. Even though the stadium was not quite a sellout, loyalty and pride didn’t take a backseat. The band played with the same passion, the fans cheered with the same energy, and the players fought with the same amount of heart.
The diehards on Tightwad Hill peered down with anticipation, and the victory cannon exploded as the Golden Bears excitedly took the field. Washington had been struggling on the road lately, and they entered Berkeley in a more business-like manner. Both teams came out with successes to revel in and mistakes to forget. At the half, the Bears and Huskies were locked at 7. California would extend their lead with a couple field goals, but Washington would convert a 3rd and goal from the 29 to take a 14-13 lead in the third. Opportunities presented themselves a number of times for both teams in the final stanza of play. A wealth of turnovers by each team made fans wonder if anyone had interest in notching a win at all.
It would be Washington, however, who finally took advantage of a Golden Bear interception, converting it into points that would eventually slam the door on this game at 21-13. Four turnovers – by each team! A sloppy showcase caused fans to shift uncomfortably in their seats. One fan near me screamed out his dismay by exclaiming, “Those are two terrible teams out there – not one but two!” It’s hard to argue with the fella – just another display of impatience by these veteran fans who have seen it all except Pac 12 title. I know why they come back though – it’s this gorgeous stadium and vibrant atmosphere. As with most venerable stadiums, the record doesn’t always have to matter – being in Berkeley on a game day is classic west coast football saturated with tradition.