Cal fans, please come to the games

Clinging to a first-place lead in the Pac-10 and on the verge of capturing its first conference championship in a half-century, Cal is going to be playing in big games this week starting tonight against Arizona.

Just in case Bears fans didn't get the memo, coach Mike Montgomery sent out a letter to them on the team's Web site, listing the reasons why they should show up and even presenting alternatives if they can't:

We need every seat in Haas Pavilion to be full for these two games. If you have tickets for the game, we need you to use them. If you don't have tickets for the game, I encourage you to purchase yours today at CalBears.com. If you have tickets, but are unable to use them, I ask that you pass them off to someone who can be there.

Come on, Cal fans. It's not like Haas Pavilion is hosting the Republican National Convention or something, and Monty is starting to sound like StubHub trying to get you to come out and support.

As Oakland Tribune columnist Monte Poole notes, the building hasn't been sold out once all year. He too lists some reasons to possibly explain it, including a bad year for the Pac-10, some bad losses that took away the team's momentum, and the lack of a homegrown star.

It probably doesn't help Cal that fan favorite Max Zhang is out for Thursday's game with a collapsed lung on Asian Heritage Night with tickets being discounted and rally towels with "Go Bears" written in Mandarin on them are being given away.

But the mere thought of a championship banner and image of cutting the nets down should be enough motivation.