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Archive for November, 2010

Washington OTRH Podcast

Obviously Saturday was a tough day, but I think I took that loss harder than most. You’ll hear me at my worst in this podcast. “Enjoy”:

Big Game OTRH Podcast

Since the team has been responding to my late posted podcasts so well (dripping with sarcasm), I decided to keep the trend going this week. Or perhaps I needed about 2 days to completely ignore Cal football to get some sanity back.

But if you want to listen to me rant and rave before taking that much needed sanity break, here’s your chance:

Still going to the Holiday bowl?

When I did my pre-season predictions I predicted the Bears would go 9-3 and fall just short of the Rose Bowl, ending up somewhere around the Holiday Bowl. If you had told me at the time that the Bears were going to go 6-6 and end up in the Holiday Bowl I would have told you to do some basic math that the rest of us learned in Kindergarten.

But it turns out not everything we needed to learn was in Kindergarten because it appears that if the Bears win this Saturday, there’s a VERY good chance the Bears go to the Holiday bowl. Here’s what needs to happen:

Of course Cal needs to beat Washington, or everything else is a moot point. Also…

  • Stanford needs to beat Oregon State, keeping them on track for an at-large BCS game (seeing Auburn lose helps that scenario too, opening up a Rose Bowl slot for Stanford with a non-AQ team in the BCS championship game, but is not necessary… there’s no reason the Fiesta wouldn’t want Stanford at 11-1).
  • Oregon needs to win out and go to the National Championship game (also ensures OSU is not bowl eligible, in combination with OSU’s loss to Stanford).
  • Finally, although again not absolutely necessary, USC and Arizona winning their rivalry games against UCLA and ASU respectively, keeps the math easier and the Holiday bowl doesn’t even get to pick between Cal and ASU or UCLA.

That seems like a lot of conditions, but in every case the favored team winning is to our advantage. But to be fair, the worst case scenario could see us FAR down the list:

If both Oregon and Stanford lose to OSU, they’ll take the Rose and Alamo bowls. Arizona and Oregon State will take the Holiday and Sun. In theory UCLA, if they beat ASU and USC could leap-frog Cal into the Vegas leaving Cal in the nut… er… Kraft “Fight Hunger” bowl in SF.

So, anywhere between the Holiday and Hungry Nut… but more likely close to the Holiday than the Fighting Nut.

Pick’Em technical difficulties

The webhosting service that we use is having major problems this weekend, starting Friday afternoon. It started with the whole thing being down. They’ve slowly brought things back up, but as of right now, I still can’t write files, including my program code.

What that means in practice is:

  • If you input scores after Friday afternoon they might not have been entered.
  • The game data is out of date because my scripts can’t write the data to the disk.

We’re working to get it back up and running…

UPDATE at 11:30 AM Monday… Everything is finally back up and running. Let me know if you see any problems.

California Golden Blogs, get some perspective.

Over at California Golden Blogs (essentially the go-to Cal blog), Avinash recaps the big game with an appropriate headline: “113th Big Game Recap: Golden Bears Lose To Better Team.”

And so what’s his first paragraph about? How the old alumni suck and apparently cost Cal the game.

The Stanford Cardinal dominated the California Golden Bears, taking back the Axe with a final score of 48-14. By the time Andrew Luck flattened Sean Cattouse on a scramble that’ll be replayed for ages down at the Farm, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact there would be no upset. The crowd, so energetic a week ago, was flat for most of the game. The secret of Big Game week is Cal crowds are full but rarely boisterous. It’s filled with old types from alumni reunions dating back to the 30s and 40s who never make noise unless Cal is ahead or scores. Since the Bears didn’t score, we could’ve played this game at the War Memorial Opera House and there’d have been more noise generated from the alumni. The only thing I heard for most of the game was “All Right Now”, which is thankfully so forgettable that I’ve already forgotten what it sounds like. Props to the students and the Cal Band for staying until the end of a tough one. Wish I could say the same for the so-called Cal fans on the other side of the stadium.

Wow, yeah, Stanford outclassed us but the real story is that the Cal alumni are old and quiet and not real fans!

I’m getting really tired of the lazy shots at the crowd, particularly the alumni, taken by some bloggers. From where I was sitting, we started out as loud as the Oregon game, even after the fumbled snap led to the field goal. But once your team is down 17-0 and shooting itself in the foot repeatedly against a team that has completely outclassed you, it’s awfully hard to keep up the noise and enthusiasm. Unless you’re young and drunk, apparently.

Cal laid an egg. Stanford is really good. I doubt there’s any appropriate place to rank the noise of the crowd and the second-half enthusiasm of the old alumni in the hierarchy of reasons Cal lost, but if you must, perhaps a bit lower down than the FIRST PARAGRAPH.

Really? The story of the game is that the alumni weren’t loud and left early? Talk about a complete lack of perspective.

Here’s a little writing exercise. Let’s make a list of things that happened in the game. I’ll just make it off the top of my head.

  • Stanford’s offense is really good.
  • Cal brought its entire team to the coin-flip, a classless provocation that fired up the nation’s best one-loss team.
  • Cal has no quarterback because of Riley’s injury.
  • Andrew Luck is really good.
  • Cal bobbled two snaps in the first drive, one recovered by Stanford, firing up the Cardinal.
  • Cal’s offense committed numerous stupid penalties that showed poor coaching, specifically the multiple illegal-formation penalties.
  • Cal’s defense played poorly.
  • Bryan Anger is a good punter.
  • It was rainy, but not as bad as we had feared.
  • A lot of fans left before the game was over.
  • The alumni section just didn’t seem to be as loud as it was against Oregon.

Now you rank those in order of importance, and write your own blog post.

Those “so-called” Cal fans on the other side of the stadium were going before you started, Avniash, and will be going long after you’re gone. They were going when the team didn’t go to a bowl game every year.

And “flat for most of the game?” The Bears were flat for all of the game. And for most of the game, they were trailing by twenty-plus points while being shut out! Wow, you’re right, we should have been gleefully chanting “Roll On Your Bears” every time Cal got a first down after returning a kickoff following one of Stanford’s eight consecutive scores. Perhaps they should have started firing the cannon off after completed passes. That would have riled up the crowd too!

If you want to pour your frustration at Cal getting blown out by Stanford into something, I suggest you find a target that’s a little more appropriate than the people who come every year and pay through the nose to fund the football program and upgrade all of its facilities. (That’s what I did. I found your story. Thanks.)

Oh, wait, I forgot an item for my list of things that happened yesterday.

  • A bunch of spoiled fans who don’t remember the era before Tedford wanted to find a scapegoat for a complete disaster of a game so they chose the alumni, because hey, they’re old and (slightly?) less drunk and introspection is painful so let’s just point a finger across the field and be done with it.

There, that should do it.

[This post started out as a comment on CGB, and you’ll find it over there.]

Oregon OTRH Podcast

Another late week for posting the On The Road Home Podcast. As always it was recorded right after the game, I just took my sweet time posting it. Well, “sweet” might be the wrong word. Is there a word that means “desperately searching for some available”? Things have just been crazy busy between added Church commitments that are taking the vast majority of Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday evenings down, as well as kids activities and work being busy enough that I haven’t been able to steal the hour or so needed to do this on borrowed time.

In any case, it’s late, but enjoy:

Dignity and defense (EMFMV 2010 #9)

Cal loses a home game! But: the “Cal is great at home” theory remains intact. What an amazing defensive performance against Oregon. It beat our “best-case scenarios” hands down. Now Jason and Ken muse about what the Oregon game might mean, preview an increasingly winnable-looking Big Game, and talk about how Ken’s scenario for Pac-10 Bowl Ruination might actually come to pass.

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Identify the “secret word” (which is actually a word this week), win a no-prize.

Cal vs. Oregon Liveblog

Ken’s not making it to Berkeley, and if you’re finding yourself likewise far away, join him here Saturday (late) afternoon for a liveblog. I hear Cal’s playing a highly ranked opponent.

Bowl game swings

It’s been reported in some venues that the Pac-10 could see as little as 3 teams in bowl games. Here’s how:

  1. USC misses because their ineligible
  2. Cal misses because they lose out (UW being the “upset”).
  3. UW misses because they lose to UCLA (or WSU)
  4. UCLA misses because they lose to both ASU and USC
  5. ASU misses because they lose to Stanford and Arizona
  6. OSU misses becasue they lose to Stanford, Oregon and USC
  7. WSU misses because they suck

What’s most notable about that list is that none of them are unreasonable things. There’s no major upsets in the list. So it’s a real possibility. But all it takes is a couple of the “push games” to go the other way and we get a fair number in. If Cal beats UW and UCLA beats ASU, that’s 5 teams in bowl games. If OSU can pull a minor upset of USC at home, that’s 6 teams in bowl games.

But what I find equally interesting is that we could have as many as eight teams in with some upsets:

  1. Oregon is already in
  2. Stanford is already in
  3. Arizona is already in
  4. Cal is in because they beat Stanford
  5. UW is in because they win out (UCLA, WSU, Cal)
  6. UCLA is in because they beat ASU and USC
  7. ASU is in because they beat Arizona and Stanford (and get the FCS waiver)
  8. OSU is in because they beat USC (or Stanford, or Oregon) and WSU

The longest shot of the list is of course ASU, which has little hope of beating both Arizona and Stanford, and then they’d need a waiver (if they beat UCLA too, they wouldn’t need the waiver, but we’d lose UCLA from the list of bowl eligibles). But the rest aren’t all that bad, particularly now that USC seems to be losing some steam.

Just an FYI.

Into the valley of death (EMFMV 2010 #8)

Cal wins a road game! For its next trick, how about playing top-ranked Oregon? Jason and Ken return with thoughts about Washington State, a preview of Saturday’s Oregon game (including how Cal can win! yes, we’re insane), bowl scenarios, Pac-12 scheduling, and more.

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Identify the “secret word,” win a no-prize.

Washington State OTRH Podcast

For those who predicted my overly optimistic due date for the publishing of this podcast on Sunday, well, you were right. Always more going on that I care to remember.

In any case, excuse my length rambling in this one… I had a lot to say about our vision for our beloved Bears. Enjoy:

The road controversy continues…

(Update at Noon: misspoke in the first bullet of the “not about the road” list… correcting to match intent.)

OK, so the Bears finally win on the road, the 20-13 win over otherwise hapless WSU isn’t inspiring a lot of confidence in the Bears on the road. So, what’s the truth?

Arguments for stinking on the road:

  • At home 4-0, road 1-4… it doesn’t get any more simple than that
  • The OSU team that crushed us in Corvallis, lost to the UCLA team we destroyed at home
  • The ASU team we crushed at home, lost a nailbiter to USC in the same stadium we got destroyed by USC
  • That close loss to Arizona in Tucson looks less impressive after they got killed by Stanford

Arguments that it’s not all about the road:

  • Every team we lost to is in front of us in the Pac-10 standings and every team we beat is in front of BEHIND us (something only Oregon at the top and bottom feeders WSU and ASU, and then us, can say)
  • Every team we beat is behind us in the Pac-10 standings
  • Nevada was not a blowout.. it was close and Nevada extended in the end. Plus, their offense is very tough to defend…
  • The OSU loss can be ignored because of the Riley injury
  • Based on the above two bullets, the only “true” egg-lay is USC

The point of this being, it’s not as simple and one sided as it would appear. I still think there’s something about the road that is tough for this team, but it’s not as clear cut as it seems on the surface.

WSU liveblog

Will the Bears finally win one on the road? (in 2008, their only road victory was WSU) Will Mansion play well? We’ll hash it out here live at 1 PM.

Jason and I definitely complement one another

We independently posted on the same news within an hour of one another here (Jason) and here (me) and somehow managed to have almost ZERO duplicative information.

It may look like we’re masters of coordination… I can assure you, we’re not.

Pac-12 schedule released

The conference announced the schedule for 2011 and the rotation moving forward. You can view both here.

So here’s what it means for Cal: (UPDATE at 1:45 PM:… I misread the schedule… updates below in bold/italic)

Every year we’ll play UW, WSU, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford in division. Then we’ll also play USC and UCLA as cross-division rivals. (This of course, we already knew.) Then we’ll alternate between playing ASU and Utah in the odd numbered years (i.e. next year, 2013, etc.) first two years (2011-2012, assumably doing a home and home) and Arizona and Colorado in even numbered years (2012, 2014, etc.) the following two years (2013-2014). That four year cycle repeats indefinitely from there (the listed shedule goes to 2018). (That’s the new revelation.)

Stanford’s schedule will be identical to us, just flip which years they play UA/CU and ASU/Utah.

USC and UCLA have a similarly conceived setup, playing everyone in the south (AZ (UA and ASU) and mountain (CU and Utah) schools) every year along with Cal and Stanford for their every-year cross-division rivals. Then they play a pair of the Northwest schools (Oregon and UW make one pair and WSU and Oregon State make the other). UCLA gets the WSU/OSU pair in odd numbered years the first two years and the OU/UW pair in even numbered years the two years after that and USC gets the opposite.

You can extrapolate everyone else’s schedule, minus which other team from the south the Northwest schools miss each year, from that, but the key news is that the Northwest schools play either USC or UCLA every year, alternating between the two each year playing the same team for two years in a row and then switching to the other (again assumably as a home and home).

It’s a classic, very formulaic Pac-10 minded schedule, just with all the extra provisions that the Pac-12 and it’s annual rivalries require.

I’ll leave the specific of when we play who in 2011 for after the season, because it’ll likely change as non-conference and bye-week tweeks get made, except to say one thing: Just as I predicted on last week’s EMFMV podcast, EVERY Pac-12 school has a game scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend, something that in the past has been fairly rare (at most there would be two games). Now that the last week of the season is reserved for the conference championship game, there’s no other way around the block if you want a bye in the middle of the season.

Told-ya-so! 🙂

New Pac-12 scheduling released

The 2011 schedule is out, as well as the scheduling system for the first eight years of the new Pac-12 conference.

Here’s how Cal’s schedule stacks up:

9/3/11: TBD
9/10/11: TBD
9/17/11: TBD
9/24/11: Cal @ Washington
10/6/11: Cal @ Oregon (Thursday night)
10/13/11: USC @ Cal (Thursday night) (AT&T Park)
10/22/11: Utah @ Cal (AT&T Park)
10/29/11: Cal @ UCLA
11/5/11: WSU @ Cal (AT&T Park)
11/12/11: OSU @ Cal (AT&T Park)
11/19/11: Cal @ Stanford
11/26/11: Cal @ ASU
12/3/11: Pac-10 Championship Game

Of note: Cal’s got two “bye weeks” but they’re on either end of the two Thursday games, which are played in successive weeks. Cal plays its first Thursday home game ever. And the post-Big Game game on Thanksgiving weekend that we’re probably going to be getting most years is a road game, thankfully.

Also note that the Colorado game previously scheduled doesn’t appear on the schedule, and is listed as an open date for both teams. So now Cal has all three of its nonconference games to fill. That’ll be interesting.

A bunch of kids tried their best (EMFMV 2010 #7)

Jason and Ken return with thoughts about the Oregon State loss, a preview of Saturday’s must-win Washington State game, a salute to Kevin Riley, a digression about what’s fair to criticize about college athletes and what isn’t, and much more. Also, Jason is loopy because he had just spent the day at the Giants parade. Cal’s Rose Bowl berth, you are OFFICIALLY on the clock.

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Say the secret word, win a no-prize.

Practice reports

This post was going to be about how the practice reports are showing that Mansion is doing well, has a quick yet powerful release, seems to have good command of the offense and the receivers are happy.

Which all sounds great… BUT…

Isn’t that what all practice reports sound like? I mean, when’s the last time we heard a practice report, other than injury reports, that said something negative? It’s reached the point that when I read that stuff about Mansion, I have no idea what to think and most definitely don’t take it at face value.

Which got me to thinking, is this a Cal specific problem? Do other schools have this problem? I mean, Cal reporters are not exactly kind when it comes to the playing field. They’ll tell it like it is with the best of them. But yet, all we get out of practice is about all the “progress” and how things are gelling. Why is that?

Oregon State OTRH Podcast

Here my thoughts from immediately after the debacle in Corvallis: What will the team be like without Riley? Have we handled Mansion correctly up until now? What else went wrong? You’ll hear about it all. While not exactly early (I always shoot for Sunday), at least I’ve got it posted during the right week.

Listen and weep:

Arizona State OTRH Podcast

Yes, you read that title right, the ridiculously, as in over a week old content that I recorded on the way home from the game, old podcast. Consider it for the record.