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Archive for September, 2008

Blogging the ‘Big Trip’: Back in Springfield, MA

I left Spokane this morning on a 6:55 AM flight for Chicago. Yes, Chicago, not Oakland or Sacramento or SFO. Before the season started when I was booking travel I realized two of the three distant road games (the third being Arizona) were back to back. I’ve never been back east and I thought it might be worth my time to take a week off of work and go see New York and DC. Plus, my brother had just moved back to Springfield, MA so I could also go see him.

After checking into ticket prices, it turned out a three-way flight was a bit cheaper than two separate round-trip flights to the two games. So, instead of heading home after the WSU game, I headed to New England via Chicago International Airport. From here, I’m going to drive my rental car down the coast catching New York, Philidelphia and DC over the course of the week before going to the Maryland game on Saturday. As an added bonus, my brother has yet to find a job back here (well, an added bonus for me anyway), so he’s going to make the trip down the coast with me.

More reports to follow…

MSU game podcast

Yes, that’s right. I finally am posting my Michigan State On The Road Home podcast. I know that it’s way past due and not really meaningful at this point, but hey, I recorded it after the game and I want it available for reference later.

The WSU podcast should be posted tomorrow.

Sunday Morning Horse-Laugh

In the spirit of a 63-point victory over a conference opponent — when the heck does that ever happen? — here’s an image I forgot to share with you all last week. It came as we waited in line at the north stadium entrance to drop off two tickets for friends of us who were running late. In front of me I discovered a fan dressed in the jersey of Cal’s latest breakout star player.

Best Stops on a Dime

Just for reference, that’s Jahvid Best up there.

Now, here’s our nomination for Fan Jersey of the Year:

Jahvid's looked better

Note that he’s wearing the classic Cal colors there — gray and black. Mmm. Good stuff.

Two articles published

My two articles from the WSU game have been published over at

Game Overview:

Player Profile on Syd:

Both are subscription articles.

WSU Live-Blogging

Well, the first thing to comment on is the BYU-Washington game. Huskies down 21-28 and score a TD with 2 seconds left, but a excessive celebration penalty backs the ball up 15 yards for the extra point and it is BLOCKED. Would it have been blocked 15 yards closer? Who knows… but what we do know is 27-28 on a blocked extra point at the end of the game is a tough way to lose.

3:28 Boy, it would have been a BIG faux-paux to have yelled BLUE during the “rocket’s red glare” of the national anthem. Sometimes one forgets they’re not just in the stands…

3:38 The Wougs just came onto the field. They have their mascot lead them in on an ATV. Mark my words, someone is going to get mauled someday if he keeps going that fast through the band and cheerleader “tunnel”. He must have been going 50 mph.

3:40 Stadium is about 85% full of it’s less than 40K capacity just before kickoff. The ones who are here though are pretty loud and riled up.

3:41 Bears lose the coin flip… we’re doomed! (OK, got my ‘old bear fan’ out of my system)

3:45 (14:49, 1st quarter) Javhid Best sets the tone of the game with running a touchdown run on the first play. He had a HUGE hole to run through. Jason adds “well, that’s a table setter”. Score: 7-0.

3:48 (14:08, 1st) Syd intercepts the ball on a roll-out gone bad for the Wougs. This may be a really long day for the home team. Jason adds “Can we just call the game now?” Sounds good to me. Saves on injuries.

3:49 (13:29, 1st) Touchdown pass to Sean Young. This is too easy. Score: 14-0.

3:50 Jason adds, “I think the WSU quarterback thought they were wearing white today.”

3:55 (11:27, 1st) Jason says, “The trees are cut down, Cal is leading 14-0 after two minutes… did I die? Did I eat some bad mushrooms?” Yes Jason, you did. It’s those Chicago shrooms! WSU has to punt again.

4:00 (10:25, 1st) WSU crowd is loud for first time in the game on 3rd and 9 for the Bears. Pass is complete for 1st down.

4:03 (8:55, 1st) On 2nd and 10 out of the shotgun, Cigneti calls for a run play to Vereen who gets into the secondary before needing to make a spin move to evade the safety en-route to the Bears 3rd TD. This is getting ridiculous. Score: 21-0.

4:05 (8:40, 1st) But WSU decides it’s time to stop the ridicousness and breaks free on the kickoff return to get the ball down to the Cal 22. Here’s the first test for the defense. Jason adds, “That was a pretty important play for WSU, just to give them some life and some enthusiasm after that potentially soul-crushing touchdown.”

4:07 (6:44, 1st) Defense does their job and holds WSU to a field-goal. If Cal can avoid the big play like that kick-return, the Bears are still in great shape. Score: 21-3.

4:17 (2:43, 1st) Well done by WSU to punt the ball down to the Cal 1 yard-line. Particularly the gunner who got all the way down to the goal-line before the ball hit the ground. Many gunners make the mistake of going to where the returner is and then the ball bounces innocently past them into the endzone.

4:19 (0:57, 1st) Best is unable to slip the tackle enough to get that extra yard for a 1st down. That’s where you need the pass to be to a tight-end or a fullback.

4:27 (13:13, 2nd) The Bears are using a number of backups on this defensive drive. I think that’s a big part of the reason the defense isn’t fairing as well. Then the WSU QB gives Cal a gift and takes a sack when he could have easily thrown the ball away.

4:29 (12:14, 2nd) Rulon Davis blocked a 42 yard field goal attempt and then Follett returned it for a TD. The Wougs just can’t get a break. Jason adds, “Now that’s a soul-crushing touchdown.” Score: 28-3

4:34 (11:15, 2nd) One of the crowd raising things they do here in Pullman is to shout in Unison (led by the announcer) “COUGAR FIRST DOWN!” after each 1st down. It’s pretty stinking loud. Of course, it won’t do them much good to do all that yelling when a great swingout pass/WR screen is called back for holding.

4:41 (9:20, 2nd) Nice to see the Bears play aggressively when pinned deep, going for the play action pass down the sideline, even though the play didn’t work.

4:47 (6:00, 2nd) Somebody needs to tell the WSU QB that if you’re going to do the hurry-up QB sneek, you’ve got to actually hurry up. He got to the line and then sat there for 5-10 seconds allowing the Bears to man-up and get in position to stop it. Too bad for them, because the field position game was well in thier favor.

4:50 (5:25, 2nd) So, was that a broken play that Riley improvised well on or what it a really good looking fake that had the defense out of position? Everyone around me says broken, I lean towards fake. In either case it gave Riley a chance to show off his legs. Score: 35-3

4:53 (5:19, 2nd) Seawright is FINALLY getting his kickoffs far enough down the field to give the coverage team a hope at winning the field-position game. That one made it all the way to the 2 yard-line.

4:57 (4:54, 2nd) Wow, their punter is as good as Anger last week. Did they force him at gun-point to switch uniforms? Because Anger isn’t looking that good today. I think that his knee is not 100%.

4:58 (4:36, 2nd) Jason says, “I am getting the feeling that we may have found our Nate Longshore Confidence Building Opportunity.” Thinking that it’s time to put Nate in to get some playing time and his confidence back. That might be doubly true because Riley just fumbled and it gives Tedford an opportunity to punish him for the mistake too.

5:05 (2:57, 2nd) Syd is quickly becoming our next Damien Hughes. He’s getting that instinct on when to look back for the ball and make a move on it. That was a really nice INT. And a doubly good return right up until when he cut it back inside instead of going for the corner of the endzone. He would have scored for sure. Of course, that gave Best a chance to practice his direct snap for the TD. Score: 42-3

5:19 (0:20, 2nd) As much as it’s generally unwise for the QB to run while the clock is running down (and if there’s anyone how knows it, it is Riley), Riley would have been wise to run with two timeouts and an open field in front of him. Overall, not an impressive 2-minute drill by the Bears (so Tedford will have something to complain about to his players).

5:50 (11:28, 3rd) Man, if this interception by Hicks holds up across the review, the Wougs just can’t get a break. I mean it’s their fault and all, but they were finally moving the ball again. Play stands as called. Cal ball.

5:53 (10:38, 3rd) Is this the 1st half? Sure feels like some star RB ran back a big one to start the other half… oh yeah, he did. Boy is he fast. Most mortals would have been caught by the safety. Score: 49-3

6:02 (7:25, 3rd) Longshore is in. What do people think, a good decision?

6:07 (4:15, 3rd) Man did this stadium empty out. It emptied mostly at halftime with more than half the crowd going home. But of the remaining 20K or so, another 5K have left since.

6:16 (0:00, 3rd) Longshore has been looking pretty good so far. Of particular note has been his throwing on the run, which has been on target.

6:19 (14:24, 4th) I’m surprised we’re not seeing more of Slocum at this point. Vereen is barely a backup and is too critical to the offense to risk injury. Just about every other 1st stringer is out. Hey, as if they were listening, there’s Slocum.

6:23 (11:32, 4th) The WSU affliated reporters voiced their displeasure with Cal going for it on 4th and 2 from the 6 yard-line. Accused us of running up the score. Cal’s not the program to accuse of doing that.

And that wraps it up. Sorry for not bringing closure to the post during the game. Things get hectic in the 4th quarter as we have to get ready to go down to the field for post-game interviews.

All in all, a great game for the Bears.

42 trees down, 1 to go

According to the Chronicle and other sources, the University managed to cut down EVERY tree, minus the one the tree-sitters were in already. That’s pretty impressive and quick work. Now they’re just waiting for the tree-sitters to let reality sink in and come down voluntarily.

Blogging the ‘Big Trip’: At Martin Stadium

This morning I left the hotel in Spokane at 10:30 to head to Pullman. Did you guys know there is an actual town about 15 miles north of Pullman called Palouse? So much for Martin Stadium being the REAL Palouse… I know the truth now, and the truth will set the oak trees free!

I got into Pullman around 12:15 PM. They’re pretty serious about their speed limits in this part of Washington with the huge contingent of WSU fans making the trip down to Pullman, there were unmarked police cars up and down the route pulling people over making sure that they got their revenue for new roads. The quality of their roads indicates that they get A LOT of revenue that way.

After I got to the press parking lot next to the stadium (one of the best perks of the press is the parking) I decided to walk around the campus to take a look. The campus is a Washington attempt at looking like and Ivy League school and I say that being quite impressed. It was a very nice campus with all brick buildings and lots of trees.

The facilities for the football team are also very nice with a full sized practice field immediately adjacent to the stadium and next to some nice locker and training room facilities. In fact, the whole campus seemed to be in a boom of construction improving facilities for just about every department.

The stadium itself, although small, is also very nice. It’s entirely bleacher seats except for a small donor section by the 50. The majority of the bleachers have back-rests, except for the endzone. The pressbox is at a really nice height and the media pressbox is right at midfield. I’m at about the 43 of the east side, although on the third row. However, unlike USC and other stadiums, the 3rd row has very good visibility. Probably the best seats I’ve had at any game in the pressbox. I’ll post pictures later tonight.

Stay tuned for live-blogging when the game starts.

Trees being cut down

Well, apparently all it took for the trees to be cut down is for me to leave the state. They started cutting down the trees today, getting somewhere between 4 and 10 of them down as well as pruning more thoroughly the trees around the redwood the tree-sitters are in to further isolate them in that tree. Looks like the goal is to get all of the trees, minus the one that the tree-sitters have been isolated to, down over the weekend. The hope is that by that point, the remaining 4 tree-sitters will be demoralized enough to finally come down and the final tree can be cut down.

If not, I’m sure the University will do the forcible removal sometime shortly thereafter.

A couple notes about the new lies being spread by the tree-sitters and their supporters:

I saw the raw video of the UC Spokeman Dan Mogulof’s press conference this morning. He in no way was deceptive about what was going to be done today. Some of the reporting on that press conference may not have been the best, but he clearly stated that they were starting the project now and they would not be waiting to do anything, including cutting the trees down. He said the first thing they were going to do is prune around the redwood but that the rest of the steps to start the project as soon as possible. Particularly since he used the phrase “this morning” in regards to the pruning there was no indication that the only activity today would be pruning as the tree-sitters have accused.

The other thing they’ve been saying is that the University would give three-days warning before starting. Those who’ve been following my posts on the subject know that’s not true, but what they’re trying to manipulate was a two-day promise (and it cracks me up that they turned it into three) and that two-day promise was that they would wait two days after the trial hearing ended for the other side to be able to file an appeal. There was no promise that they’d wait any further after the appellate junction.

But the lies are no surprise. They’ve been using any lie they can for the last two years to try and win some public support, which has been few and far between outside of a small radical community in Berkeley.

Blogging the ‘Big Trip’: In Spokane

This afternoon I flew out from Sacramento International (I think there’s a couple flights to Cancun or something, either that or they don’t realize that Hawaii is the 50th state) to Seattle and from Seattle to Spokane. I got into town around 8 PM, picked up the rental car, got some dinner and settled into my hotel room. Tomorrow I’ll drive from Spokane to Pullman, a 75 mile drive that takes about an hour and a half for the game.

Spokane is a much bigger town than I realized, with a significant number of small skyscrapers (well, of the 10-20 story variety) and a fairly big downtown area. However, unlike California, there is nearly no sprawl on the outside of town. Coming into the airport all one saw was miles and miles of fields (wheat?) and a fairly densely populated town popping out of it.

More blogging on the trip tomorrow.



I’ll just quote the whole thing:

On August 26, 2008 the Alameda County Superior Court filed an “Order after Hearing” (Exh. 26) and “Respondents’ Amended Judgment,” which was “effective and enforceable immediately.” (Exh. 25 at 281:10-11.) The following day appellants filed a Notice of Appeal. (Exh. 27.)

In prior briefing respondents represented that if appellants filed their Notice of Appeal and contemplated Petition for a Writ of Supersedeas and Request for an Immediate Stay within two business days they “will continue to take no further action to implement the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects until the Court of Appeal rules on any such immediate stay request.” (Exh. 20 at 246:7-13.) Appellants objected to what they characterized as the respondents’ attempt to substitute a voluntary stay in lieu of a court-ordered stay. (Exh. 24.)

On August 28, 2008 appellants filed a Petition for Writ of Supersedeas, Mandate, Prohibition or Other Appropriate Relief and supporting documents. The petition prays for inter alia an immediate temporary stay of the University’s threatened construction-related activities, an immediate 20-day extension pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5, subdivision (g), and the issuance of a writ of supersedeas.

On September 3, 2008 respondents filed an Opposition to Request for Immediate Stay and to Petition for Writ of Supersedeas, etc. and also moved that we take judicial notice of six volumes of exhibits previously filed in conjunction with an earlier writ petition, California Oak Foundation v. The Regents of the University of California, A122172. By operation of law an automatic 20-day stay goes into effect if “a stay is in effect at the time of filing the notice of appeal.” (Code Civ. Proc. sec. 1094.5, subd. (g).) In the context of this statute, “stay” refers to a judicial stay, not respondents’ promise to refrain from further activities. (Ibid. [“the court in which proceedings under this section are instituted may stay the operation of the administrative order or decision”; “no such stay shall be imposed or continued if the court is satisfied that it is against the public interest.”].)

Because there was no judicial stay in effect when the notice of appeal was filed, the statutory 20-day stay is not in effect. The motion that we take judicial notice, pursuant to Evidence Code sections 459 and 452, subdivision (d)(2) of the six volumes of exhibits previously lodged with this court in conjunction with Case Number A122172 is granted. The petition for a writ of supersedeas, mandate and/or prohibition and the related requests for an immediate stay and a 20-day stay are denied. (McGuiness, P.J., Siggins, J., and Jenkins, J.)

What does this mean? It means it is time to fire up the chainsaws! The University can start cutting anytime.

Statistical Preview of WSU

My statistical preview of the WSU game is posted over at

This one is a subscription article… all the more reason to signup!

WSU practice podcast

My podcast has been posted over at their site:

For those wondering where my On The Road Home podcast is, it has been unfortunately delayed. I did record it on the way home, but I haven’t had time to edit it up. Usually I do my post-game podcast editing and game reviews on Sunday but I was busy trying to finish my bookshelves and desks (don’t ask about the status, please 🙁 ) and I haven’t been able to find the time during the week. Hopefully I can get it posted today. At the very latest, it’ll happen Saturday morning from a hotel in Spokane before I drive up to Pullman.

Michigan St. Recap, Washington St. Preview Podcast

Once again, our podcast features three guys talking about Cal football for 35 minutes.

Topics this time:
* The Michigan State game, from the stadium and on the TV
* Quarterback Controversies
* Washington State preview
* Bemoaning the rise of Comcast SportsNet West, unless you live in Sacramento like Ken, in which case it’s just fine.

Week 1 BlogPoll

Here’s my week #1 poll (see here for background):

Rank Team Delta
1 Southern Cal
2 Florida
3 Oklahoma
4 Georgia
6 Missouri 3
7 West Virginia
8 Alabama 18
9 Ohio State 1
10 Oregon
11 Texas
12 Auburn 3
13 Texas Tech 1
14 Kansas 8
15 Wisconsin 2
16 Arizona State 3
17 Brigham Young 2
18 Penn State 2
19 Illinois 1
20 Virginia Tech 14
21 Fresno State 5
22 Utah 4
23 California 3
24 UCLA 2
25 Notre Dame

Dropped Out: Clemson (#12), Tennessee (#16), Rutgers (#21), Oregon State (#23), Michigan (#24).


The one thing I give a big bump for is playing good teams early. I’m not impressed by beating up on Southeastern Rhode Island State (not to be confused with Southeastern Rhode Island University). But if a team plays a significant team from another BCS conference and win, that’s going to mean much more to me. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I rank those teams higher than I think their talent deserves, but as far as proving themselves, they’ve done more than the other teams to prove themselves, so they get the benefit of the doubt. Included in this are UCLA, Alabama, Fresno State, Missouri and although they were already at the top, USC.

Other things of note:

  • I’m pretty unimpressed with Arizona State, only putting 30 points on Northern Arizona.
  • Illinois doesn’t lose much respect from me for losing to a higher ranked team.
  • Yes, Notre Dame stays at 25 even though they didn’t play. In some sense not playing is no worse than playing SE-RI-State
  • I feel uncomfortable with my Virginia Tech ranking, but I still think they’re best in the ACC and had an off day.