It's Saturday Morning, Bears! Cal-ASU Q+As and Morning/Afternoon Open Thread for Week 8 10.23.10

Lotsa stuff going on today.  We have Cal-ASU and 2 separate Q+As.  First, we have a Q+A with our SBN brethren, HouseOfSparky.  They got a great blog over there. Second, we got a Q+A with another ASU site, Pitchfork Nation.  They have their great answers to our unbelievably awesome questions after the fold.

Also, use this thread as an open thread for the morning and afternoon games.  Lotsa action here.  LSU at Auburn.  Wisconsin at Iowa.  Nebraska at OK State.  Full schedule after the jump.  GO BEARS!

First, House Of Sparky:

 

1.  Did you watch the Cal/USC game last week?  Be honest -- how much were you laughing at us?

I didn't catch the game live, but from what I can gather about it, USC is a hot and cold team. California is also. When icy cold meets the heat, it's a laugher. I don't laugh at anyone, because I know it can easily happen to my Devils. Can you guys play like that against ASU?
 
2. If you could choose one player from Cal's roster and make him inactive for Saturday's game, who would it be?

Keenan Allen. I don't like good freshmen on the opposing side, and he's been producing nicely for you guys. The easy answer would have been Riley or Vereen, but I'm all about the upside.
 
3.  Besides Steven Threet, what has been the biggest difference between last year's ASU team and this year's?

Playmakers. Deantre Lewis has been dynamite, and our new offensive scheme is a breath of fresh air after last season. We do a lot of motion plays from out of the backfield, spreading the linebackers and causing general havoc on slant routes. The quick release of Threet has led to a lot of picks this season, but I'll take the good with the bad and just enjoy the positive emotions that come with having a competitive team for a change.
 
4.  Kicker Thomas Weber just doesn't seem to have been the same since his sensational freshman year. What's up with that?

Headcase. He got pretty lucky in 2007 and after that overtime loss to UNLV in 2008, he's just not delivering. He may have bought into his own hype and I am not sure he has the leg power to make it as a kicker. We're all extremely disappointed in his swan dive into mediocrity.

5.  Is Burfict really playing under control this year or do you get the feeling that at any second he just go on a rampage?  Is there an assistant carrying a tranq gun just in case?


There is a cage on the sideline for him to sit in during the offensive possessions. Honestly, there might be a bolt loose. He's wild. Scary. Awesome. But with those penalties, he negates his usefulness.

I would do anything to see a subdued Burfict play in the mold of Ray Lewis, or even Terrell Suggs. I'm still waiting after a year and a half.


6.  Is Erickson on the hot seat at all?  Knowing his rep, how comfortable are you with him as your coach?  Is he really the guy to lead a re-building effort, or is he going through the motions/keeping the seat warm?

I like coach Erickson and the players seem to respect him. He continues to bring it quality recruits to keep us mildly competitive while building a foundation for long-term excellence. If he is a short-term coach, ASU will continue to muddle in the bottom half of the Pac. But if he is serious, which I believe he is, ASU will be back in the 8-9 win range in short time.

 

Then, Pitchfork Nation.

 

 

1.  Vontaze Burfict is his second year yet he still shows the same immaturity (headbutting Ryan Katz, for example).  Do you have confidence that he can grow up and become a top LB?


Earlier this season, I did. After some solid performances and fairly level-headed play in the Big Sky portion of our schedule, I thought some sense had finally be beaten into him. He took a couple personal foul penalties, but they weren't of the ferocity or frequency we saw out of him last year. But after the Oregon State game, I flatly say no and I don't think Dennis Erickson thinks he can, either. If he did, he wouldn't have actually benched this team's most ferocious competitor.

The problem here is that I don't think anyone has ever actually told him to calm down. Ever since committing to ASU, the kid has been showered with praise about how he was going to be this team's best defender (including from one blogger who will remain nameless...OK, it was me.). When we saw his mean streak last year, we chalked it up to immaturity and assumed he would eventually grow out of it. Who knows? He may still. Hopefully the benching in the Washington game opened his eyes. If it didn't, I fear that he'll never learn. 


2.  ASU's O-line was the laughingstock of the conference in '07 and '08.  Has it gotten any better in the past two years?  How well has Threet been protected so far?  Can the line withstand Pendergast's blitz-happy schemes?

Let's get one thing straight - the offensive line couldn't have been worse over that time span. That line took "ole-ing" to new heights. In fact, I once advocated to replace our tackles with turnstiles, but that campaign didn't get too far.

Threet is getting good protection from what I've been able to ascertain, but it also helps that unlike his predecessors like Rudy Carpenter and Danny Sullivan, I've really liked Threet's ability to step up in the pocket and avoid pressure himself. Sure, Carpenter got sacked 3,720 times during his career in Tempe, but he didn't really either try to avoid pressure either; he much rather would have fallen down in a heap sometimes.

Once again, this team has seen its annual rash of injuries across the offensive front, but I think since the bar was set so low, I can be cautiously optimistic about the improvement of this unit. Threet has been sacked 16 times in six games, which I think is a fairly promising stat by Arizona State standards. What more, this line is doing a tremendous job opening holes for Cameron Marshall and Deantre Lewis, two fast runners who aren't strong enough to create their own holes like, say, Ryan Torain was.


3.  Cal just came off a huge loss to USC.  Cal will probably be looking for some therapeutic revenge against Arizona State.  Any chance Cal pummels ASU in the manner which Cal has won all its games this year?  Or do you think ASU pummels Cal in the manner which Cal has pretty much lost all this year?

I've agonized over this question, and I simply don't know. Really. That sounds like a cop out, but I can never predict how Arizona State will come out against California. Every time I think this team is ready to step up and knock off the Golden Bears, I end up face deep in my palms. My mind keeps wandering back to that 2004 game in Berkeley when the Devils, who had only lost to USC that year on the road, got railroaded in a nationally-televised night game.

Much like last week's game in Washington, this is a bellweather game for both teams. Both Tedford and Erickson need a win here to get closer to bowl eligibility and to keep their fan bases from going absolutely bats**t crazy. However, this might be the most evenly matched Cal/ASU game in years. The 2007 match-up in Tempe SHOULD have been, when ASU was 7-0 and Cal should have been right up there near the top of the standings before...things happened.

This game could go either way. I'm serious. It could be a blowout from the opening kick or it could go to three overtimes mainly because neither team has shown me that they can bring the same, consistent effort on a weekly basis.


4.  Most Cal fans probably don't follow ASU Football that closely.  Can you please name one player on offense whom we should know about or keep an eye on?  We won't ask about defense since we already know who to keep an eye on.

Every year, I develop a man crush. 2007 was the year of Ryan Torain, 2008 saw me fawn over Mike Jones, 2009 was the year of Mike Nixon and this year, I've targeted RB Deantre Lewis as the object of my football affection.

Lewis racked up three straight 100 yard games before his carries were cut last week in Seattle and already has a 100-yard receiving game to his credit as well. The kid can flat out burn and has an explosive first step not seen in these parts since Keegan Herring was a freshman. I love the way OC Noel Mazzone works him in different formations; whether he's catching the ball out of the backfield, lined up in the slot or beside Threet, I think he can break one on any play.


5.  Have you driven to the Buffalo Wild Wings where Tuitama works and just heckled him? 


I typically don't take any pleasure in heckling a guy when he's down, especially one we beat so badly over the course of his career; there's a reason he's forever known as Tui-trauma in Tempe.

Therefore, no, I have not made the pilgrimage to B-Dubs to partake in a night of wings and beer with Willie. However, if I ever happen to FIND myself in Tucson and craving some delicious Parmesan Garlic wings and a cold Blue Moon...I'd probably make sure Willie was my waiter, shout my order at him in the most obscenely loud, Mike Stoops tantrum-esque fashion, warn him to watch his blind side and ask him if all BWW employees have had 19 concussions.

 

 

 

 

Here is the schedule.  All times are Eastern and you can find more information here.

 

Game Network Coverage Notes PPV Info Time
VMI at Charleston Southern
College Sports Direct
  11:30am
Notre Dame vs. Navy
(at East Rutherford, NJ)
CBSSports.com   12pm
Michigan St. at Northwestern   12pm
Syracuse at West Virginia   12pm
Iowa St. at Texas  FSN List   12pm
Penn St. at Minnesota     12pm
Purdue at Ohio St. GameFinder   12pm
Indiana at Illinois GameFinder   12pm
Ole Miss at Arkansas
Affiliates

DirecTV 791
Dish Network 459
12pm
Rutgers at Pittsburgh

Affiliates

DirecTV 790
Dish Network 458
12pm
Duke at Virginia Tech
ACC Network Streaming (ACC areas)
Affiliates

Blackout Map
DirecTV 788
Dish Network 456
12pm
Temple at Buffalo
Affiliates

DirecTV 789
Dish Network 457
12pm
Delaware at William & Mary   12pm
Penn at Yale Stretch Internet   12pm
Bucknell at Lehigh Stretch Internet   12:30pm
Florida Atlantic at Arkansas St.
College Sports Direct

Blackout Map
DirecTV 792
Dish Network 460
1pm
Holy Cross at Colgate Sidearm Showcase   1pm
Lafayette at Fordham  
DirecTV 793
Dish Network 461
1pm
Morehead St. at Butler MyIndyTV.com   1pm
Wyoming at BYU     2pm
Western Illinois at Missouri St. Mediacom-Springfield College Sports Direct   2pm
Murray St. at Eastern Illinois College Sports Direct   2:30pm
Appalachian St. at Western Carolina   3pm
Stephen F. Austin vs. Sam Houston St.
(at Houston, TX)
Affiliates
College Sports Direct
  3pm
Northern Arizona at Montana B2 Networks (FREE)   3pm
Northern Colorado at Montana St. B2 Networks (FREE)   3pm
Youngstown St. at South Dakota St. College Sports Direct   3pm
LSU at Auburn CBSSports.com   3:30pm
Wisconsin at Iowa
ABC Coverage Map
  3:30pm
Nebraska at Oklahoma St.
ABC Coverage Map

Blackout Map
DirecTV 789
Dish Network 462
3:30pm
Georgia Tech at Clemson
ABC Coverage Map

Blackout Map
DirecTV 788
Dish Network 464
3:30pm
Arizona St. at California  FSN List   3:30pm
Connecticut at Louisville     3:30pm
Houston at SMU     3:30pm
Western Michigan at Akron
College Sports Direct

Blackout Map
DirecTV 790
Dish Network 463
3:30pm
Rice at UCF   3:30pm
Kent St. at Bowling Green College Sports Direct   3:30pm
Massachusetts vs. New Hampshire
(at Foxborough, MA)
  3:30pm
Georgia St. at Old Dominion
Comcast-Atlanta
  3:30pm
Central Michigan at Northern Illinois
College Sports Direct

Blackout Map
DirecTV 791
Dish Network 459
4pm
Indiana St. at North Dakota St. College Sports Direct   4pm
Marshall at East Carolina   4:15pm
UL-Monroe at Middle Tennessee
DirecTV 792
Dish Network 460
4:30pm
Washington St. at Stanford   5pm
Hawai'i at Utah St.
DirecTV 793
Dish Network 461
5pm
New Mexico St. at Idaho
College Sports Direct
  5pm
Illinois St. at Northern Iowa Panther Sports
College Sports Direct
  5pm
Colorado St. at Utah     6pm
SB Nation Featured Video
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