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Who you rooting for this Saturday?


This weekend is Championship Game Weekend! So who are you rooting for this weekend?

The only two games that really concern Cal will be the Pac-12 Championship game between Oregon-UCLA, and the result of the Baylor – Texas game.

I know that lots of Cal fans would love to have a matchup against Texas in the Holiday Bowl after Texas’ Mac Brown cried his team into the Rose Bowl, stealing the spot from Cal. A Cal victory against Texas in the Holiday Bowl would mean a lot to our boosters and to our current recruits, especially those who live in Texas. However, there are a few things that has to happen for a Cal – Texas matchup at the Holiday Bowl.

#1: Baylor must beat Texas

The #5 Big 12 team is usually selected to go the Holiday Bowl. This means that Baylor must beat out Texas at home. This game will be featured on ABC at 12:30 PT this Saturday. Go Baylor Bears!

#2 Oregon must beat UCLA

This is very likely to happen considering that UCLA is only in this because of weird set of events and USC’s ineligibility. When Oregon beats UCLA, Oregon will go on to the Rose Bowl while Stanfurd will most likely head to a BCS Bowl. Leaving the Alamo Bowl for Washington and the Holiday Bowl for Cal. There is no way that the Holiday Bowl will pass up Cal because Cal has always had a good showing in San Diego. However, in the off chance that Oregon does lose to UCLA, Cal may still go the Holiday Bowl because the Holiday Bowl Committee may not want to have Washington again for back to back seasons. The Pac-12 Championship Game will be featured this Friday on FOX at 5:00pm PT. Will Slick Rick pull of the biggest upset of the year?

#3 Holiday Bowl must choose Cal & Texas, and Alamo Bowl must choose Washington

Even with a Baylor and Oregon victory, the Holiday Bowl committee still has to choose Cal and Texas. This, fortunately, is very likely. Washington will most likely be chosen by Alamo because Washington has been on television more often in San Antonio than Cal, and Washington beat Cal this season. There is a very small chance that the Alamo Bowl might choose Cal because our fan base is much closer to San Antonio. If Washington is chosen for the Alamo Bowl, the Holiday Bowl will happily take Cal because of our California fan base and because Cal won the head to head matchup against Utah. If Texas loses this Saturday, there is a small chance that the Holiday Bowl chooses Missouri over Texas because Missouri beat Texas this season. Texas fans always travel well and they also bring more national attention than any other Big 12 team. The bowl selections should come out sometime this Sunday, if not some time next week.

 

Let’s see if this all pans out, so we can smash on those Longhorns. Cal fans should start buying your Holiday Bowl tickets now, before Texas fans buys them all out (which will shoot up resale prices) if they lose this Saturday. Oh and also Great Deal on SF-San Diego flights through Travelzoo HERE.

Go Bears!


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Shawn X.T.’s Weekday Links


Cause there’s only one reason for doing anything that you set out to do. if you don’t want to be the best, then there’s no reason going out and trying to accomplish anything.~ Joe Montana


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It’s Tough in the Pac-12


The Pac-12 schedule may be the hardest schedule in all of college football. The Pac-12 and the Big 12 are the only conferences who play 9 conference games. The Big 12 was forced to play round robin after Nebraska and Colorado left the conference, and they are now finding out how tough it is to stay undefeated (just take a look at Oklahoma State). It is almost impossible for any Pac-12 team to come out of the conference unscathed, so kudos to the 2010 Oregon team and the 2004 USC team that went undefeated in conference play. Conferences like the SEC claim that they only have to play 8 games because teams in their conference are much better, but that is only because their rankings are overly hyped and biased. I bet that if LSU was in the Pac-12 they would have at least one loss right now. Only the toughest survive the Pac-12.

 

The Circle of Parity of the Pac-12


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Kendricks named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, 4 Players on All-Pac 12 First Team


Mychal Kendricks has been named Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year:

From ESPN:

Kendricks, a senior from Fresno, Calif., leads the Golden Bears and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 8.0 tackles per game (96 total). He is also tied for third in the Conference with 13 tackles for loss. Kendricks has played a key role on a Cal defense that ranks 27th nationally in total defense, holding opponents to 339.42 yards per game, and has amassed 2.67 sacks per game to rank seventh. Kendricks has recorded three sacks for 30 yards this season. He is Cal’s active career leader in several defensive categories including tackles (248), tackles for loss (35) and sacks (13.5). California’s defense held seven opponents to 15 or fewer points this season.

 

1st Team All-Pac 12: WR Keenan Allen, OL Mitchell Schwartz, LB Mychal Kendricks, and P Bryan Anger

2nd Team All-Pac 12: DL Trevor Guyton

Honorable Mention:  DB D.J. Campbell, DB Sean Cattouse, OL Justin Cheadle, LB D.J. Holt, WR Marvin Jones, TE Anthony Miller, RB Isi Sofele, OL Matt Summers-Gavin, PK Giorgio Tavecchio, and DL Aaron Tipoti

 


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Shawn X.T.’s Weekday Links


Let’s face it, you have to have a slightly recessive gene that has a little something to do with the brain to go out on the football field and beat your head against other human beings on a daily basis.~ Tim Green


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Cal’s Bowl Destinations still Unclear Heading into Final Week


It would be "Happy Holidays" for Bears fan if we can experience Tedford raising the Holiday Bowl trophy again this year

Most other years, Cal fans could be making travel plans to San Diego, San Antonio, Las Vegas, or even staying home for the holidays if they wished to attend a Cal bowl game. However, the Pac-12 decided to join the masses last year and established a championship game. As a result, the Golden Bears could find themselves anywhere from the Alamo Bowl, which has the first choice of Pac-12 teams after the BCS, all the way to a possible doomsday scenario of playing another game at AT&T or even the New Mexico Bowl (unlikely) along with everything else in between. . I’ll highlight the best potential scenario of playing in San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl, all the way to the possibility of a New Year’s Eve game in San Francisco. It’s pretty insane how games being played in Atlanta, Bedlam, Indy, obviously Eugene and even Charlotte  could affect Cal’s bowl destination.

Alamo Bowl - If the favorites win out (LSU beats Georgia, Oregon beats UCLA, Wisconsin beats MSU, and Michigan is locked out of the top 14 of the BCS), the Alamo Bowl may opt to take Cal over Washington even though the Huskies hold the head to head tiebreaker and have the edge in conference record. Reason being UW is struggling and Cal is surging (at least on paper) and they may find the Big-12 opponent may “pair” better with Cal (Texas anyone?). They key is Oregon and Stanford need to be taken by the BCS in order for this possibility to pan out and for the Alamo Bowl to see Cal as a more attractive match-up. Therefore, a Clemson win over Virginia Tech (currently ahead of Stanford in the BCS) or an Oklahoma win over Oklahoma State would bump Stanford up to #4 and assure them of a BCS berth.

Holiday Bowl – The most likely scenario, involves the favorites winning out next week, Stanford getting picked up for the BCS, and then the Alamo selecting UW over Cal for San Antonio. For the 4th time in 8 years, Cal will be heading to a San Diego for a bowl game. We would play a “softer” Big-12 opponent, and the proximity would give Cal more of a neutral to home field to work with as opposed to playing deep in Big-12 territory. If it’s a choice between UW and Cal (Stanford doesn’t get picked up for BCS), the Holiday Bowl may not exercise their “no-repeat” and clause take UW if they wanted.

Sun Bowl – What is largely believed to be the “floor” or “stop-loss” for Cal. The Golden Bears have yet to play in the Sun Bowl (only Pac-10 team) in its 75+ year history. El Paso doesn’t seem like a “sexy” destination, but we would likely get an opponent from what’s perceived to be the weaker ACC and this would be a good chance for us to show-off our talent in Texas in a victory.

Las Vegas Bowl – I really fail to see the Bears landing here, but it is entirely possible Las Vegas would take Cal over presumably ASU, if the Pac-12 produces only 1 BCS team, and the Holiday opts for UW and then the Sun takes Utah because of proximity. Cal fans probably had a great time here in 2005 (and who couldn’t use another Vegas trip?) when we beat the storming Mormans 35-28. But the likely opponent here would be Boise State or the team who beat the Broncos, TCU. Both those teams travel well, and this would not be an ideal situation for a young Cal team to play either of those teams this season.

Kraft Fight for Hunger – Our home away from home might just house us one more time. The buses and billboards around San Francisco saying “AT&T Park, open 5 more times this year” might need to be changed to 6. If UCLA somehow upsets Oregon, the Bruins would take the auto-bid and play in the Rose Bowl. If Stanford then gets passed up for Michigan or another team in the top 14, it would mean Stanford AND Oregon would be relegated to San Antonio and San Diego and bump everyone down a slot from the Cal to Las Vegas Bowl scenario. When we beat Oregon State, we presumed this would be our bowl game. A good victory in Tempe raised our expectations, but by no means were there any guarantees. The Kraft Fight for Hunger is supposed to be tied in the Army. But since they are likely to play in the Military Bowl, it would leave an at large bid likely. The Big-10 has 10 bowl eligible teams so Kraft Fight for Hunger might look there.

New Mexico Bowl – If Oregon wins, Stanford doesn’t get a BCS at-large, and every other bowl finds one reason or another to pass up on Cal, and finally UCLA wins a petition to play in a bowl game despite a 6-7 record, Cal may fall here. The NCAA has a track history of being harsh on these petitions (remember ASU got denied last year for a 6-6 record since San Jose renegaded on them to play Alabama) so I wouldn’t expect this to possibility to play out.

Regardless of the outcome, it’s important to keep in mind, these bowl games are strictly exhibition games. These sites are going to do whatever possible to get eyeballs on the television and butts in the seats. The silver lining is that Cal fans can feel better about their bowl possibilities after winning in Tempe than they did last week.

In summary, if Cal wants to play in the most prestigious bowl possible. Root for LSU to win (to avoid Georgia taking an automatic BCS slot), root for Clemson to win (allow Stanford to jump Virginia Tech to get to #4 and an automatic BCS bowl birth), root for Oklahoma to beat the Pokes in Stillwater and hope for the Ducks take care of business in Eugene.


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Cal Unplugs Sparky in the Desert to Secure Winning Season


Josh Hill and Steve Williams celebrates as Hill's interception clinches Cal's 47-38 victory over ASU on Black Friday

It was Black Friday all over the United States on Friday (which made it an interesting choice on why the Sun Devils didn’t bust out their black uniforms Friday night in the dessert). Many Cal fans probably left Vacaville or Gilroy feeling like winners on outlet clothing, just to come home to another surprise and great find. A Cal victory on the road! Outside of Pullman, Tempe has been the place which Cal has typically cashed in heavily on for road victories during the Jeff Tedford era (outside the slide of 2007). We were able to rid ourselves of the Beaver curse this year, while keeping intact our clamps on Sparky. Three big reasons which lead to the Bear’s victory:

1. Great job by our offensive line and our ground attack. Isi and CJ combined for 193 yards and more important averaged more than 6 yards a carry, keeping the chains moving and the Sun Devils’ defense panting on the field in this back and forth game. Zach also made some beautiful zone reads to pick up some huge first downs and a rushing TD. I loved Tedford’s mix of the running attack this game, as alternating between the contrasting running styles of Isi and CJ definitely kept ASU off-balance this game.

2. Zach took care of the ball. Maynard didn’t have a great statistical game. He only had 237 yards (74 of which came from a flip to CJ on a broken play), but he made plays with his feet when he needed to and placed the ball only where his receivers could catch it. We saw how effective Maynard is when he rolls out to his left, and how his ability to extend plays (sound like another Cal QB in the NFL now?) makes him extremely dangerous especially if he keeps his eyes looking down-field as witnessed by the 74 yard flip to CJ for a touchdown.

3. Cal got some lucky bounces their way. The Cameron Marshall fumble in the 4th quarter as the Sun Devils’ were down 6 and driving could have easily been ruled down by contact. However, the ref saw enough evidence to overturn the call. Of course maybe this was makeup for the Richard Rodgers “fumble” near the end of the 2nd half or the lack of a replay on what appeared to be another fumble by Jamal Miles earlier in the 4th quarter. There was also Isi’s fumble which was luckily recovered by fullback John Tydall early in the 4th allowing the Bears to salvage 3 points on the drive. In addition, Vontaze’s reputation probably earned him his second unsportsmanlike conduct and a trip to the bench which allowed Cal to pound the ball inside to bleed out most of the fourth quarter. Lastly, there was the Giorgio tipped field goal, which if it was even kicked from one yard further behind would have had Cal fans shaking their head and probably doubting the Bears could hold a 6 point lead. The moral of the story, probably better sometimes to be lucky than to be good.


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Jason A.W.’s Cal vs. ASU First Half in Game Analysis


Kennan Allen looks to get open for a lot of bombs this evening in Tempe

- We’ll see how much Arizona State has to play for after Colorado’s win today eliminates ASU’s chance at the Pac-12 Championship Game.

- Great first drive for Cal, anybody know who Jackson Bouza was before today? Giorgio comes up with a clutch 48 yard kick to give the Bears an early lead. Cal 3-0

- Cal is going to need to step up their running game defense against Marshall and Osweiler if they don’t want to get blown out tonight. Our run defense got cut through like swiss cheese that drive. ASU 7-3

- Cal looks great in their response drive. Great run by Isi. I’m surprised Isi attempted to reverse the field on that play, but it worked. Isi caps off a nice drive and runs it in to give the Bears the lead.

- Craig and Mike keep mentioning about Zach Maynard’s accuracy is starting to get annoying.

- Trevor Guyton with a great strip and Kendricks with a big run back after special teams rears its ugly head again (ALLLOOOMMAARRR?).

- I like the aggressive play calling and going for the bomb right after the turnover. Great read by Maynard to get the touchdown. Love to see more zone read plays on 3rd and short.

- Great analysis by the announcers pointing out how Cal is playing with 4 down linemen because of injuries to Wilkerson and Whiteside.

- Steve Williams is having a rough night, gets beat on an out route for an ASU touchdown.

- Cal can’t get the stop on 4th and 10 (good aggresive call by Erickson in my opinion). Negates a nice deflection by Marc Anthony the play earlier.

- Great 3rd down conversion by Cal, to overcome a 10 yard holding penalty. Miller with a big catch. Would like more plays thrown to Miller.

- Nice reverse negated by a block in the back followed by another holding call negating a nice screen play to Allen.

- Nice interception, glad to get 3, would have been nice to get 7 to really put down the Sun Devils.

- If Cameron Marshall can’t play, ASU will likely go to the air more like they did on the converted 4th and 10 (ughhhh why can’t we stop these?). Being the Sun Devils within 6.

- Richard Rodgers probably tried doing a little too much so the ruling on the field of fumble might be hard to overturn. This is a huge play as it looks rather ambiguous whether he was down. Cal defense needs to come up big here and hold them for a field goal attempt.

- Cal down 1. Cal let’s a couple of golden chances to keep a big lead go by them (score a TD, 4th and 10, secure the football).


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Shawn X.T.’s Pac-12 Predictions: Week 13


[Overall predictions]: 58-19 [The Week Before]: 2-4

Talk about a bad week for predictions. So many upsets. Unfortunately, Cal couldn’t be part of that.

There are a lot on the line for Utah, UCLA, and Arizona State this weekend.

Colorado 17 – Utah 32: Colorado covers (22)

California 27 – Arizona State 17: California covers (5.5)

Oregon State 10 – Oregon 42: Oregon covers (-28)

Louisiana-Lafayette 17 – Arizona 32: Arizona covers (-13.5)

Washington State 24 – Washington 35: Washington covers (-9)

Notre Dame 21 – Stanford 38: Stanford covers (-7)

UCLA 17 – USC 32: USC covers (-15)

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