Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cal Fans Sing "Signing Day Blues"






Man, are Cal football fans screwed.

We already knew it, but check out the crappy results of Wednesday's Signing Day, when high school players pick their college teams. That just rubs it in. The two websites that rate recruiting classes, Scout.com and Rivals.com, rank Cal in the mid 40s. For a team coming off an abysmal 1-11 season, that's not where you want to be.

There are no real jewels on Cal's list of 21 recruits. There's not likely another Aaron Rodgers or Brandon Mebane or DeSean Jackson. There may be some potential but don't expect it to be developed by this coaching staff.

The problem, of course, is the head coach, Sonny Dykes. The best recruits don't want to be anywhere near him or his staff. Dykes did replace two defensive position coaches and did demote defensive coordinator Andy Buh, who presided over the worst defense in school history, surrendering 45.9 points and 529 yards of total offense per game. Unfortunately, though, Buh is still on the staff, as a position coach. Why is he still a Cal coach? What other quality school would tolerate him?. Maybe he could find work at Southeast Dakota State Methodist Teacher's College. But he shouldn't be at Cal.

But then, neither should Dykes.

With him in charge, top players avoid Cal like the plague. Sources report that the word is out in recruiting circles--stay away from Dykes if you want an illustrious college career. So how does the team get better without attracting high-caliber players? With this recruiting class, Cal will stay in the lower depths of the Pac12, down there with Colorado, Utah and Washington State.

In the last decade, when former coach Jeff Tedford was at his peak, Signing Day used to be a glorious day for Cal. The Bears' class was always in the top 25, sometimes in or around the top 10. Cal was rarely in the running for the five-star studs, from high schools east of the west coast. Those guys were mostly gobbled up by the SEC. But the Bears at least had a chance at some of the west-coast gems. Not any more. If a high-school hot-shot has a chance to go to UCLA or USC or Oregon or Stanford, and Cal comes knocking at his door, what do you think he's going to do? Likely slam the door in the Cal recruiter's face.

So, these days, Cal fans are singing "Signing Day Blues," a sorrowful tune about a day that merely emphasizes what a mess the program has become. Defense is the real problem. Dykes clearly doesn't care about it. He says all the right things about the importance of defense in his system but that's pure bull. He's strictly an offense junkie who's captivated by that idiotic notion that you can win by outscoring your opponent in those messy 48-47 shootouts, where defense is non-existent.

So, for Cal fans, Signing Day just rubs our noses in the fact that we don't have the material to climb out of the hole we're in. The Bears may win a few games, but improving over a one-win season isn't that tough. It'll look like progress and that will keep Dykes around longer, for years of two or three or four-win seasons. Not much to look forward to.

The only hope, Cal fans, is that somehow school officials will get rid of the real culprit, AD Sandy Barbour. Then a savvy AD might come in and sack Dykes and restore hope. Otherwise, year after year, Cal fans will be singing mournful chorus after mournful chorus of the dreaded "Signing Day Blues."