Monday, October 23, 2006

Wild Weekend

A recap of Saturday's Cal game is forthcoming from my writing partner. But let me throw in some thought I had about this weekend. With autumn upon us, I decided to head out on a weekend trip in the East with some friends. The downside to this trip was having no access to Fox Sports Pacific and little access to other games. Based on my previous game preview you could see I was supremely confident in the Cal outcome. Also, looking at the rest of Saturday's schedule I thought it would be a pretty uneventful day in college football. Boy was I wrong.

1) Northwestern vs Michgan St.
Coming back from 35 down, Michigan St. did their best impression of the Buffalo Bills vs the Houston Oilers. I think the manner in which they came back, punt blocks, fumble recoveries, interceptions was all the more crazy.

2) Texas vs Nebraska
I caught the score of this game periodically online and I thought Nebraska was going to pull it out. Lets examine the key play. On 3rd and 3, deep in your own territory, Nebraska chooses a pass play with just over 2 minutes left on the clock and up by one point. Now, how could one predict that a fumble would occur but isn't the better play a running play where you possibly get 3 yards but even if you don't, you punt the ball away and pin Texas back in their territory. Their kicker was having a terrible day. It is hard to move the ball that distance with that little time unless you are...

3) Notre Dame vs UCLA
And you have Brady Quinn passing to the Cubs minor league pitcher. UCLA sacked Quinn 5 times and was pressuring him all day. Now, UCLA went with the conservative play calling by running three straight times and burning all three of ND's timeouts. (A little creativity on these running plays would not have hurt, but UCLA played it safe. It is no wonder a LA Times columnist calls the UCLA head coach Dullard). So UCLA punts it away and goes into a prevent defense. I am sure you have heard this before, but a prevent defense only prevents you from winning. The way ND has been pulling out these win, I am beginning to think that Touchdown Jesus is more than just a catchy name.

4) Tennessee vs Alabama
I really wanted Alabama to put this one away. But you have to hand it to Tennessee. They pulled out a tough win against a tough defense. This was not as exciting as some of the other games but Alabama really had Tennessee on the ropes. Rather than play to protect a lead you should play to win.

Cal vs Washington
So I was wrong about the final score. Wrong about the way Cal would score. Pretty spot on about Marshawn's performance. This game was too close for comfort. The Hail Mary was a fluke but quite exciting. Here are my five random thoughts based on my listening to the game over internet radio.

1) How long does the flu last? I chalked up Nate's performance last week to the flu. Maybe it is one of those 14 day viruses. I heard that the wind was really kicking up that day, but he seemed way off on many of his passes.

2) Another case of the dropsies. WR are dropping balls again. I liked how on the final couple drives it seemed like all the necessary clutch throws were caught, but drops really affect the rhythm of a passing game. Let's hope this is an outlier and not a trend.

3) Defense was solid again with 5 picks. Another team tries to challenge Hughes and pays for it. Linebackers look very athletic except for Bishop getting caught from behind by an O-lineman. Take away the two long TD passes (including the Hail Mary) and the defense played a solid game.

4) Syd Thompson had probably his second worst game of the season. Sometimes he is a great tackler and other times he just blows it. Keep it in front of you Syd. We like your speed when you are chasing down running backs, but the nuances of pass defense take experience and time. Until then, keep it in front of you.

5) Bye week is here. And I think we really need it. Lots of dinged up players will have time to heal during the break and come back roaring for the last stretch of the season. Also, Tedford mentioned that he is looking forward to working with some of the younger players. Hopefully we will see some news come out about future stars like James Montgomery and Cameron Morrah.

In the end, a win is a win. We are 7-1, undefeated in the Pac 10 and still on track to play in the Rose Bowl. Go Bears!

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