Cal’s first three years in Lexington have been blessed by some remarkable luck. Back in ’09 the team survived against Miami early in the year and later a great bounce allowed Cousins to get the tip in the SEC tournament to force overtime. In ’10 Brandon Knight nailed the big shot against Princeton and then against Ohio State Will Buford’s shot clanged off the rim. This past year Anthony Davis survived a spinebuster down at LSU and a knee collision with Perry Jones to stay injury free. In fact the first three years of the Cal era has seen the Cats remain free from any major injury. While I’m thankful the Cats have been able to stay on the court the good luck that has found the basketball team has seemed to completely avoid the grass at Commonwealth Stadium.
Joker’s first two years as head coach have featured some great moments such as finally taking down Steve Spurrier and ending that forsaken Tennessee streak. But to me at least things could have gone much better if the football team could have just caught a couple of breaks. Back in 2010 the Cats battled eventual national champion Auburn to the final seconds, only to lose to a last second field goal. We lost our senior Derrick Locke for a four game stretch where we lost two close games. Then to end the season Mike Hartline got into trouble and was forced out in our loss to Pitt. Going to a bowl game was nice but the season certainly ended with downward momentum with back-to-back losses.
What could go wrong went wrong the first year and it continued in Joker’s second year. Injuries piled up to the point that we lost so many quarterbacks we had to start a wide receiver against Tennessee. The O-line which was viewed as one of the strong points going into the season was decimated by injury and a proper rotation was never established. We started three different running backs and to add insult to the injuries the receivers forgot how to catch the ball. The year ended in disappointment as we missed a bowl for the first time in six years but five wins maybe wasn’t so bad when you look at the amount of injuries and consider we lost the majority of our offense from 2010.
I just want to see the football team get a break this year. Let those last second field goals come from us or bounce off the goal post. Let our players make it through the year without having to miss a stretch due to injury. Pull off an upset against one of the top teams in the SEC.
Many Cat fans have been quick to give up hope for the coming season. Perhaps though the diminished expectations will give the Cats a better chance of lady luck smiling upon them. Certainly the Cats face a tough challenge once again with the toughest schedule in years and the worst outlook since probation. Hopefully though this will allow opponents to overlook our Cats. Perhaps though with a couple of lucky breaks and a little bit of luck the Cats will find a way to go bowling once again.