This FanPost was inspired by the flea flicker that Cignetti & Tedford called just when the play calling became boring and conservative. You would have thought these guys listen to Rush everyday. I remember yelling “oh shit” in an excited did-they-just-do-that? type of way as soon as Best pitched it back to Riley.
For awhile I’ve been thinking about how to boost the prestige of Cal football and the Pac-10 conference. Opinions in college football count more than opinions in any other sport until computers replace humans. The Bay Area (thank goodness!) is not the South or the Midwest so it is nearly impossible for Cal and other members of the Pac-10 to surpass rural America with established programs. My friend is an OU Sooners fan and I tell him college football makes schools and states relevant that no one ever thinks about. I’ve developed three ideas that are fun to think about and would help boost the image of Cal (if it wins) and the Pac-10. The other ideas will be relased in due couse. I welcome any comments or critiques.
1) Cal should develop an out-of-conference (OOC) rivalry. Obviously, it’s hard to start a rivalry but everyone has to start somewhere. Criteria include a) talented teams, b) passionate fan bases, c) ability to bring in publicity and $, d) help recruiting, e) have general disdain for the other school. The latter may take some time to develop. Notre Dame-U$C, Clemson-South Carolina, and Florida-Florida St. are excellent rivalry games that are OOC. Generally, these teams are located geographically close to one another (Notre Dame being the exception). Here are a few ideas:
Cal vs. Tennessee: Cal has started something with Tennessee where each team won home/home games at the start of the season. Tennessee fans came out in numbers to Berzerkely. I’m guessing Cal didn’t represent quite as well, but there are usually decent numbers of visiting Cal fans (hey, it’s the Bay Area!). The games were at night and picked up by ESPN and ABC. It’s tough to beat good teams at home. Cal fans were crazy that game. I thought Tennessee fans were going to bring Neyland Stadium down with the noise they were generating. Why not make a 10-year pact to play every year with alternating home games? Tennessee has shown it is willing to travel west and Cal (like other Pac-10 teams) has not hesitated to play good OOC teams. I considered Big 10 foes like Michigan St. and Minnesota but they just don’t have the same pizzazz. The main drawback is the distance.
Cal vs. Colorado. These guys are lined up to play in 2010 at Berkeley so we have some precedence developing. These schools are geographically closer to one another. It is easy to get an affordable flight to Denver and Boulder isn’t too far from the airport. Hell, driving or taking the train isn’t that bad. Especially with “road sodas.” I think they are the closest BCS school outside of the Pac-10. Colorado is down in the Big 12 but certainly could be back up on top if it can figure out how to out-recruit Big 12 South teams (sounds like Cal and $C to me). I believe Colorado has passionate Buffs fans. They have one of the coolest traditions in all of sports: “Ralphie,” a 1300-lb bison, runs out onto the field with 5 students guiding her with ropes and 6 others flanking her without ropes. I’m thinking Ralphie can do what she wants to do and 5 students with ropes aren’t going to slow her down. In some aspects, the greater Denver metro area is like CA. They differ in politics and diversity; CO is a swing state and lacks non-Caucasians while CA is very diverse and votes Democratic. Berkeley and Boulder areas attract more “intelligent people” than other regions of their state. Colorado was the top out-of-state school chosen by members of my high school class. The main drawback is that the Buffs are down; Colorado was 6-6 last year and lost to ‘Bama in the Independence Bowl. However, programs cycle up and down and Colorado certainly has the potential to rebound.
Cal vs. Fresno St. This one is intriguing. Fresno St. is from a non-BCS conference (WAC) but, under Coach Pat Hill, has developed a successful program in Fresno of all places. Fresno is also the best non-Pac-10 team in CA surpassing Tomey’s Spartans and San Diego (STD) St. While Fresno and Berkeley are within gameday driving distance they are miles apart when it comes to just about anything else. Urban vs. rural, Democrat/Marxist vs. Republican, excellent university vs. 4-year community college. Fresno St. has crazy ass fans too. In fact, they might embarrass Cal fans at Berkeley home games. Pat Hill would take about 3 seconds to agree to this rivalry game and, I believe, has called out Cal for not playing them. He has scheduled (and beaten) K-St., Washington, Oregon St., Wisconsin, and Colorado. All of these victories were on the road. They nearly beat Bush/Leinart’s $C team in the Coliseum. Seven DB’s have gone onto the NFL under Hill's watch. Tedford has played QB for Fresno St. and previously served as a QB coach at his alma mater. The main drawbacks include the questions of national relevance and if Fresno St can succeed without Pat Hill when he retires or moves on.
Other Schools. I considered Texas, TCU, Boise St., Utah, and BYU as well. The non-BCS schools can be considered good teams some years and cupcakes other years. Texas, I believe, doesn’t have the balls to play Cal. Ever. They did schedule Arkansas but they are, of course, down this year. I don’t think TCU and Utah have the necessary passionate fan base. Boise St. has gained tremendous popularity this decade. BYU has a passionate Mormon fan base that follows them everywhere. None of these compare to the three mentioned vida infra.
I have two more ideas that I’ll release in the coming days. Please discuss!
I am carp and I approve this FanPost.