Internet Radio Lives

Posted by: Tony on Friday, September 12th, 2008

Here’s a plug for any college football fans with functioning ears.  Some Cal fan named “Eric” who allegedly blogs for something called the California Golden Blogs discusses Cal football on this week’s CFB Weekly internet radio show.  The show happens to be hosted by my buddy and former roommate Aaron, who despite secretly being a shameless homer for his unnamed alma mater, dispenses nothing but informed, dispassionate and unbiased journalism each week.  Frankly, I don’t know how he does it (particularly when he interviews bloggers for his team’s chief rival… I wouldn’t have it in me to make nice with a ‘furdie blogger, if such a thing actually existed).  Check it out.  And someone get some intelligence on the identity of this Eric fellow — he’s going places.

We Are All Classless

Posted by: Avinash on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Blogpoll remains the same. Come on guys, more input!

One last Washington State topic before moving onto the Terps: The so-called classlessness of Jeff Tedford. Wait, WHAT?

Even Cal fans might not remember it because they were too busy getting plastered over treesitter hysteria and other assorted madness. Let’s let CougCenter revisit this seeming non-starter.

Jeff Tedford is a no-class loser swell guy who enjoys flowers and rainbows, who went for it on fourth down and goal, up 52-3.

Not a big deal. They harp on it once after the game, they’re angry, we all move on, right? Probably just saracastic in the face of a total evisceration.

Well, same article:

Jeff Tedford: Going for it on fourth and goal up 52-7 is the football equivalent of shoving a 10 year old kid out of the way while trying to catch a foul ball at a MLB game. I’ll say it again: classless.

Sigh. What? Okay. Let’s look at the situation.

But perhaps these observations are not satisfactory to Grady. So let’s take a look at the argument he makes.

“the football equivalent of shoving a 10 year old kid out of the way while trying to catch a foul ball at a MLB game.”

Ah, the kids. Don’t you love when writers bring up the kids?

Grady’s argument is flawed. A ten year old boy will never get over this disappointment and will manifest that self-loathing at rage against the system. That is why said ten year old boy will grow up to bag groceries at your local supermarket while consolidating his Stock-X playlist on his Zune. But a Washington State team cannot be terribly disappointed between 59-3 and 66-3, since it still looks lousy to everyone and anyone. And they have Baylor coming up, so they can choose to wallow in existential self-pity about a meaningless touchdown they should have stopped, or choose to look even worse by…losing to Baylor. The scoreboard resets.

And in the long run, these kind of results do matter. For all the wracking about the score, since the broadcast was only locally televised, only a few voters in the AP and Coaches Polls were actually be able to watch the game. If this were the NFL, I might agree that ten knees would be necessary–the only thing that matters is the win and the next game. In college though, style matters–just as a team must beat the strong, they have to rout the weak. When the final votes are tallied, the only thing most coaches will look at are the box scores. 66-3 looks pretty nice, doesn’t it?

Every game counts, and every point matters, even the meaningless ones. Tedford remembers four years ago and he sure does remember last year. There is no such thing as safe. Be bold and ruthless. The message should be clear to the weaker opponents Cal faces this year: If you want us to stop scoring, stop us.

Did you think Jeff Tedford made the right decision for going for it in this situation?

PS: I don’t really have a problem with the PA announcer. The comments he made were pretty funny.

Requiem for a Tree Sit

Posted by: Tony on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Too much ink has already been spilled on a fiasco that is, finally, mercifully, over.  But I did want to offer a final thought on the erstwhile occupation of the trees.  Although the protesters squatted in the trees for nearly two years, their presence was completely inconsequential for all but five days.  Until last Thursday, the University, in deference to the rule of law and the injunctions that were in place, voluntarily restrained itself from cutting down a single tree.  The protestors’ flaunting of the rule of law didn’t matter one bit because the University wasn’t going to act until the lawsuit was resolved anyway.

And then Thursday’s ruling arrived.  And what did the protesters do?  At the precise moment when their protest could finally be consequential, they caved.  Less than twenty-four hours after the appellate decision, the grove was gone, and the protesters were relegated to a single dying redwood.  And yesterday, the protesters gave up even that last shred of purpose by voluntarily descending without resistance

So what was the point of all this.  Twenty months in a tree when it didn’t matter; five days in the tree when it does?  I’d hope this would inspire some self-reflection on the part of the Berkeley protest community and reevaluation of both goals and tactics (though years of observation leave me cynical on that point).  In the meantime, the rest of us can at least revel in the new page the University community has turned today.  May these developments improve the greatest university on the face of the planet.  Go Bears!

Who Had The Better Week 1, Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre?

Posted by: Avinash on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

You are likely to hear these two names mentioned in the same sentence a lot this season: Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. There is really no way around it for Rodgers, the unproven new Packer starter, who is going to be under the public microscope for the entire season as his stat-lines are compared to Favre, both good and bad. There’s no way around it for Favre, who will be looking over his shoulder in Green Bay to see how much his former team misses him. There’s certainly no way around it for Tony Kornheiser, who highlighted the importance of Rodgers escaping Favre’s shadow, yet didn’t hesitate to use Favre’s name from beginning to end of last night’s telecast.


Rodgers, Cal’s Golden Boy, led the Packers to an impressive 24-19 victory that was more decisive than it looked. Despite bad offensive-line penalties that called back multiple huge plays for the Packers, including a Rodgers’s TD pass, Green Bay still held on thanks to the firm play of their new quarterback. His touchdown throw was an impressive show of quarterback intelligence, managing to find the fourth option in the back of the end zone before hitting the ground. He threw the ball away and didn’t force mistakes, and he also showed good scrambling ability out of the pocket that flummoxed the Viking’s run defense.

His quarterback sneak was hugely symbolic, as he managed to drive it in for the decisive score and get his first Lambeau Leap, allowing wary Packers fans to embrace him for the first time. The Vikings still have a long ways to go in terms of passer defense, so it wasn’t exactly an elite secondary he was beating up on. Considering his stats and the circumstances though, you have to grade him an A for all the pressure and expectations that were heaped on him from the opening snap.

Final stats: 18-22, 178 yards, 1 TD, 8 carries, 35 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD

Meanwhile, Brett Favre had an impressive performance, maintaining his usual gunslinging mentality that might get him and the improved Jets back into the playoffs. He had one impressive playfake, another huge bomb that somehow a Jet receiver nailed down, and for the most part let the game to him and only committed an early fumble. Although not as polished as Rodgers’s performance, it showed that for the most part, Favre didn’t show any real off season training camp rust and would not be a total disaster for the New York media. Considering the glare of the spotlight he’s in now, Favre did not back down.

The caveat is that it was against a Miami team that nearly put up a bagel last season. Nevertheless, for a road game, it was an auspicious performance. With the injury to Brady, it is not out of the realm of possibility to see the Jets get back to the top of the AFC East, and Favre will play a huge part in that.

Final stats: 15-22, 194 yds, 2 TD

Despite the Favrellatio from the sports media pundits, I’m rooting for both of these quarterbacks to have great seasons, since it’s always fun to have Brett Favre and Green Bay in the playoffs in January. Only this time they won’t be on the same sideline. And since these two will always be compared against each other, the obvious question remains:

Who had the better season debut, Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre?

The Pac-10 Report: Week 2

Posted by: Avinash on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Note: Hippies in trees being removed by the Stairway to Heaven. Confused? Click here. Maybe the feed will go up again.

This segment allows Cal fans to check in with reports around the blogosphere from various Pac-10 teams and Cal opponents. Let’s start with the Trojans and their tilt with Ohio State.

USC

Conquest Chronicles: [USC has] always had problems defending the spread and dealing with mobile QB’s but that is not what we run so tOSU will be able to play a more standard defensive scheme against SC. If they get some pressure look for a lot of dump passes out of the backfield to Havili or McKnight. Outside of the O line the key players to watch will C.J. Gable for his blocking abilities, Anthony McCoy to stick with his blocking assignments yet still be available for a quick dump pass or neutralizing the LB to give the running back some room to break through and of course Mark Sanchez to see if he maintains his composure and how his knee holds up.

Oregon

Ducks Attack: Everything about the Oregon running backs was great, well, outside of Jeremiah Johnson’s shoulder injury. The group picked up as an entire unit 312 net yards rushing and four touchdowns. Blount got the most of the work as he ran the ball 18 times for a 132 yards and churned out 7.3 yards a carry for two of the four touchdowns by RBs. Crenshaw and Remene Alston also added 72 and 71 respectively and both did it in surprising fashion. Both produced long runs and also showed they too can provide the power. Very impressed by Alston who showed great poise and great vision. Has surprising speed for a back that’s 200 pounds and 5?8 at the most. If Alston is ever forced into a bigger role this year I’d be comfortable with him in the game. Can’t remember a time when the Ducks have been so deep at running back.

Cal

Bears with Fangs: There’s really no other way to say it, Cal’s passing game is still a work in progress. After an efficient performance against MSU opening weekend, Kevin struggled in connecting with his receivers against Washington State. It may have been a combination of imprecise route running, or a Riley putting a bit too much on his passes, but Cal missed out many opportunities in the passing game. It looked as though Riley was constantly overshooting wide open receivers. Riley finished the game 6-14 passing for only 51 yards, and a TD. Riley has yet to throw an interception so far this season, but I don’t think anyone is too pleased with only 51 yards through the air from their starting QB.

Arizona State

House of Sparky: Rudy Carpenter! – Another great game for Rudy. 75% completion, alomost 350 yards passing, 3 TDs. That one interception was not so hot, and he did lose a fumble, but Carpenter is showing how the passing game is going to be one of our biggest strengths this year. He has now thrown for a school record 733 yards in the first two games. The O-line needs some major work before the Georgia game.  Stanford was able to put quite a bit of pressure on Rudy throughout the game, sacked him twice, forced him to hurry his throws a few times, and hit him a lot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cal-MSU and Cal-Wazzu Torrents and Highlights

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, September 8th, 2008

Cal 38, MSU 31
Torrent hereHighlights here.

[vimeo 1651551]

Cal 66, Wazzu 3
Torrent here. Highlights here, here, here, here.

Week 2 Preliminary Blogpoll

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, September 8th, 2008
Rank Team Delta
1 Florida 1
2 Oklahoma 2
3 Georgia 4
4 Southern Cal 1
5 Ohio State 4
6 Texas
7 LSU 2
8 Missouri
9 Penn State 2
10 Oregon
11 Auburn 2
12 Texas Tech
13 South Florida 4
14 East Carolina 12
15 Wake Forest 6
16 Utah 3
17 California 3
18 Alabama 3
19 Arizona State 4
20 Brigham Young 6
21 Mississippi 3
22 Kansas 2
23 Wisconsin 2
24 Vanderbilt 2
25 Illinois 1
Dropped Out: West Virginia (#9), South Carolina (#16), Clemson (#22).

I think it’d be wise for readers to read my blogpoll so I don’t make crucial errors like South Carolina at #16 again (Brian Cook be a wise man, he be).  Again, here are the biggest issues one could raise about this ballot at first glance.

Florida at #1? They sucked for three quarters. As I pointed out before the season, Miami was a talented team, having them ranked in the preseason blogpoll. Until the fourth quarter, when experienced talent beat youthful talent, Miami matched Florida notch for notch.

However, the Hurricanes never really threatened to take the lead–they got into Gator territory once after their scoring drive, and they only reached the 49 before punting. It was a solid gutcheck for the Gator faithful before entering conference play, and they fared reasonably well.

USC and LSU dropped for having a week off? What are you stupid? I never understand pollsters who just leave a team at a spot for having the week off. They didn’t do anything, so they should just stay where they are? Other teams at their talent level played strong football. Georgia erased their sluggish first week performance by destroying MAC contender Central Michigan, and Oklahoma rolled against a decent Cincinnati squad. No one’s giving them gold medals, but it’s better than existental wanderings.

South Florida barely held on against Central Florida and they jump five spots. You are full of crap. You could make a case UCF is just as–if not more–talented as Miami and Florida State these days, and they’ve been looking to even up the I-4 rivalry for quite some time, especially in their new dig. South Florida wasn’t at their best, but the Golden Knights are better than most people think.

Utah at 16. Haha, good one. Yes, their Big House win was nothing extraordinary, but they took care of the business against a strong Michigan defensive front. Down 14-7 against a solid UNLV team, they rolled off 35 straight points and took away any doubt who was the stronger team. 7.2 yards per play is a maddening total to combat.

Nits and picks…Ohio State falls four spots as one would expect, but Tressel has a history of pulling these shenanigans before big games, so the USC matchup isn’t any less compelling…likewise, East Carolina leaps all the way up after their domination of two ranked teams; of all the teams in the blogpoll they have been the most impressive; more than BYU they appear to be the BCS mid-major spoiler…speaking of which, BYU appears to be the Hawaii of 2008 after a slugfest with bottom-dweller Washington in which they should have been taken into overtime. They might very well go undefeated if they get past UCLA and Utah, but if they qualify for the BCS they better be lined up with some ACC team…Wake Forest gets massive props for edging the sixth/seventh best team in the SEC, an Ole Miss squad that is on its way up (and actually stays in the top 25 on my poll after that spirited effort)…

Clemson, in addition to their pounding, was granted an off week, which is unacceptable and is punishable by expulsion from my blogpoll (take that Bowdenites!)…Nevada hung around with Texas Tech, but ultimately killed themselves in the end. It’s a worrisome sign for the Red Raiders that they played so sloppily and are expected to contend for a Big 12 title…Oregon and Texas laid the smack-down on crappy teams and stayed where they are…Arizona State turns in their usual performance (Stanford goes up early, then they get stuffed for two and a half quarters) and puts a halt to the Legend of Toby Gerhart…Kansas and Wisconsin jump up, almost by default…and Vanderbilt gets an honorable mention, and a chance to stay there when they play Rice this week.

As for Cal, they’re knocking on the top 15, although I’m not quite ready to put them there yet. Another “Oski SMASH!” at College Park would get us there.

If you guys see anything wrong with these rankings, leave your thoughts about them in the comments.

Here’s the preseason and Week 1 blogpolls for your consumption, if you’d like to compare.

For a Little Perspective

Posted by: Tony on Sunday, September 7th, 2008

While we digest the good, great and not so great from yesterday’s game, here’s a little something to reflect on.  I went back into the record books to answer a few questions I had.  When was the last time Cal beat a conference opponent, on the road, by at least 63 points?  Answer:  Never.  When was the last time Cal beat a conference opponent by 63 points period?  Answer:  Only happened once — beat Stanfurd 67-0 in Berkeley.  BUT, according to the good people at wikipedia, the 1918 Big Game was an unofficial match between the Studen Army Training Corps (must have been some Great historical event going on or something).  So, technically speaking, this is unprecedented.

Ponder that for a moment.  The Wonder Teams.  The Thunder Teams.  Pappy’s Boys.  None of them accomplished what the Bears accomplished yesterday…

Cal – Washington State Report Card

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Every week the Golden Bears play a game, I write up a report card. You can click to read the extensive Michigan State one from last week. Here are the final grades from that 66-3 smashing.

Quarterbacks: Nate Longshore clearly inserted himself back into the quarterback competition with a strong second half performance, completing 7 of 8 for 52 yards and leading the Bears on their two most impressive offensive drives. With Kevin Riley struggling with command and precision all game long, hopefully Jeff Tedford will realize the importance of reviving the open competition and allow Nate the opportunity to regain his starting position.

Haha. Made ya look.

Anyway, although Riley was airmailing his passes to Spokane the entire afternoon he really didn’t commit any blatant errors outside of fumbling that ball when he was scampering on his second run. The Bears were up huge, so Riley was pretty much practicing his deep routes the rest of the game. It didn’t really matter if he completed them–it would’ve been nice, but the Bears were playing with house money  most of the game.

Either the receivers couldn’t catch it or Kevin sailed the ball, but with the exception of one or two throws neither was in position to be intercepted. This kept the defense from solely defending the run by having to contend against Riley’s deep ball capabilities, even though he couldn’t complete any today. The potential remains there for future games.

Anyway, you know it’s been a fantastic day when Brock Mansion gets a full fourth quarter of reps.

Grade: B

Running backs: Jahvid Best first touchdown run netted more rushing yards than Washington State would accumulate all game. Shane Vereen had a modest 81 yards and just kept on pounding it to the corners.  Our redshirt freshman backup fullback averaged over seven yards per carry. Riley scampered for a 27 yard touchdown on what appeared to be a broken handoff. Mansion plunged in from the one to cap off the scoring.

Our biggest drawback the entire game was that Tracy Slocum looked too slow in the 4th quarter. And even he scored.

Grade: A+

Wide receivers: You wonder when Nyan Boateng said Nate Longshore was his guy, he really meant that Nate was the only one who could catch any of his balls. Boateng hauled in all four catches Longshore threw to him. That’s pretty much all the insight I have this time around; it was a disjointed game for the receivers, who often had no chance to make the plays on the deep routes Riley ran but were perfectly adequate in the mid-range area.

Welcome, Michael Calvin. Hopefully we’ll get to know each other over these next few weeks.

Grade: B-

Run blocking: A few good blocks set up the three long touchdown runs by Vereen and Best, netting over 200 yards. Even outside of those three carries Cal accumulated around five rushing yards per carry. The loss of Ahmu certainly hurt a beleaguered Cougar squad, as Cal focused on the weak side and just pounded it all game long.

Grade: A

Pass protection: The Bears didn’t give up any sacks, although there was quite a bit of pressure on Riley in that stretch of the second quarter he was throwing. Then again Kevin was holding onto the ball perhaps a little more than he should have. There were two roughing the passer fouls too, probably attesting to Wazzu’s frustration of playing thirty more minutes of meaningless football. They looked fairly listless after falling down 28-3 on both sides of the ball.

Grade: B

After the jump, grades are provided for special teams, defensive elements and coaching.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cal – Washington State Liveblog

Posted by: Avinash on Saturday, September 6th, 2008

This won’t be activated until about half an hour before the game, but if you have any comments about any of the CFB action this week or your feelings about today’s game, save them until around 6 PST/3 PST and post them in the pregame run-up. BearswithFangs will be joining me today and the liveblog should be running on his site too, so if you experience errors with either of our sites you can try out the other for a second option. Both of us will try to answer your questions in a coherent and intelligent manner. And by coherent and intelligent, I mean sentences with at least two words in them.

If you have viewing problems, click here and it should pop up for you. Seeya on the other side.