Previewing the Season : Stanford

25_medium   vs.   24_medium

Game #11 : November 22 vs. Stanford (time and television TBA).

TwistNHook:  Let's try to look on the positive side of last year's humiliating loss to Stanford.  Many of the young fans didn't even think of Stanford as a rival.  USC was the only rival.  Many of the fans who didn't live through the Holmoecaust viewed Stanford as just another team.  Hopefully, this will jumpstart those fans back into the Big Game spirit.

That might be the positive spin on it, but man was it disastrous last year.  Standing there, watching their fans swarm the field with that awful announcer yelling "THE AXE IS COMING HOME" I wanted to shoot myself in the face.  With a gun.

Yellow Fever:  What else would you shoot yourself with?

CBKWit:  That wasn't even the worst thing the announcer said.  He kept referring to us as UC Berkeley or Cal Berkeley throughout the game: "First and Ten UC Berkeley, Standford 14, California Berkeley 10," etc.  I really hope our stadium announcer returns the favor this year:  "Cal-28, Leland Stanford Junior University-1"

TwistNHook:  At least it wasn't UC Cal!

Yellow Fever:  And I'll be honest; I don't even remember watching last year's game.  I'm not even sure I did, or if I blocked it out.  Was I working?  Was I busy?  I have no memory of last year's Big Game at all.  Which is probably just as well.

TwistNHook:  Yes, that was a rather brutal exercise in futility.  Let's never speak of it again.

It looks like Pritchard is the QB here.  He was the one who beat USC, right?  He didn't exactly have shining numbers last year.  He only won 2 of his starts.  USC and, I think, The Game That Shall Not Be Named.

I mean we HAVE to beat these guys.  We just HAVE to!

HydroTech:  The good: Stanfurd's linebackers.  They return all 3 players: WLB Chike Amajoyi, MLB Cinton Snyder, and SLB Pat Maynor.  These players had 47, 96, and 88 tackles respectively.  Combined, these players had 22 tackles for loss!

250px-stanford_tree_blindfolded_medium

"I'm having a great time in Berkeley, guys!"  -  Image via upload.wikimedia.org

The bad: the fact that Stanfurd's leading tackler last year was FS Bo McNally.  McNally had 114 tackles last year... as a free safety.  As in, the guy whose responsibility is to usually tackle the ball carrier when the ball carrier gets past all the other guys on defense.  So it's great that Stanfurd has a stud FS who can save touchdowns but you don't exactly want your leading tackler to be a safety.

I think Stanfurd's defense will be their best asset.  On offense, I'm still thinking they're going to look a bit overmatched.  I don't think this team will beat us again this year.  Zack Follett just won't let it happen.

TwistNHook:  Zack Follett and me!  I won't let it happen.  We are NOT losing again.  We are NOT!  We are NOT!  We are NOT!  I will hold my breath until we I turn blue if we lose again!

HydroTech:  You mis-spelled Stanfurd, Twist.  Get it right.

Pop quiz: what is Stanfurd's mascot?

TwistNHook:  An Indian?

HydroTech:  No, guess again.

TwistNHook:  A delightful bird?

HydroTech:  No, guess again.

TwistNHook:  The color Maroon.

HydroTech:  No, guess again.

TwistNHook:  The color, WOULD SOMEBODY ELSE FUCKING GUESS I'M DYING OUT HERE!!

ragnarok:  It's not the color cardinal?

Stanford_20tree_medium

"Why don't you spend 700 days sitting in this thing, Runningwolf?"  -  Image via blogs.jsonline.com

According to the Stanford Tree Wikipedia page, the University has no official mascot.

The Stanford Tree is the unofficial mascot of Stanford University. Stanford's team name is "The Cardinal," referring to the vivid red color (not the common song bird as at several other schools), and the University has never been able to come up with an official mascot which adequately conveys the fierceness and sporting prowess it had hoped to symbolize with that particular shade of sanguine. This fact creates a void not typically found at schools with less-abstract symbols for their sports teams, and into this unfulfilled void the Stanford Band has insistently thrust what is one of the United States' most bizarre and controversial college mascots.[1]

TwistNHook:  It has always seemed odd to me that a mascot could be a concept.  Let's Go World Peace, Let's Go!  Beat The Opponent, Aristotlean Organicism!

Yet somehow the Tree is stupider than their conceptual mascot.  That sounds so weird to say, conceptual mascot.  So post-modern.  Do I have to put on a black turtleneck and change my name to Dieter to say it?

ragnarok:  Even Stephen Colbert agrees that the Tree is pathetic.

TwistNHook:  Keep an eye out for Pannel Egboh this year.  Important to their upset of USC last year, Egboh is poised to have a huge year at DE and will, most likely, be playing at the next level.

Yellow Fever:  It's bizarre to me to see that Stanford has any NFL caliber players, but then even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.  Not to mention we probably shouldn't discount the Furd after we lost last year, but old habits are hard to break.  84-3.

HydroTech:  Anyone find it weird not playing Stanfurd for our last game of the season?  It just doesn't quite feel right.  I hope the team doesn't have an emotional let-down against Washington after having to get all emotionally worked up for Big Game and revenge.

TwistNHook:  It's just like 2001 when we played Rutgers after them.  And went 1-10.  OH GOD NO!

HydroTech:  Stanfurd really got us out of our game last year.  We normally run more than we pass, but last year's game we passed the ball 47 times and only ran the ball 24 times.  I've blocked out most of that game from my memory, was Tedford getting desperate with the playcalling or perhaps he saw something in Stanfurd's pass defense that he wanted to attack?

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"Move aside Beavers, this is now the most intimidating mascot!"  -  Image via www.cushionsandumbrellas.com

CBKWit:  Uhhh HydroTech...don't throw stones if you live in a glass house.  Our leading tackler last year?  Mr. Thomas DeCoud, Free Safety extraordinaire, with 116.

And those pass plays, especially in the second half, were extremely frustrating.  Chet Teofilo was starting his first game at left tackle, in place of Mike Gibson who was out with a concussion.  And Stanford's outside linebacker (they play a 3-4) beat him on nearly every play.  Nate didn't have much of a chance.  And when he did make a throw, the Hawk dropped two for good measure.  Ugh, what a miserable game.

HydroTech:  Yes, my remark regarding Stanfurd's defense might come across as ironic and hypocritical considering our leading tackler was our free safety too, but my point stands and doesn't lose a touch of validity.  Stanfurd's defense left a lot to be desired last year (yes, ours did too but still...).

ragnarok:  You know, I'm really looking forward to this year's Big Game.  We got lackluster performances out of the Bears in the last two Big Games, and even 2005 wasn't that great, despite Steve Levy's heroics.  This had turned into a pretty poor excuse for a rivalry, and as terrible as last year's game was, I think it was exactly what was needed to make people care about the 'Furd again.  The Bears will come out fired up in this game, and woe be unto any of the fightin' Harbaughs who get in their way.  Bears win big, 40-12.

TwistNHook:  Your comment about the Stanford D would only be ironic if it was wearing suspenders and granny glasses. 

That said, all this discussion of last year's game is unimportant.  It's 2008, not 2007.  What should we be concerned about for 2008? 

I find it odd that nobody so far has written about the Stanford linbebackers.  The biggest area of concern for Cal is the Stanford backers.  They return all 3 starters and have reasonable depth there.  Clinton Snyder was the leader last year and is back this year.  I wouldn't be surprised if he got All-Pac10 this year.  Pat Maynor and Chike Amajoyi flank him at the backer position.  Perhaps it is true that last year the defensive backfield had the most tackles on the team. 

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"This used to be Stanford's mascot, but they had to get rid of it to be poltiically correct."  - Image via www.thefunnypage.com

But I think this year it's going to be the backers.  This is a much improved situation here and we can't take them lightly. 

HydroTech:  I already said that Stanfurd's best aspect of their defense would be their LBs.  You never listen to me do you, Twist?  *sobs*

When it comes to Big Game this year, I want to crush them early on.  I want to put points on the board consistently and attack on defense.  The thing about losing teams is that when you get them in a hole early on, they emotionally get down and it makes it even harder for them to come back.  So instead of letting an inferior team stick around throughout the game, let's shove 30 down their throat early in the game and then shove another 30 down their throat as they crumble from the emotional defeat.

TwistNHook:  Oh god, I just turned on Comcast Sports Net's Cal preview and Jamie Sire is all "To understand 2008, let's take a look at 2007."  I was all NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

In conclusion, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Let's never think of 2007 again.  Ai!  When we face Stanford this year, I want Cal to win infinity billion to nothing.  It's not about winning.  It's about making amends.  We have to crush them.  Shock and awe.  Destroy.  Let no Stanford fans ever conceive that their team could come close to matching ours on the field.  Last year was too much to bear.

Hold me, HydroTech.  I'm so emotional.  Hold me!

PS Czech out this analysis of the Stanford D by Building The Dam.

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