Frank Stranzl

First off, congratulations to Matt Johnsrud, who qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships by finishing 17th at the West Regional meet over the weekend. It’s truly an accomplishment to compete at a national championship event.

Honestly, I think Matt and the entire cross-country team deserves props just for competing in their sport. I mean honestly, who runs a five mile race for fun? It’s a long way to go for just one race.

Craziness, pure craziness.

Anyways, it’s time to get to business. A couple weeks back I said the football team had to rediscover themselves and figure out how to win with freshman quarterback Matt Brennan in the lineup.

I, for one, didn’t think they had a shot at winning out and making the playoffs. I didn’t see the game at UC Davis, but the stats were disparaging to say the least. Cal Poly had a paltry 113 yards of total offense that day.

Just to compare and contrast, James Noble, the Mustangs’ starting running back, averages 117 rushing yards per game.

But here we are, two weeks later and the Mustangs are back on track for a playoff birth. A win on Saturday all but guarantees an at-large birth to the playoffs. There’s no way the selections committee can snub Cal Poly this year.

For those unaware of Cal Poly’s royal-snubbing from a year ago, here’s how the end of the season played out.

The team was off to one of the best starts in school history. Seven wins without a loss, then tragedy struck in the form of a last minute loss to rivals UC Davis at Mustang Stadium.

Stunned from seeing certain victory vanish into sudden demise, the Mustangs traveled to Eastern Washington and got their asses kicked, to put it bluntly. They lost 38-21 and watched their playoff hopes slip away.

Despite winning its remaining games by wide margins (31-0 over Northern Colorado and 58-13 at Sacramento State), Cal Poly was left out of the playoffs by the selection committee.

Seem familiar? Just like last year, the team dropped back-to-back games, putting its playoff status in limbo.

Should the Mustangs beat Idaho State on Saturday, anything less than a playoff birth would be criminal.

Even though the national polls are a joke (The No. 1 team lost to an unranked team 42-10 and has just one win against a team in the top 25.), for what it’s worth, the Mustangs have three wins against top 25 teams.

The bottom line is the Mustangs have overcome their fair share of adversity and, assuming they win on Saturday, deserve to be in the playoffs.

As the sports editor, a Cal Poly student and an athlete, I encourage all Poly students to check out the home games this weekend ” there are plenty of good ones to choose from. The wrestling team opens its season with an intra-squad meet on Thursday, the men’s and women’s basketball open the regular season on Friday and the football and volleyball teams are fighting for their playoff lives on Saturday.

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