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Archive for October, 2010

Riley’s injury under-played

It’s been nearly shocking to me how little play Riley’s injury is getting in yesterday’s loss. I mean, sure, there’s a good chance that the Bears still lose that game without the injury, but NOBODY seems to be recognizing that the Bears were only down 0-7 at that point, had just completed a big pass to get out from under the shadow of their goal line and were starting to show some progress.

Imagine that Riley leads the team down the field and scores a touchdown. Imagine the potential emotional impact that has on an otherwise uninspired defensive effort. Instead the team goes into shell shocked mode.

Am I saying they would have won? No, I’m not. But I am saying that it should be the NUMBER ONE story. Not the road or the uninspired play, the injury. The game had barely started and we were forced to play a QB with basically no playing experience for a game which there was no preparation for him to actually play. It’s a miracle they did as well as they did. Think about it, the instant he went down, we all knew the game was a lost cause, right? Why is it that nobody seems to be looking at it that way today?

So everyone please, be as critical as you want about how important it is to get your backup QB playing time or how the defensive game-plan seemed weak, but don’t forget that we have very little insight into how this game would have gone had Riley not gone down.

Let’s not kid ourselves about Oregon

They’re extremely good. After watching the Bears today with Mansion and watching Oregon, even on the road versus USC, I’ve got to believe that it would take a near-miracle for the Bears to beat them in Berkeley.

I don’t care how much better we play at home.

Cal-Oregon State Liveblog, 12:30 p.m. PT

TV for OSU game on Saturday

I can’t speak for other providers, but there is indeed a channel on DirecTV that will be carrying the game this weekend: 617.

Oregon tickets for sale

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got 6 tickets for sale for the Oregon game at 4:30 PM on 11/13. For those of you who don’t have a big cable/satellite package, you won’t be able to see this game on TV (it’s going to be on Versus). Be there to watch the Bears take a shot at history and beating #1 for the first time in history.

And I’ve got great seats…

While I don’t have donor seats, I still think I’ve got some great seats. First of all, I’m on the isle, in two rows of 3. This helps with knee issues as the person behind you is a friend, not some random dude. Second of all, there’s no seats in front of me. We’re the first two rows above the concourse tunnel, which also gives you more room to stretch out. Add in being close to the tunnel for easy in/out access, that they’re at the right height to have good visibility across the whole field and I think they’re as of seats as you’ll find in the non-donor section. (FYI, this is section DD).

See this graphic for details:
(the blue and gold seats are mine)

I’m asking face value for the tickets: $53 each. I’d prefer to sell the block of 6 to one person but I will consider breaking it into two groups of 3 if no one is interested in the full set for the game.

E-Mail me at tickets AT excusemeformyvoice DOT com if you’re interested, or leave a comment in the comment section.

Say a Prayer for the ND student who died

For those of you who pray, take a moment to pray for the soul of the Notre Dame student who died yesterday while filming the football practice. Apparently they had him up on a scissor lift to get a good angle and there were high winds in the area that blew the scissor lift over, killing him in the fall.

Such a tragedy. Football may be fun, but it’s nothing worth dying over.

May God have mercy on him and us all, and grant him Eternal Peace.

Topsy-Turvy (EMFMV 2010 #6)

Jason and Ken return with thoughts about Arizona State, a preview of the OSU game, talk about the Pac-12 championship, and much more.

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Each week – more questions…

Usually as the season goes on, questions get answered about each team and the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into space. This year, every week all I have is more questions:

  • I still don’t get how this terrible UCLA team beat Texas. Is Texas really THAT bad?
  • ASU stinks, how did they go toe to toe with Oregon for 3 1/2 quarters?
  • If Cal’s defense is as good as it has shown every other week, why was this mediocre USC able to expose it so badly?
  • OSU goes down to Tucson and beats Arizona but gets handled early by UW… Is Oregon State any good?
  • Speaking of Washington, what’s their story? (OK, this one I think I know the answer to)

And each week it doesn’t get any better. This week, Stanford let WSU hang around, while the supposedly weaker than I thought Arizona laid the wood to Washington. UCLA continues to look like garbage (so I guess either Texas is worse than anyone could possibly imagine or that game was some sort of an anomaly). Finally, ASU put up surprisingly little fight against our beloved Bears.

Maybe next week the puzzle will look more complete.

The streaks are still alive

Question (that most good Bear fans more or less know the answer to):

When’s the last time the Bears lost at home to a team not named Oregon State or USC?

September 6th, 2003 (to Colorado State of all teams).

Yes, SEVEN and a half seasons ago. Two THOUSAND, six hundred and four days ago on Saturday. 224973000 seconds when the games starts (plus or minus a thousand or so).

Wait, there’s more! Because we only play USC and Oregon State in odd numbered years there are really two streaks:

  1. The above mentioned streak
  2. Not losing at home at all in even numbered years since November 16th 2002 (in a shootout to Arizona)

And it’s not like no good teams have come to play during that time. ASU was ranked twice (20th both times), Oregon also twice (11th and 23rd), Tennessee was ranked 15th, and last year Arizona was ranked 18th.

Those streaks may end this season when Oregon, currently ranked #1, comes to town on November 13th (although call me an optimist because I think Cal still has a shot at that one if the defense comes to play), but here’s what I can tell you with a fair amount of confidence:

These streaks will not end tomorrow. There’s no way ASU breaks the streaks. No way; No how. Not this unranked, 3-3 team with a mistake prone quarterback and penalty gobbling team that Tedford only lost once to (in the disaster in the desert in 2007) and hasn’t beat the Bears in Berkeley since 1997. Nope, not going to happen. It’s not even going to be close:

Bears win 30-13

(PS. Just in case, bring your vocal A-Game in the rain tomorrow. You’re going to be wet, you might as well have some fun with it. Think Oregon 2008.)

Say goodbye to the Rose Bowl

Well, the Pac-10 decision is in and depending on how you view things it’s the best or worst case scenario. It’s the best because we get to play all the schools we care about every year. USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington… we play them every year. It’s the worst because we have to play the best teams in the conference, USC, Oregon, etc., every year.

I was hoping we’d go with the division game record for deciding who goes to the championship game, so we could play USC and UCLA, but wouldn’t have to worry about beating them to get to the conference championship game. Now the Bears are going to be the class of the conference just to get to the conference championship game and then they’re going to have to re-beat USC most years. OK, some years it’ll be Arizona or UCLA, but it’s going to be the norm that USC is in there.

So, what do you care about? Do you care about having an easy schedule like Arizona was just gifted? Or do you care about having great matchups every year? Depending on what you think, this was either really good news or the worst possible scenario.

As for the conference as a whole, I’m still shocked, absolutely shocked that the northwest schools agreed to the limited LA exposure they’re going to get from now on. They really lose a lot by allowing the California schools to keep their rivalry. Yeah, they got the revenue sharing as a bone-throw, but it seems to me that’s not enough to compensate for the loss of exposure both on TV and in LA itself. But I guess I’m not the president of any of those schools, so that’s why it’s my job to be surprised.


Liveblogging the Pac-12 announcements

OK, here we go, the moment of truth for the conference:

  • All decisions were unanimous, says first speaker (Michael Crow, an ASU guy).
  • Larry Scott on now.
  • Going through all of his thank yous, blaw, blaw, blaw.
  • Talking about revenue sharing: We will have equal revenue sharing going forward, including TV revenue (sorry USC and UCLA). They will get a $2 Million bonus when it’s less than $170 total for the conference.
  • Cal and Stanford in the North as expected. Will be called North and South.
  • Talking about how balanced the two divisions will be and the importance of rivalry games.
  • Going with the 5-2-2. Cal will play USC and UCLA every year. WOW!
  • conference record, not division record, will determine who goes to the championship game.
  • No other sport will have divisions.
  • Basketball will have 18 game conference schedule.
  • Conference record will determine who gets to host the conference championship game as well. So no neutral site.
  • USC would not be eligible for conference championship games while their under sanctions from post-season.
  • Not going to rule out neutral site in the future, but Scott really likes the easy and guaranteed full stadiums of hosted games.
  • Scott’s trying to soft-sell the 5-2-2 as good for the Northwest schools, saying that they’ll play the SoCal schools every other year. I suspect what he means is that they’ll play one school from SoCal each year and thus each school they’ll only see every other year.
  • I can’t believe the NW schools bought into this. Obviously the compromise was to give them equal revenue sharing, but still, shocking to me.
  • Crow is saying that you can’t get the AD’s to be unanimous on anything but the CEO’s, well he doesn’t quite say while they’re different, but reading between the lines, they want to look united so they all vote on what they know will pass.
  • Scott reiterates that he fully expects USC and UCLA’s $2 Million bonus to be short term while they’re increasing TV revenue.
  • Utah will still have their revenue phased in as per their agreement when joining the conference.
  • Scott reiterating the value of the hosted conference championship game and the home fans well outweigh things like weather.
  • Note that revenue sharing doesn’t start until 2012-2013 year, i.e. the year of the new TV contracts.

OK, into stupid questions now. I’ll give commentary later…

Comments re-enabled

I’m not sure how this keeps happening, but the comments got disabled at some point again. I know I haven’t been doing it, and I doubt Jason has. I haven’t even done a blog upgrade recently (although I did do some plug-in upgrades, perhaps one of those?).

The worst part is, I can’t tell that they’re turned off. Since I’m a logged in user, I can comment. But of course only a couple of us have accounts, so most of you can’t comment. In the future, if you see that commenting is disabled, please e-mail me at:

blog AT excusemeformyvoice DOT com and let me know.

In any case, they’re re-enabled now… comment away!

What a trojan horse disaster

(I caught most of the game from a Chili’s (in the bar area) in between a wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, so that’s why I wasn’t online but have thoughts now…)

The Bears played their worst half of football all season at the most critical moment yesterday. Receivers couldn’t catch, blockers couldn’t block, Vereen didn’t stand a chance, and Riley threw interceptions whenever the rest of the offense finally did something right. The defense also didn’t stand a chance the way the offense kept giving the ball back but also turned in a weak performance with lots of over-committing and generally desperate looking play.

And that’s what I noticed about the team as a whole, they looked desperate. They looked like the 2005 Bears with Ayoob under center playing the best team in the country, like they knew the only way they’d win was by getting lucky for 90% of the plays for all 60 minutes. They lacked the confidence that they were a real contender and USC was nothing to be scared of.

And I’m not sure why other than some generic claim to “leadership problems”.

Leadership problems show up at two times:

  1. In tight games
  2. On the road

The good news is that Cal has a softer back-end schedule, particularly when considering the home games. They only play two teams on the road: WSU and Oregon State. Unless something significant changes, I’m writing off the OSU game as a loss at this point. However, I think the Bears can go to the frozen potato patch and beat WSU. So it all comes down to how they can do at home. ASU is very beatable, as is Washington. We beat those three, ASU, UW and WSU, and we’re bowl eligible. A Big Game win, something I still think the Bears have a better than 50% shot at with the game at home, and the Bears are 7-5. Pull off the miracle at home, where the Bears CLEARLY are a different team than the one that went to the LA Coliseum, and beat Oregon, and we’re 8-4.

Personally, I’m thinking 7-5.

Cal-USC Liveblog! Cancelled due to Cal being awful.

We tried to do a Liveblog. Ken was smart – he didn’t show up. Some of you did. Then Cal gave up 42 points in one half. We gave up. Go do something more productive with your life. We’ll figure out what it all means, later.

Divisional alignment set?

Well, it looks as though some unintended leaks have happened on how the divisions might split. Jon Wilner writes what he learns from The athletic directors voted 7-5 in favor of putting Cal and Stanford in the north.

Now… that’s not the vote that counts. The President’s vote next week does. And since it was 7-5, all it takes is a swap or two and we’re back to a different plan. Also not decided is whether the conference will preserve the annual California school games like it has in the past. The USC guy calls that the 5-2-2 (5 division games, 2 games against the other California schools and 2 non-divisional games).

I’ve always thought the 5-2-2 doesn’t have a chance in Hades. There’s no way the northwest schools will accept the resulting loss in exposure in California, particularly southern California. Ted Miller thinks that revenue sharing changes will allow for a compromise, but I highly doubt that.

Personally, I don’t really care if we’re in the same division as the soCal schools, I just want to play them every year. Particularly if the Pac-12 decides to only count divisional record for who goes to the championship game, something I’m told the SEC does, the 5-2-2 would probably be the most desirable result as we’d get to play all the northwest schools and the soCal schools every year, the teams I care most about, while not having the tough games against the soCal schools counting against our conference title chances.

But as I said, I just don’t see that happening.

So if this news is true and holds true through the president’s meeting, the annual games with UCLA and USC may be down the tubes. Or it might mean we’re on track to the best case scenario. Or not.

Belated thoughts on last Saturday’s games – week 2

Here are my thoughts on the competition across the conference:

  1. UCLA at Cal:
    • I’d write a lot more, but since I wasn’t at the game and haven’t yet been able to watch it on the Tivo, (when’s the last time THAT happened?) I’ll just give a couple quick thoughts.
    • Looks like this Cal defense is for real. 144 yards and 26 net rushing!?! Unbelievably awesome. This is going to keep the Bears in a lot of games (and will likely get us some more great defensive recruits late in this year’s recruiting game).
    • Sounds like the offense was hit and miss, particularly in the 2nd half. For some reason I find myself surprisingly optimistic that they’ll find their rhythm as the season continues.
    • I’ve got a lot of optimism about USC in LA next week right now that they’ve lost two in a row, are unranked, and probably already realize they’ve officially got nothing to fight for. Plus they look pretty mediocre.
  2. USC at Stanford:
    • What did I say last week? (“Let their be no mistake, USC is downright mediocre.”) So the question is, is Stanford similarly mediocre? I mean, Stanford looked great in the 1st half versus Oregon, but they were also gifted a lot and got shutdown in the 2nd half.
    • That’s another way of saying these two team were pretty equally matched.
    • USC for two weeks in a row lost on a last minute field goal drive. That defense is not well conditioned nor all that impressive early.
  3. Oregon at WSU:
    • This was somewhat of a letdown game, but it does raise an eyebrow that Oregon’s offense was it’s least potent of the year versus WSU and WSU put up 23 points (3 TD’s and a FG) even though Oregon won convincingly.
    • And that’s all I have to say about that.
  4. ASU at UW:
    • Washington really needed this win and didn’t get it.
    • Two weeks in a row ASU has gone on the road and played tough.
    • Looks like my preseason prediction for UW is right (weaker than expected) but that ASU is the positive surprise of the conference. I’m more and more glad this game is in Berkeley.
    • Note that Threet only threw one INT in this game. I think his consistency of play is going to be key to what games ASU wins.
  5. OSU at Arizona:
    • Looks like OSU is following their usual trend of coming out of their non-conference schedule far from unscathed but ready to kick everyone’s rear in the conference. That’s a pretty good feat to go down to Tucson and win.
    • As for Arizona, live by the sword (beat Cal in the last minute), die by the sword (lose a close one to OSU).
    • In many ways this is good news for the Bears as they need Arizona to lose a few to help their bowl situation. Of course they still need to beat the Beavers, but that’s still in their control.

Go Bears!

Belated thoughts on last Saturday’s games

Here are my thoughts on the competition across the conference:

  1. Stanford at Oregon:
    • Stanford had a lot of trouble running between the tackles, which was very surprising considering that their whole schtick is about the power running game.
    • Luck looked brilliant in the 1st half and downright mediocre in the 2nd half as Oregon ramped up the pressure. While he impressed me in the first half, my overall feeling is still that he’s an over appreciated QB and Cal’s strategy in the 2009 Big Game will work again in 2010: Rattle him early and often.
    • Oregon’s offense continues to look awesome. If someone beats Oregon this year it will come down to whoever can slow their offense down, which considering how they like to run the up-tempo game, will only happen with a team that both comes with a great defensive effort AND does a lot of ball control to keep the Oregon offense off the field.
    • Darren Thomas is FAR further along in his progression as a QB than either of Oregon’s previous QB’s. Both Dixon and Masoli took a whole year to “get” the offense and have both the running and throwing skills to make it work. Thomas is probably their best QB yet.
    • Oregon’s defense on the other hand, looked exposable, particularly in the 1st half. I must admit they definitely dialed it up a notch in the 2nd half and looked pretty strong, but I think that was in part because they figured out Luck’s schtick and brought the heat.
    • Boiling it down for the Bears, I have lots of hope the Bears can beat Stanford in the Big Game, but beating Oregon is going to be quite a struggle unless they have road issues this year.
  2. Washington at USC:
    • Let their be no mistake, USC is downright mediocre. This wasn’t a great
      performance by UW nor was Locker some unstoppable force. I guarantee you that USC doesn’t give up that game winning FG drive at the end of the game back when Carroll is coach. Heck, if UW doesn’t get conservative once in FG range, they easily score a TD on that drive.
    • This wasn’t like last year’s game where USC was without their star QB or anything like that. USC had all the pieces and stunk anyway.
    • USC got lucky in the 2nd quarter when a good forced fumble turned into a touch-back isntead of the TD for UW it was about to be because the refs made a bad call. While you can’t blame the on-the-field refs for making a tough call about whether the ball crossed the goal-line inside the pilon and it’s understandable that the replay refs didn’t overturn it because the one good angle was obscured by Locker’s body, I can guarantee you that ball did not go inside the pilon. This was a pivotal moment in the game and USC might have lost a blowout if it wasn’t for this lucky break.
    • I’ve got a lot more hope than a week ago that the Bears can go down to the LA Coliseum and beat USC and I still think the Bears will lay waste to UW when they come to Berkeley at the end of the season.
  3. WSU at UCLA:
    • I didn’t see this game, but based on the stats and drive log UCLA’s secondary got exposed and that’s why the game was closer than expected. Riley’s performance is going to be key because we’re not going to win this one on the ground. Their rush defense continues to look stingy.
    • On the flip side, UCLA is getting rolling with their Pistol offense running game. 437 yards of rushing!?! This doesn’t worry me much though. I don’t think it was the fundamentals of the Pistol that got the Bears, it was the particulars of how well Nevada ran it. UCLA doesn’t have the personnel or the experience to do what Nevada did.
    • For those who don’t know, WSU was down 14-20 at halftime and scored two TD’s to have a 28-20 mid-3rd quarter lead before UCLA rattled off 3 TD’s including a 2-point conversion on their 1st to tie the game at the end of the 3rd quarter. The final score doesn’t well indicate just how close it was.
    • Also for those who don’t know, Prince didn’t play due to injury, it was backup Richard Brehaut who was executing the offense, but he didn’t rush much. It was the two running backs who did the damage. Prince will be back for the Cal game, or at least that’s the way it looks.
    • As for WSU, while they’re not as improved as I thought, they’ve clearly got more heart than last year and I still think they’ll pull an upset or two just to make the conference more interesting. The Bears need to be ready to play a good game up on the frozen potato patch (not to be confused with the frozen tundra).
  4. ASU at OSU:
    • Arizona State might be undefeated right now if their QB wasn’t so mistake prone. Threet has the look of a very good QB, but he throws interceptions like they’re going out of style. 3 against OSU and FOUR against Oregon.
    • The other reason ASU keeps losing games is their penalties, although they did better versus OSU.
    • Overall I think ASU is a dangerous team in that they’re going to put together a couple of complete games and beat some teams that will look like head scratchers when all is said and done. All you can do is hope they don’t bring that game against your team. At the same time, they’re inconsistency is their downfall.
    • OSU continues to be an enigma to me. How good is Boise? How good is TCU? Can they put a win together when the other team isn’t mistake prone? I’d sure love for the Bears to play them sooner rather than later, because as always you get the feeling they’re slowly putting it together and are going to be tough to beat in Corvallis in November (well, two days from it, anyway).

Go Bears!