Cal left tackle Mike Tepper didn't want a bye week — until the bye week actually happened.
The Bears played their most complete game of the season in a 34-28 win over Stanford in the Big Game on Nov. 21. Considering that came after a 24-16 victory over then-No. 18 Arizona, Cal was feeling pretty good about itself.
The last thing the Bears wanted was to put an artificial obstacle in front of that momentum — until the scars from playing six weeks in a row began to surface.
"Usually by Wednesday, stuff stops hurting, and Thursday I'm feeling pretty good," Tepper said. "But (last) Wednesday, I thought maybe the bye week wasn't such a bad thing after all. I was pretty beat up. But I really did want to keep playing. We were on a roll."
After using the bye week to heal and rest, the No. 19 Bears now have to regain their momentum as they prepare for Saturday's regular-season finale at Washington. Cal (8-3, 5-3 Pac-10) has won five of its past six and will achieve a 10-win season if it defeats the Huskies (4-7, 3-5) and wins a bowl game.
"We were feeling pretty high," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "It's something you want to keep rolling. But at the same time, we had a lot of guys dinged up. We want to get that energy back. Hopefully, we're coming back fresh now and ready to close out the season."
If Best isn't ready to return, he still could come back for a bowl game. The Bears would have at least two weeks off, and likely more, between the end of the season and the bowl game.