To the Cal Poly students and fans:
I confess – please forgive me – I had the typical reaction when I read that UW had scheduled Cal Poly for a football game. I was partially ameliorated by a great article in Thursday’s (Madison, Wis. Capital Times) sports page about your school, the high academic standards, the team and their unusual history. But still, it represented to me the one thing “wrong” with college football: a concern for money held sway over scheduling competitive games.
Boy was I wrong. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with what your team did last Saturday at Camp Randall. The Badgers are a good football team: they led Ohio State until the last minute of play, they lost on the last play of the game at Michigan State and also Michigan. If the ball had bounced their way this year you would have been playing a 9-2 team. And Wisconsin had to win this game.
Your team’s offense was so crisp, so intelligent, that – until the fourth quarter! – it was a beautiful thing to watch. The teamwork, the execution, the grit; I was actually rooting for them at the start because I (like an idiot) wanted it to at least “be a game.” Your coach, your team, though understandably disappointed, should forever remember that game as an outstanding display of college football. This game confirmed what I’ve thought before: when Division I-A teams and Division I-AA teams play, it should be done near the end of the season. At the start, both teams are just getting organized, and as such, pure size and athleticism takes over when the crispness isn’t there. But as was seen last Saturday, at the end of the season teams are more likely to be clicking on all cylinders, and teamwork and experience can overcome individual size and speed.
I was maddened at the cameramen for isolating one competitive and admirable Cal Poly player when it should have isolated every member of that offensive line, the backfield, the coaches, the entire team. You should have won that game. Congratulations to you.
You have a fan in Wisconsin. You deserve to play more I-A teams; next time, please schedule Ohio State!
Madison, Wis. resident
This letter was e-mailed to the Mustang Daily on Nov. 25.