In case any of you has an hour to kill, here's my diatribe on my first live viewing of the basketball Bears,
men's version. I saw the final in Vegas against Florida State. I didn't return from my holiday travels in time for the UNLV game. Let's see, we're 5-0 without me in attendance, 0-1 with me. TypiCal me.
At least I had a good view at center court. UNLV played the third-place game, thanks to us, and 99% of the crowd filed out. This was, as an ESPN dude said decades ago, "An MCI special -- friends and family only." Maybe they were in the concourse, where they serve drinks and show sports -- great concept. I took advantage of those features during the UNLV-Cincy game.
Greetings to everyone as I finally come up for air after three months of amazing craziness on the Obama campaign in Las Vegas. In case any of you still want to hear from me – and even if you don’t – I thought that an inside account of what we did to help Barack win Nevada convincingly might interest you.
• All right, all right, you can abandon this e-mail campaign. I’ll write more about what matters more to you – Britney, O.J…. Just be patient while we care about the Bears for a while.
• The Golden Bears took care of business against Louisiana Tech last Saturday, 42-12. By the transitive property, Cal is 29 points better than Hawaii, 30 points better in regulation.
• Lavelle Hawkins and Jeff Tedford answered my question, “Why doesn’t Tedford use DeSean Jackson on the kickoff return team?” Hawkins’ 90-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff inspired Tech coach Derek Dooley to gather his team on the sideline and change his motivational pre-game speech to, “Never mind.”
• The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that Tedford forgot more football in a molecule of his left middle fingernail than I ever knew.
• You know that you have a strong team when you lead by a touchdown before you can finish your second warm Natural Light at the Beta house.
• After I sweated out another nervous Cal victory and cursed the coaching staff for nearly letting a 20-point lead slip away, I focused on the two relevant words of this sentence – Cal victory.
• Apparently Jeff Tedford inserted some substitutes on defense when the Bears took a 34-14 lead. I could have used Tedford when I “played” high school sports.
• Apparently Justin Forsett did not play the last few series because of an injury. According to some posters on Bearinsider.com, Tedford kept Forsett on the sidelines for missing a blocking assignment. Their source? Joe Starkey.
• My buddy Greg Heywood, from his car Saturday,: “I’m going to listen to Starkey now. I’ll call you if I want to know what’s happening in the game.”
• Oh, settle down. Before you flood me with hate mail, Joe Starkey is the most amazing, sensational announcer in the history of college football.
• Cal enters tomorrow’s game at Colorado State as about a 14-point favorite. No problem, right?
• Apparently you can’t expect to roll out of bed, show up at 11:00 a.m. Pacific at an opponent’s stadium and expect to dominate. You can’t even expect to roll out of the locker room after halftime with a 14-point lead and win, as we learned at Arizona last year.
• It amazes me when football teams overlook opponents. How much evidence do you need that on any given Saturday, anything can happen? Just look at last Saturday: Appalachian State took Michigan lightly, and they needed to block a last-second field goal to escape with a win.
• Before we offer brief analysis and present a prediction for tomorrow’s contest, let’s update a couple of NFL stories:
• Dallas quarterback coach Wade Wilson explained that he was using human growth hormone to try to cure impotence. OK, so now I see why the league suspended him for five games. You can’t give your offense an unfair advantage, just because they can’t score... oh, he was talking about his own impotence? Never mind.
Back in Tennessee one year ago, I volunteered my thoughts to anyone and everyone that the full story had not been told. It was only halftime in this home-and-home series. The impressive “W” by the Bears Saturday night gave the program and the conference some national street cred.
We’ll discuss the Bears in a bit, but we’re also fired up for real NFL football, so let’s talk about the pros (and cons) today, too:
• The NFL suspended Dallas quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson for using performance-enhancing drugs. That’s right, the quarterbacks coach. Could someone please forward me the memo that we now care what coaches are using? Did anyone care when Bill Parcells forced the Irving Sizzler out of business with his record-setting all-you-can-eat buffet performance?
• Wilson was trying to manage his diabetes, for crying out loud. What competitive advantage are we worried about him gaining? Does HGH allow you to channel your rational thoughts into Tony Romo’s head when he’s thinking about throwing into triple coverage?
• When the San Francisco Chronicle wrote the headline, “Teams Interested in (Andrew) Walter,” that was short for, “NFL teams are interested in Walter starting for the Raiders again so that the Raiders will continue to stink.”
• Dearrrr, SEC schools. Won't you come out west to play? Big respect to Tennessee for scheduling this series, but did they sign the deal in 2001 when the Bears were 1-10? Do you admire the courage of all of the AD's ringing the Michigan phone off the hook?
Happy football season, Bears. Get fired up! We’re back to give you more Cal football blog entertainment. We’ll continue writing these until the end of the season or until both of you stop reading them, whichever comes first.
We’ll give you previews of September 1 and the Pac-10 season. But first, in case you care about anything else that's happened this summer while I wasn't paying attention, let's talk amongst ourselves:
• In my book, Hank Aaron still holds the all-time home run record with 755. Declaring that Barry Bonds broke Aaron’s record is similar to saying that a 30-year-old in his mother’s basement surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s “scoring record” by using his Jenna Jameson doll 10,001 times.
• Dear, Greg Anderson. Won’t you come out to play? Oh, that’s right, you can’t, because you’re hanging out in jail for the fun of it instead of talking about Bonds.
• This week’s Beatles trivia: About whom did Lennon and McCartney write “Dear Prudence?” See the answer at the end of the article. We’re starting the season with an easy one, especially easy if I’ve asked you this question about a hundred times in a Berkeley bar after midnight.
• I’ve enjoyed Roger Cossack’s analysis of the Michael Vick case on ESPN, but he enjoys listening to himself talk a little much for my taste. The other night, he nearly tied the all-time record for saying “Michael Vick” in a sentence, a record set in July by Michael Vick.
I wanted to use singular-plural agreement with the title and Joe Starkey’s 1982 Big Game call, but does “Cardinal” agree with “Bears?” Come on, Stanfurd, give up on the Cardinal experiment.
Well, after this Big Game, maybe. On a day when you need a miracle, your nickname might be appropriate.
The Stanford Daily reported on the boisterous pep rally at the base of Hoover Tower last night. That seems like an appropriate setting to commiserate about the Great Depression that is Stanfurd football these days.
We missed – as did all but about 200 Stanfurd students – a classic display of class from a Stanfurd administrator. As the campus newspaper reported, Dean of Freshman Julie Lythcott-Haims – is there only one freshman? – inspired the “crowd” with these words: ”If one of those Cal weenies dares to taunt our student section, I’ll kick their you know whats,” she said. Nice touch, Julie.
This Big Game concerns me, mostly because the score will be 0-0 until about 12:05 p.m. I feel good, but I’m a little less confident about Cal than I was about Georgetown before their 1982 national championship game against Villanova.
Regardless of the result, we’ll play Texas A & M in the Holiday Bowl. Hey NCAA: nice playoff system. I’m concerned about our motivation, but if our players care about the Big Game half as much as my friends and I do, we’ll do fine.
Four in a row in the Big Game does not satisfy me. Let’s enjoy the drive for five and celebrate one hell of a ride by this senior class. Jump on them early and often, Bears, and give every senior a chance to Play. Thank you Steve Levy, thank you Daymeion Hughes, thank you one and all.
I'm going with Cal 56, Stanfurd 0, making it Cal 182-32 in the five Tedford years. In other words, Stanfurd down by 150.
Let’s Go Bears.
I guess that I picked the wrong week to start a low-sodium diet. I’m a little salty about last Saturday’s events in South Central, and I don’t mind telling you.
Whenever I criticize Coach Tedford, I begin with this preface that I never envision changing: I am thrilled that we have him. I promise that I will not donate to the Arizona Cardinals’ coaching fund, for instance.
I criticize because I care. Consistent with my masochistic existence, I watched my recording of the Cal-U$C game. These truths became more evident in my living room than in the fog of the Coliseum that night:
Tedford is one of the most passive big-game coaches in my memory. I should qualify that statement by pointing out that my memory often fails to tell me whether I shampooed thirty seconds earlier.
I have never seen a coach take less advantage of 2nd-and-1 opportunities. In five years in that situation, Tedford has run the ball somewhere around 100% of the time. This year, we’ve had more trouble running for a yard than I’ve had getting out of bed after a post-game night in Berkeley.
To help fire myself up for Saturday’s Rose Bowl battle between Cal and U$C, I’ve been listening to The Who’s “Quadrophenia.” As usual, the album resonates for me in today’s world. Some of Pete Townsend’s brilliant lines bounce back into my head as I write about last week’s game and this one.
You were under the impression
That when you were walking forward
You'd end up further onward
But things ain't quite that simple.
Excuse me if I’m a little bitter about our trials and tribulations in Tucson. I’ll begin with my bottom line: I’m thrilled that we have Jeff Tedford at the helm. Does that mean that we give him immunity from criticism? Absolutely not. The nation spoke loudly last week, voting for Congressional oversight.
You thought you were chasing a destiny calling
You only earned what we gave you
Compliment #1 of a precious few in this post: Tedford criticized himself after our crazy loss to the Wildcats. Remember the days of such leaders of men as Keith Gilbertson? The guy disparaged his players in the media so much, he blamed them for not stopping him before he devoured a dozen doughnuts.
No surprise, I told lies
I’m the punk in the gutter
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I look forward to reading your comments on my contributions. Please feel free to disagree with whatever I write. I am unafraid of dissenting opinions. I fear only ex-girlfriends and carnies, especially when they belong in both categories.