I'm not going to lie for a second here: I was laughing when Williams shot into the endzone Saturday night. But even at the time it looked like a jackass call, and I doubt it will prove to be worth anything except for tweaking Neuheisel. And in the grand scheme of things, it is symptomatic of a season that has left me more exasperated than anything else with this program.
Put it another way, what did we get out of that touchdown? It didn't change the poor play on offense, where until the last drive the big gains looked like they came from Damian Williams and "USC bounce" on punts. It didn't change the fact that the defense was showing signs of life but racking up penalties like they were 50% off and going fast. Or, indeed, that the defense was killing the Bruins on trick plays but getting bamboozled by the basics.
What it did achieve was giving the players a chance to jump around on the sideline like they had just won the Rose Bowl in a thrilling 35 point come-from-behind effort... as opposed to having snuck in a quick dick-punch to a team they'd already consigned to a .500 record and the possibility of being bowl-eligible but eventually bowl-less.
It didn't exactly bolster any moral high ground about Harbaugh going for two, either. (At least Carroll had said, repeatedly, after the Stanford game that Stanford was free to do what they wanted and it was on SC to stop them.)
Generally speaking I try to not be a finger-wagging moralist about college football. As long as the team is staying out of trouble off the field, that's enough for me in the world of pretense and hypocrisy of college football. However, if you're going to run a team on phrases like "always compete" and "no excuses," then it seems to me that you should be able to recognize when you've just put an unnecessary touchdown on a mediocre team, and that maybe a bunch of woofing and taunting just shows that you're not that good either. Time was, just leaving the starters in the game was enough to run up the score - and in a socially sanctioned fashion.
Again, don't get me wrong: if Neuheisel wanted to extend the game, then the Bruins probably should have been paying more attention on defense. And it was the Bruins who lost their shit and charged across the field, so they get no sympathy points for getting their feelings hurt. This isn't really about the end of the game - it's a question of whether anyone even recognizes that the team fixed one problem for one game.
It didn't seem like this minor detail had escaped anyone's notice
last Saturday night who was watching the game and posting here, nor of friends of mine who were watching the game offline. I am exasperated about having to ask if any of the game's participants in Cardinal and Gold grasped that same thing, and of seeing them substitute piddly shit for actual progress.
I'm in for next week against Arizona, but I'm damned if I can work out what this team is likely to do or even is capable of doing.