Throughout the course of the day, I have unveiled my predictions for this weekend’s SEC and noteworthy national games, as a result of which I am almost entirely finished offering my forecasts for Saturday’s college football action. I qualify that statement with the adverb "almost" because there yet remains one gridiron contest of which I must make mention.
I am referring, of course, to the national game of disinterest, the lone college football game on any given Saturday that is so lacking in merit, consequence, or any even remotely interesting attribute that I decline to pick a winner as a matter of principle. This week, the national game of disinterest is . . .
Wait, that can’t be right, can it? Under Urban Meyer, the Utes became the original BCS busters, completing an undefeated season and paving the way for mid-major teams to earn bids to major bowls. Kyle Whittingham took over the program in 2005 and proceeded to lead Utah to a 57-20 record in his first six seasons, producing a track record of success that helped land the Beehive State’s flagship school in the newly-expanded Pac-12, through which Jeff Tedford had blazed a trail as the head coach of the revived Bears. Since arriving in Berkeley, Coach Tedford has become the winningest coach in Cal history and the Golden State’s highest-paid state employee. How, then, can this be anything other than a monster inter-divisional clash between Pac-12 powers?
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to dominance: Cal and Utah both are mediocre. Each squad comes into this game sporting a 3-3 ledger, with five of their combined six victories coming over 1-6 Colorado, 3-4 Fresno State, Division I-AA Montana State, 3-4 Pitt, and Division I-AA Presbyterian.
The Bears trail a three-game losing streak, during which they have been outscored 104-47, while the Utes managed exactly 14 points in each of their league losses, unfortunately while allowing 23, 31, and 35 points, respectively. Both teams are 0-3 in conference play, with Cal all alone in last place in the North Division and Utah avoiding the South Division cellar only because of woeful Arizona.
One day, this may be a great rivalry between two very good teams; in the recent past, a clash between these programs would have been a quality contest well worth our attention. In 2011, though, they’re just two blind mules fighting over a turnip, and I’m not wasting my time picking it because I don’t want to have to stay up late enough to catch the end of one of those West Coast night games.