Decision 2008 - my choice

Wow, what a competition, huh?
On the one hand we have the seasoned veteran. We all thought he was out of this thing, yet he's been surging lately. He's experienced, battle-tested. We know his ups and we know his downs, because he's been doing this long enough to have been thoroughly scrutinized. In fact, he's been at this longer than most anyone vying for the position. In some ways he's extremely difficult NOT to like: all-American values, self-sacrifice for the cause, that charmingly goofy grin... And yet, for someone so well-known he's strangely unpredictable. He has a way of rankling those on his own side. He sometimes pleases his opponents more than his supporters - something many of his supporters don't easily forget.
And then there's the other guy... the new kid. He's young, almost dashing you might say (certainly compared to his opponent). He's charismatic, with an infectious fire in his belly, a boundless energy, and (as Al Gore might put it) a certain "gravitas." Many look at him and can't help thinking that he's one of those rare, gifted leaders who just has that "it" factor: the intangible, natural, and rare gift for getting it done that outweighs his rather glaring lack of experience. Of course, there is that experience problem: we hardly know the guy. He's barely had a chance to do anything of significance, and his opponents are all too quick to question whether we should hand the "scepter" of responsibility to one about whom we know so little. After all, it looked like he had this thing all sewn up, but suddenly we have a neck-and-neck race again. And in the end the job is not about charisma or gravitas - it's about results.
And that, my friends, is the choice before us. It's a choice that's splitting our unified masses almost right down the middle. Arguments rage, tempers flare, blogs overheat and the news outlets won't let the competition go. But it will be over soon - it must be. For soon, the choice will be made.
Many people are interested in my personal choice, and I'm going to reveal it here. I've kept my cards close to the vest for months now, but with the Fall season getting underway in earnest it's time to endorse my candidate openly. So, in 2008, my vote goes to...

...Kevin Riley for Cal's starting quarterback. Sure he's young, inexperienced (as he showed today in Cal's 42-7 beatdown of Colorado State), and prone to bonehead mistakes. But he's not the only one: our receivers are young too, and the more Riley gets to work with them the brighter football is going to look in Strawberry Canyon for years to come.

Sophomore quarterback Kevin Riley

This has been a very difficult choice. Veteran 5th-year Senior Nate Longshore has led the Bears to many impressive wins over his long career, including 2007's heart-stopping last-second victory over Dennis Dixon's Ducks in Eugene (which netted me a free lunch at Newport Bay, courtesy of rabid Duck guy Scott Stuart). Longshore runs the offense with poise - but his penchant for forcing the ball in late-game situations has cost us too many wins over the years.

Senior quarterback Nate Longshore

Truth be told, in a wild Pac-10 this season my beloved Golden Bears (who currently stand at 1-0 in the conference, 3-1 overall) can finish anywhere from Rose Bowl glory to 6th-place doldrums. Reality will likely be somewhere in between. But I'm not sure we have a noticeably stronger chance of victory with Nate at the controls than Kevin, so in that case my vote is for the future: Kevin Riley for starting QB!

Of course this particular decision rests on the shoulders of a very small electorate: 1 voter, to be precise. And the man who holds that all-important vote will spend a lot of time in the film room before Arizona State rolls into Berkeley next Saturday. So coach Tedford: put in the work, and then go with your gut.

Cal coach Jeff "The Electorate" Tedford

And no matter who lines up under center on Saturday, may Oski have cause to dance deliriously, may the cannon on Tightwad Hill melt from overuse, and may Dennis Erickson return to Tempe with an even whiter head of hair than he has now.



Ken said...

I believe the language that best describes my response best would be Yiddish. "Oy vey." LOL.

I love college football, I just don't have a team. I went to a small Jesuit school in Buffalo. Basketball was our main sport. Growing up, I was all about Syracuse football, then it was Michigan. Even though I live in Vegas, given UNLV's lack of consistency I just couldn't get into it.

That being said, being a Bills fan, I know a few things about QB controversies. After the end of the Jim Kelly era, we had Doug Flutie vs. Rob Johnson then it was a brief Bledsoe vs. Losman and finally last year, Losman vs. our current starter Stanford product Trent Edwards.

Anyway, I think Cal has a good chance to do well this year, especially after USC failed to show up in Corvallis. Given that UCLA is still adjusting to Rick Neuheisel and Ty Willingham is already updating his resume, I can totally see Cal making it to a bowl game. And hey, if they make it to the Las Vegas Bowl, you've got a place to crash.

Jerry Casper said...

Outstanding! The best laugh I've had in days.

Tim KC6QLV said...

i was think You were talking about Macain and Obama, YOU had me fooled Good JOB!!!
YEs Riley Is the man.

Tim :)

Matt Guerino said...

Thanks men! As I've watched the Cal fanbase polarize and agonize over which QB should be played, the parallels were too clsoe to pass up. :)

And Ken, didn't UNLV paste Arizona State a couple weeks ago? Cal may well end up in the Vegas Bowl this year, and if a trip is ion the offing for me I'll be sure to look you up.

Ken said...

Paste is a strong word for a game that took double overtime to win, but yes. The Runnin' Rebels did shock then-15th ranked ASU in Tempe. And by all means, if they are in the Vegas Bowl, come on down!

Matt Guerino said...

Well, "The Electorate" made his decision, and if football is any predictor of politics then John McCain will be our next president: Tedford went with veteran QB Nate Longshore, who thankfully played fairly well in our 24-14 victory over ASU today. I'd still like to see him find a way to use Kevin Riley more, and I'm a bit surprised that Riley seems to have flat-out lost the starting job. But a win's a win, and I'll take it!

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