Cal football fans may want to declare a temporary rivalry truce because Stanford football coach David Shaw has come to the defense of the college game throughout the Golden State.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellinger, Shaw said recent headlines suggesting that college football in California is in peril — any more so than anywhere, at least — because of the coronavirus pandemic are off target.

“There’s a lot of gamesmanship that happens in the college football world that is very pointed at us out here on the West Coast, that we don’t love football, that we don’t play real football, how if we don’t do what the SEC is doing in the way the SEC is doing it, then we’re wrong,” Shaw said.

“The fact that we didn’t operate the same way as a state that is one-third the size of California, doesn’t mean that we don’t take this thing very seriously.”

Shaw, the dean of Pac-12 coaches, said every time he heard a national media voice characterize the state’s situation he became more frustrated.

“It was hard turning on the TV and watching some sports experts—I’m using air quotes—really say that ‘We don’t know if they’re going to play football over there and maybe all those players should transfer and hopefully this one-time transfer rule goes through!’ “ Shaw said. “We took a lot of shots, and some very prominent people on some very big networks took some shots, but I’m used to it.”

Things started to look up this week when the Pac-12 Conference announced that athletes could return to campus for voluntary workouts on June 15.

Here’s some of what Dellinger wrote:

Those in California are hitting back: Their demise was greatly exaggerated. They’re playing football, at least they plan to play football like everyone else. They’ve planned on it all along. Despite conjecture to the contrary, America’s most populous state is on the path for an on-time kickoff.

That’s not to say that Cal — or any of its in-state conference brethren — will necessarily adhere to that start date. We don't have answers to most things yet. There is not timetable for fall practice or confirmation that the schedule will remain intact. 

But clearly things are moving in a direction that suggests we may have football.

“I think June 15 is optimistic for a lot of us on the West Coast, not impossible but optimistic,” Shaw said. “As long as we’re back in at some point during the month of July, we won’t be far behind.”

Here is Dellinger’s full story.

Stay tuned. This isn’t over. But the trend is encouraging. For now, anyway.