24 September 2007

Dennis Dodd can't count

"We'll have, at best, only one undefeated team in the SEC this season".

That's how Dodd starts his September 23rd column, titled, Family feuds might cost SEC in national picture.

What the hell kind of a conference would ever have more than two undefeated teams in it? How do you decide who wins the conference? And even if there are two undefeated teams in the SEC come the first weekend in December, wouldn't one of them end up losing on that day anyway?

At least in the Pac-10, we play a round-robin so a team has to prove itself against every single other team in the conference. We don't expect undefeated teams, because we know how tough the Pac-10 is.

The comments to the column (bar the first one from an SEC fan, who later apologizes for not knowing anything about football outside the SEC) are pretty intelligent, though, because Everyone agrees that Dennis Dodd can't count.

23 September 2007

Cal-Tennessee film study, Arizona value-added

The California Golden Blogs posted film study of the offensive genius that is Jeff Tedford last week.

On Saturday, we show Arizona the same formation and run yet another play. This time, the bunch is on the right, a split end (I couldn't see who it was at the time) is on the weak side, and Morrah is in on the strong side.

This time, Morrah doesn't move.

On the three plays Hydrotech posted about, Morrah shifts over to the weak side before the snap. On Saturday, Morrah didn't shift, and the play was a pitch to Forsett to the overloaded strong side. (We got whistled for a falst start, so the play didn't actually go anywhere.)

That's four different plays that Tedford has run out of the same formation. The man really is a genius.

And now, I'm going to have to start really paying attention to see how many more plays he's got from that same formation.

22 September 2007

Bears win, play awful.

No, 38-35 was not the score of our game, that's the score of the Syracuse-Louisville game. See, Syracuse sucks -- 0-3, 5-21 over the last three+ years -- and Louisville is supposed to be pretty good -- 2006 Big East champions and also a winner in the Orange Bowl last year. The game was played at Louisville. And that score? Louisville was on the wrong side of it.

I guess Louisville is starting to realize you're supposed to play defense in this game, too.

In our game, the halftime show was ska.

Yes, our game was once again boring, although we kind of let them score a lot more than I would have liked: final, 45-27. (At the end of the first quarter, the score was 28-3.)

Tuitama was 42-61 for 309 yards. Sixty-one pass attempts. They also ran 20 times. That's 81 plays in a single game. The first quarter alone took 55 minutes. It was a long game.

In other news, the 2006 National Champion California Men's Water Polo team has some guys who can catch, too:
Cal's #2 Robert Jordan stretches for a Nate Longshore pass in the second quarter
(Jordan was well out of bounds on that catch; Best scored the TD three plays later.)

19 September 2007

Weis, Demetrius Jones, and transferring

Kevin Riley (second year freshman) beat out Kyle Reed (third year sophomore) for the #2 spot on the Cal QB depth chart a few weeks ago (behind third-year junior Nate Longshore); Reed took a few days to think about it, and then he transfered to San Jose State. Because San Jose State started classes almost three weeks after Cal, Reed had the luxury of transferring and sitting out this year to put himself in position to compete for the starting position at San Jose State next year.

At Notre Dame, Demetrius Jones took the first few snaps for the Irish against Georgia Tech three weeks ago, and then was summarily displaced, first by Evan Sharpley, and then, as everyone expected, by all-everything recruit (and true freshman) Jimmy Clausen. Jones, doing what Reed had done a few weeks earlier, decided to transfer, this time to Northern Illinois. DeKalb is a lot closer to Jones' hometown of Chicago than South Bend, and the second-year player will probably be immediately in the mix to start for the Huskies next year.

However, while Jeff Tedford gave Kyle Reed his immediate release, and wished him the best of luck with the Spartans, Charlie Weis has refused to grant Demetrius Jones a release from his scholarship. Jones is still on the books at Notre Dame, and cannot receive a scholarship from Northern Illinois until next year, even though he has withdrawn from school at Notre Dame and is attending class at Northern Illinois.

(I'll ignore whether transferring like this is a good idea. I think it's stupid. But I never played scholarship football.)

Jones' transfer was poorly planned; he left Notre Dame without talking to his coach, and he evidently enrolled at Northern Illinois without talking to their coach. But the Notre Dame Athletic department's response is horrifying.

What possible good can it do to keep Jones tied to his Notre Dame scholarship? The move is purely spiteful, a way to force Jones to pay for his own tuition at NIU for this year, to punish him for leaving. However, this also means that Notre Dame is using a scholarship on a player who is no longer on the team -- they're hurting themselves, spending 85 scholarships on 84 players. And Notre Dame really can't afford to keep shooting themselves in the foot this year.

Michael Rothstein, with the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette, also points to the longterm effects on recruiting out of Chicago, which Notre Dame and other midwestern schools depend on.

But in the short term, this is yet another way for big-time sports to hurt teenage kids (Jones doesn't turn 20 until next spring). Regardless of whether Jones' decision was a smart one, or whether his approach was the best way of going about things -- and he has admitted that perhaps he made mistakes in how he went about transferring -- Notre Dame's actions are clearly stupid, short-sighted, and mean-spirited.

17 September 2007

The New York Times has no clue what it is talking about

So I thought it was bad when the Times was supporting the march to war in 2002-2003, unthinkingly parroting the Bush administration's line.

Now I find out they're all on crack.
Six teams have emerged that could conceivably win the national title. And behind them, there is apparently a large gap to second-tier teams, which are beating one another to perpetuate the illusion of parity.

Four of those six top teams — Southern California, Louisiana State, Oklahoma and Florida — have better chances than the other two — California and West Virginia. But these six teams are so far ahead of the pack that any notion that the championship race is wide open is laughable.
Yes, I know the Times knows nothing about sports, and particularly nothing about college football, but this is crazy talk.

15 September 2007

We must be good, because we played like shit.

First things first: at the halftime show, the band played 80s music, and one of the songs was Soft Cell's version of Tainted Love: CAL BAND GREAT!

Second things second: the refs were awful, but that might have been because one of the snare drums was carrying a tub of gatorade on her drum and tossed it aside as she ran out of the tunnel for the pregame -- right onto the referee. He was pissed.

Third: Justin Forsett is awesome. I'll try to find footage of his 39-yard TD, one of three he scored on the day. Until then, a picture.

Fourth: we played like shit (on offense, Norris Malele has three false start penalties, Longshore threw a pick in the endzone, and nobody could catch anything; on defense -- well, actually, we played pretty well on defense), and we still won 42-12. Also, Hawkins ran back the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

But mostly, Tainted Love! The Soft Cell version! Played by a marching band! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

14 September 2007

Nate Longshore's blog

He says,
I have wanted to do this for a while now and have just finally got around to it. There are no editors, no media relations, no "supervisors", just me and some guest bloggers leaving our story of what's happening. Sometimes writers and newscasters just don't get the real story, so this will be an interesting opportunity to experience it directly from the athletes themselves.
It certainly will be an interesting experiment, for a player as high-profile as Longshore to introduce their own take on what it's really like to be a student-athlete.

11 September 2007

Governors and Coaches

The Kansas City Star compiled information on the salary for state governors and for coaches of the state university systems. For most states, there is no contest: the coaches win hands down. For example, in Alabama Governor Bob Riley makes $113,000 a year; Nick Saban makes $4 million. Most states pay their governors ~$115,000 and their highest paid coaches ~$1 million.

Even states that don't have high-powered football teams pay their coaches better than their governors: in Delaware, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner makes $133,000 while Delaware State's head football coach Al Lavan makes $200,000. In Maine, Gov. John Baldacci makes $70,000, but Jack Cosgrove at Maine makes $135,000.

The closest salaries are in North Dakota (Gov. John Hoeven, $92,000; ND St. head coach Craig Bohl, $124,000) and South Dakota (Gov. Mike Rounds, $106,000; SD St. head coach John Stiegelmeier, $115,000).

Vermont and Alaska are special: they have no state-funded football teams. Even so, Vermont pays Vermont basketball coach Mike Lonergan $150,000 and Gov. Jim Douglas $144,000. As for Alaska?

Alaska is the only state that pays its governor more than any sports coach in the state: Gov. Sarah Palinmakes $125,000, while Alaska-Anchorage ice hockey head coach Dave Shyiak makes only $112,000.

08 September 2007

Not so good, not so bad.

It was 34-14 with 4 minutes left to go, and then suddenly it was 34-28 with 3 minutes left to go. NOT FUN.

In other news, Jackson scored on a 73 yard end-around, Best scored on the 64 yard pitch, and Montgomery (our technical second string RB, a redshirt freshman) scored from five yards out.

Forsett over the top for a TD in the second quarter

06 September 2007

"I'd definitely be smart"

DeSean Jackson: "I'd definitely be smart," he said. "I'd have the right coverages to contain me."

And yet he does not explain what the strategy would be to contain him. I wonder what it might look like?

05 September 2007

Michigan has a great fight song

Appalachian State has a sense of humor

04 September 2007

So the banner was stupid, but the writer is kind of funny

The choicest bits:
6. The roughest thing about college football season on the West Coast? The taunting text messages I start receiving at 6 a.m. from people in earlier time zones. My phone is just far enough from the bed that I don't want to get up and turn it completely off. Worst of all, many of the messages are about Tim Tebow. Then at 7:45 a.m., my law school friend Torry, a Berkeley grad, calls to talk trash. Torry spent three years defending Pac-10 football with every fiber of his being. "We're going to beat you," he says, "and then I'm going to remind you how much more fun stuff there is to do in California than just football." I tell him about my banner and how it's going to intimidate him so much, he's not going to want to enter the stadium.

8. Because the Bay Bridge is closed, I take the BART train over to Berkeley. The BART is filled with Vols fans. I end up sitting next to an Asian 20-something for a 30-minute ride under the bay. He tells me that he goes to Cal-Berkeley when I ask how long the ride is. This is our entire conversation after that: Asian man: "Why are you going to Berkeley?" Me: "For a football game." Asian man: "Oh, there's a game today?" Me: "Yeah." Asian man: "Are you rooting for Cal?" Evidently I am not wearing enough orange. My dad is going to be so disappointed.

9. More UT fans swarm the train and immediately start talking about earthquakes as we prepare to go underneath the Bay and emerge in Oakland, "What we need to do for the next 10 minutes is pray for no earthquakes," everyone around this man nervously laughs. My Asian seatmate is unfazed by our imminent death by drowning after the earthquake, "You came all the way from Tennessee for a football game?" he asks.

18. I sit down beside the bear statute for a while and meet two older Berkeley alums who are passing away the pre-game hours by reading the New Yorker. "We used to come here when you could walk in and have your own section of the stadium all to yourself," the wife says. "That was before Tedford," says the husband. Last year, Cal shared a Pac-10 title for the first time since 1975. Cal has not won a Pac-10 title outright since 1958. So it's hard to exaggerate what Tedford has meant to the program.

27. I ask Mohamed what he considers Cal's strongest selling points to be. "Education and diversity," he says. "Go to the parking lot at USC, all the kids have nicer cars than you or I do. They call it the University for Spoiled Children; it's a private school. Here we bring kids from all over the place and show them a new environment ... we don't isolate our athletes either. Freshman year, two athletes room with two regular students in the dorms and they see what college is all about. Our athletic director, Sandy Barber, has a slogan, and it's not a complete sentence, but it makes sense, 'Athletics done right.'"

We won! 45-31, and it was sweet.

"DeSean Jackson returned his sixth career punt for a touchdown (12:23 in the second quarter) on his 27th career punt return (it was a 77-yard return) ... Jackson now has six (6) punt returns for touchdowns on 27 returns ... NCAA record-holders Wes Welker (Texas Tech) had eight (8) on 152 returns, and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma) had eight (8) on 113 returns."

Ivan Maisel said, "Tennessee must be the last team in the nation to find out it's foolish to punt to Jackson."

And we also scored 38 other points.

Last year at Neyland, toward the end of the game the Tennessee fans started chanting "SEC." So this year at Memorial, once the game was in hand, some Cal fans started chanting "Pac-10 Football," and the players went wild. They loved it.

And of course we wore the yellow jerseys, which still look awful in the daylight and fantastic under lights.

Justin Forsett chased by Tennessee linebacker Rico McCoy

Awesome video of DeSean's punt return TD against Tennessee

Brilliant and hilarious, all at the same time

Eminem made a fairly forgettable (and fairly transparently autobiographical) movie a while ago called 8 Mile. The best thing about 8 Mile, according to me, is the song Lose Yourself. The song begins,
Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?
So last year in Knoxville, we choked about as bad as you can in front of the whole damn world.

Guess what was the last song played over the PA during warmups for the Tennessee game in Berkeley on Saturday?

Fucking brilliant.

(My brother asked, "Do you think that was deliberate?")