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40AS Non-Conference Game of the Week

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Our "we are the center of the known universe" theory will face its critical test over the next several weeks. Nebraska, Okie State, Tech and Aggy are coming up. Texas is 6-0 in weeks we've done a post on BON and 0-2 when we haven't. A lifetime of glory awaits if we indeed are the determining factor for whether the Horns win or lose. We refuse to entertain the possibility that perhaps Texas played its two toughest opponents in the two weeks we happened to be slackers, so don't even go there.

Before getting to our game, we'd like to offer a quick plea to the football lords. We acknowledge that any weekend with college football is far better than the greatest weekend without (except for a few select weekends in March). That said, please give us some dominance and great play. As it stands now, it appears the national champion will be the team that doesn't lose rather than the team that goes out and takes it. The Heisman winner will be the pretty good player who plays the best and whose team messes up the least. The second-best conference is the Pac-10 (or possibly Big East?!?!). And the #1 team in the country is an Ohio State squad that probably couldn't have beaten the 2006 Horns. Tulane led LSU at the half, Iowa State almost beat Oklahoma, Texas was anemic for most of the game against Baylor, Stanford beat USC, and then there was Appy St. Don't get us wrong; we love the exciting games week after week. But a few dominant performances wouldn't hurt either.  

All senseless complaints aside, our game of the week for Week Nine is The University of California at Berkeley versus Arizona State University. It should be a good one out West.

Not necessarily football-related reasons to like Cal: We could sit here and tell you that Cal is too good a team to lose three games in a row, and that's a reason to think they'll win. But the problem with that is, we don't know that to be true. We may think that it's the case, but we simply can't be sure. If they lose, then obviously they weren't too good to lose three in a row, were they? So that doesn't work. In truth, this is a huge game for the Golden Bears because a loss would send the season spiralling completely out of control while a win would restabilize them for the stretch run. And there's actually a very good reason to pull for them if you're the kind of person who enjoys humor and irony. When people around the world think of Cal-Berkeley, they think of possibly the most liberal place on the planet. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but it is awfully easy to mock. In fact, one of us once visited the campus and saw people protesting for Roma rights. We're sure there are Roma out there who are having their rights threatened, but it certainly seemed like these students simply lacked anything front-page to protest, so they found something on the back page. So, you have your real life PCU ("We're not gonna protest! We're not gonna protest!) up there in Berkeley, and everything's hunky dory. But then, suddenly, a new identity begins to emerge. The touchyest-feelyest place on earth is starting to get a reputation for...football?!? The nastiest, most violent, most masculine activity in American mainstream culture? If Cal loses this one and begins to fade back into football mediocrity, that hilarious identity crisis will be over. And no one wants that.

Not necessarily football-related reasons to like Arizona State: We hear Arizona is lovely. Also, Dennis Erickson has the Sun Devils poised to make a run at the national championship--but there are several serious obstacles in the way. This would be the first of those obstacles. Remember the 1996 season when Jake Plummer led them to an 11-0 regular season and they lost a heartbreaker to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl? 2007 is the closest the Devils have come to getting back to that point since. Now that they have a legitimate, proven winner as head coach (sorry, Dirk Koetter) there's no reason to believe that ASU is a program on the rise beyond just this season. There's only one problem with believeing that they'll win this ballgame, however: they haven't really played anyone yet. That's not to say that they aren't good--aside from escaping against Washington State all of ASU's wins have been by double digits. We're just saying we don't know yet, and Cal is going to be helpful in our quest to figure it out.

Why Texas fans should care: For starters, the Longhorns play Nebraska and Sam Keller this weekend. You may recall that back when Nebraska still seemed relevant this season, ESPN did a feature (it was only one feature; it just seemed like several different ones because they showed it so many times) on Keller and his transition from Arizona State to Nebraska. How's that working out for you, Sam? The other area in which it matters for Texas fans is in our hopes for an at-large BCS bid. Both of these teams serve as possible rivals for that spot. Arizona State being unbeaten is thus a bad thing for Texas. Should the Sun Devils win out, they'd likely land a spot in the Championship Game, which means that one of the Rose Bowl spots would almost certainly go to a Pac-10 at-large team like USC, Cal, or Oregon. But if Cal can win this weekend, the chances of a Pac-10 team making it to New Orleans would drop and thus so would the chances of a Pac-10 at-large team in the BCS. Hey, you gotta keep believing...

The Battle of the YouTubes:
Remember the 2005 Holiday Bowl, AKA the Karma is a Bitch Game?

"Looks like Heaven's easier to get into than Arizona State!"