The longest continually active Cal Bear blog

Archive for November, 2009

Donald and Sparky (EMFMV 2009 #8)

Now shorter and (slightly) less rambly!

We recap the ASU game, including Ken’s legendary drive to and from the Valley of the Sun. Pre-hashing the Oregon State game at Berkeley. Glee at USC losing it, while realizing they’ll still probably end up in the BCS. What’s Cal’s record going to be this year? We’re still saying 9-3. Jason does a bad Bill Walton impression (all his impressions are bad, though, so at least he’s consistent), and we talk mascots, say the secret word, and try to perform an intervention on all teams with colors as their nicknames. There’s more listener homework, too, for the one of you who actually does it.

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Wildcat pass on 2nd and Goal

I’ve noticed some grumbling about whether the pass by Vereen out of the wildcat formation was a good decision on 2nd and Goal from the ASU 5 yard line with 30 seconds left. I wanted to add a couple thoughts to the discussion.

First of all, by the numbers, it was most definitely the wrong thing to do for a few reasons:

  1. It stopped the clock which meant ASU could prevent Cal from running down the clock to 3 seconds on 3rd down.
  2. It’s a low percentage play.
  3. It’s a risky play as an interception would effectively end the game.

So the “right” thing to do is run the ball again on 2nd down. It’s low risk. It’ll increase the percentages of a TD, particularly on 3rd down. And finally it’ll mean there’s no chance of a last second comeback by ASU after the field-goal.

But I think there’s a bigger picture here and I support the call. First of all, so many of us Bear fans complain about our play-calling being TOO by the numbers. We can’t have it both ways. You want it less predictable? Well, there it is. There’s nothing less predictable than what the Bears did then.

Plays like this, as well as the play-calling for the majority of the season, have been keeping our opponents on their toes. Clearly Cal is going to keep running the Wildcat and don’t you think that every defensive coordinator left on the schedule will be able unable to ignore that call? You think the next time Cal has 2nd and goal and they go into the wildcat that this play won’t be on their mind? Of course it will.

I also like it because it was going for the jugular. Being down by 1, a touchdown and a 2-point conversion mean that ASU can only tie even with a desperation drive with a few seconds left. Particularly when you’re kicker is struggling, I like going for the jugular.

There’s no doubt it was ballsy. Some argue too ballsy. I might be even inclined to agree. But if anything, this team needs more heart and more emotion and I think ballsy play-calling like that can only help that. Cramming the ball into the line, while it may be the “right” thing to do, is not nearly as exciting. This team needs more excitement.

I’m more than willing to see the team take these risks.

Articles from the ASU Game

Here are the articles I wrote for the ASU Game over at

The Josh Hill article is free for all to view. The other two are subscription articles.

Oh, I also forgot to put a link to my WSU statistical preview a couple weeks back. It’s also a subscription article and I’m linking to it mostly for my own archival purposes.

Finally, I did record a podcast on the road home. I’ll be putting it together in the next day or two so please be patient because I think it’s a really good one.

ASU Road Trip Recap

I’m kinda known for my crazy road trips, even when it isn’t a Cal game (although all my most epic ones are). Usually it’s because I try to combo in something else beyond just the point of the trip that takes it from aggressive to crazy-insane. For the ASU trip, it was making the detour to the Grand Canyon on the way home while preserving my “take no time off work” pledge.

So I did 28 hours of driving in a 53 hour trip:
11 hours: Friday 3:30 PM to Saturday 2:30 AM – Roseville to Tempe
4 hours: 3:30 AM to 7:30 Sunday – Tempe to Grand Canyon
1 hour: In and out of car in Grand Canyon betwen 7:30 AM until 10:00 AM Sunday
12 hours: 10:00 PM to 9:00 PM (time change adds an hour) Sunday – Grand Canyon to Roseville

Click the link for the full rundown of my trip: