The Pac-12 schedule makers started the final nail in Cal’s Week 9 coffin. USC’s offense proceeded to drive it all the home.
Behind a career night for both Ronald Jones and Sam Darnold, the Trojans jumped out to a 28-10 halftime and ultimately cruised to a 45-24 win. Both Jones and Darnold set career highs on the night, the former with 223 yards rushing and the latter five touchdown passes.
Those two players were part of an offense that rolled up a season-high 629 yards of offense. It was the schedule, though, that saw a significant amount of the focus on the game, especially in the days leading up to it and the immediate aftermath.
Cal’s last game was Friday, Oct. 21. USC’s last game? Oct. 15, meaning the Bears, on five days rest, were facing a team coming off a bye, and facing them on the road no less.
“It’s one of those deals where you go, ‘How in the world could this ever happen? How could somebody let this happen?'” head coach Sonny Dykes said in the middle of the week. “It has been a disaster, it’s been a mess. … It’s incredibly hard on our kids.”
“We looked like a tired, beat-up football team. I think it’s a travesty whoever scheduled this game. I hope the Pac-12 doesn’t do that again to any other school. It’s not right for the kids.
“Everybody talks about student-athlete welfare, but they need to put their money where their mouth is.”
Leave it to the esteemed Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News to sum up what most non-USC fans are thinking about the situation the Bears were placed in.
Hopefully this player safety issue — and that is, ultimately, what this is all about — is rectified by the Pac-12 and, as Dykes alluded, never repeated. For a conference that’s been (rightly) praised for their initiatives in the past, they certainly dropped the scheduling ball on this one.