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Archive for November, 2008

Confessions of a Bears fan

The Bears are going to get slaughtered. This weekend’s USDA butcher’s meeting has been moved to LA from Lincoln, Nebraska in anticipation of the slaughter.

It’s going to be ugly.

It’s going to be depressing.

That’s what I think when ever I look at this matchup both through the statistics and schedule/results analysis. It’s no different when I look at highlights and game-film. There’s just no way the Bears are going to be able to sustain a running game against this Trojan defense and I’m not optimistic that the Bears are going to have enough success through the air to compensate, particularly with Cigneti and Tedford calling the plays where they, mostly in a good way, refuse to give up on the run game.

No, the Bears can’t pull an Oregon state and win on the offensive line and use their running back’s unique blend of small-size, power and speed to control the ball. Best just isn’t that kind of back. Vereen’s actually closer, and although good, doesn’t seem to have the “flair” factor to pull it off. Add in the patch-work that is the Cal offensive line and that’s just not going to happen.

Yeah, the Bear’s defense is pretty darned good, and I think they can keep USC in check. Nevertheless, USC will probably be able to score in the low 20’s, perhaps only the mid to high teens with an excellent Bear performance. But I just don’t see the offense putting up enough points to win even with that good of a defensive performance.

Add to that fact that it’s going to be really hard for the defense to play that well when the offense is spitting out 3-and-outs like a jackpot spewing slot machine.

This isn’t the 2004 Bears that just missed. Heck, this isn’t even the 2006 Bears that only had 3 quarters in them.

The Bears are going to get slaughtered. Accept reality, OK?

Why is it then that I’m so darned optimistic today?

(More on that later)

USC Statistical Preview

My weekly statistical preview is posted over at

This is a subscription article.

BearTerritory Practice Podcast

My weekly practice podcast is posted over at

As a reminder, these are always free to listen to. Also remember that this week’s game being a road game, my OTRH podcast will have coach and player audio like the BearTerritory podcasts do during the week. Also remember that we will live-blog the game from our homes and the press-box.

OSU game and Big Game at 12:30 PM on ABC

Thanks to Al from for dropping me a line to give me a heads up, but ABC has picked up both the Oregon State game on November 15th and the Big Game on November 22nd. Both will be at 12:30 PM.

The Oregon State game was no surprise because of how important the showdown has become with Cal beating Oregon. The Big Game was more of a surprise because there was no ‘official’ ABC slot available for that time. However, the athletic department clearly pulled some strings to get the game on TV because it won’t be on the ‘normal’ regional ABC broadcast. Instead it will be shown just on the northern Cal ABC TV stations. Quoting from the note about this in the USC preview on

For the Big Game on Nov. 22, ABC will show the game over the air in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno and Monterey markets in Northern California. Fans can also access the game nationwide through ESPN GamePlan.

So, for the 2nd year in a row every Cal game will be on TV. The only question remaining is what network the Washington game will be on, but we know it’ll be one of either FSN or ESPN. Here’s the remaining game schedule:

Date Opponent TV
11/8 USC ABC @ 5:00 PM
11/15 OSU ABC @ 12:30 PM
11/22 Big Game ABC local @ 12:30 PM
12/6 UW FSN @ 12:00 or ESPN(2) @ 5:00

UPDATE: Here’s the official release from

Cal ranked #21

#21 in the AP and #22 in the USA Today. All the way up to #16 in the score-weighted Sangarin computer ranking (sadly #35 in the unweighted ranking which results in #20 total there).

UPDATE: 21 in the BCS

Oregon On The Road Home Podcast

Two weeks in a row of an on-time podcast… must be a trend or something! Unlike my normal podcasts where I try to be pretty professional, for this one, I was just too excited to contain myself and I just let the tape and thoughts flow. Have a listen to a one-of-a-kind OTRH podcast:

Early bowl game scenarios

Every Cal fan knows that if the Bears win out, including beating USC in LA next Saturday, the Bears can not be denied the Rose Bowl. But what if they don’t win out? What then?

For starters, they don’t have to win out to win the Pac-10 and go to the Rose Bowl. If they beat USC and Oregon State, they can lose one of their last two games and still be the Pac-10 representative to the Rose Bowl IF (and remember this if) Arizona loses another game. So really, the team Cal most needs to lose a game is Arizona because otherwise they’ve got a one game buffer over Oregon and UCLA and could get a one game buffer over both USC and Oregon State with wins there.

The other scenario that could conceivably see the Bears in the Rose Bowl is the “back door” option with USC headed to the National Championship game. With Texas going down to Texas Tech that option continues to look better, although it is still a long-shot. There are now only three undefeated BCS teams and I think USC with a stong finish could easily be one of the top two one-loss teams. The bigger problem here is Cal has to get into the top 14 between now and the end of the season, and do it while losing to USC (a pre-requisite to this scenario). When you put together the percentages of both USC getting into the championship game AND Cal getting up to #14 while losing one more, particularly considering the lack of respect the Pac-10 is getting this year, it seems pretty unlikely.

So, Rose Bowl wise, it’s pretty much win the next two weeks and then either win out or win one of the final two combined with an Arizona loss at any point down the stretch.

But what about the rest of the bowls?

Here it gets WAY too complicated way too quick. I think if the Bears beat Oregon State and then doesn’t completely fall on their face the last two weeks, another trip to San Deigo and the Holiday bowl in in order. While the lesser Pac-10 bowls aren’t required to observe the tie-breakers, for the most part I expect them to do it unless their is a BIG attendance or TV advantage to a team. Since Cal is a fairly high team on the attendance and TV stage if the game isn’t in Texas, Cal is very likely to get the benefit of the doubt in a number of situations. So Arizona will likely lose out to Cal in a tie, even though they should get the tie-breaker.

Let’s say the Bears lose both of the next two weeks, what then? Then, unless Arizona falls on their face, it looks like it’s either Vegas or the San Francisco Nut Bowl based on how Oregon and Oregon State finish things out.

However, now that the Bears are bowl eligibile at 6-2, even a complete fall on the face means the Bears are going bowling and for those who wouldn’t mind taking their wives on a trip to Hawaii, it might provide some consolation should the Bears find themselves in a free-fall losing 3 or more of their 4 remaining games.

I think my underpants are only mildly soaked (Cal 26, Oregon 16)

So, this was pretty much the most miserable I have ever been at a sporting event. Including years and years at Cal. From the mid-first quarter to early in the fourth quarter, it was raining hard.

I didn’t bring my snazzy camera, so all you get is an iPhone shot.

Rainy Game Day

It was an odd game. At the start of both halves, Cal was on the ropes. The game started with a Cal turnover and an Oregon scoring drive. Things looked bad. But then Riley converted on third down (boy, they converted a lot of third downs Saturday) and the Bears were off for a 7-6 lead. Which expanded to the classic 9-6 lead (in a most unclassical way) after the Oregon long-snapper chucked one 30 yards out the back of the end zone.

But in the second half, the same thing happened. Oregon, tired of the terrible conditions, went exclusively to the option run. And it worked great for one drive. But all of a sudden, the Cal defense figured it out, and when Oregon tried to start passing again, it was bad news. The receivers’ hands had turned to stone and the passer’s arm wasn’t much better.

It was also a game where the side of the field you were playing on really mattered. At the end of the third quarter, Oregon was driving toward the south end. But the quarter ended and the teams flipped to the north end, which was full of standing water. All of a sudden the fates shifted with the weather. A failed field-goal at that cursed end later, Cal had the ball. Shortly thereafter, Oregon’s punt returned dropped a fair-catch punt, Cal recovered, and the Bears put the game away.

A weird game, for sure. But hey, a great outcome for Cal. On we go to USC.

Uni Watch: Cal broke out the all-yellow uniform combination for the first time. Can’t say I like it, though it was less awful than I thought it would be. It helps when you break out an odd uniform when you’re on the field with Oregon, because you’re guaranteed not to have the worst uniforms on the field. And in the rainy conditions, it was a little bit like the Bears were dressed as Team Raincoat.

The rest of us were dressed in raincoats, too.

Wet Fans

By the end of the game, my clothes were soaked through — guess that raincoat has lost its waterproofing! — and my teeth were starting to chatter. But at least the rain stopped for the second half of the fourth quarter. Combined with Cal reasserting itself, that was enough to allow us to survive till the final gun. Which we did. I feel like we deserve a merit badge of some kind.

Bears beat Oregon for 3rd straight year!

What a game… what A GAME! I’ve never been so happy to be soaked to the bone. Although I suspect if I’d dragged the wife and kids to the game I wouldn’t have been so thrilled about it.

In any case, the Bears won a key game for meeting expectations for the year. Here’s a list of posts that you can expect today from me:

  1. On The Road Home podcast posted
  2. Early look at bowl game scenarios
  3. Video/Picture post on run game issues/success
  4. Review of game