Ask the California Golden Bloggers: Beat Oregon, Or Keep The Axe?

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I'm a big fan of Matt Sforcina's Ask 411 Wrestling columns, so I'm going to rip off his gimmick and include a trivia question each week at the beginning of the column. Here's our inaugural edition!

I was a five time Pro Bowler under a coach who would go on to win a Super Bowl (though with a different team). I had the same nickname as a certain fire breathing pro wrestler who stole the show at Wrestlemania III. I was also named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade team. A proud Golden Bear, as well as one who met his current wife while studying in the stacks due to good fortune and having an extra Coke in my bag, and a current high school head coach, who am I?

Shouldn't be a terribly difficult one for some of our older Blues, hopefully.

Which game do you want to win more, UO or Furd?

~LafayetteBear

solarise

Personally, I'd like to see us win out our schedule @ home to properly send Memorial Stadium off to its renovation. If not, I'd prefer we lose a heartbreaking battle against Oregon and come out w/ a chip on our shoulders so the Big Game doesn't become a major emotional letdown after a huge victory.

CBKWit

I too will take the brave stance and say that I would like us to win out at home.

HydroTech

I hope we lose our remaining games so we can fire Tedford.

Avinash

I hope we never win another game until we hire Jim Harbaugh.

Yellow Fever

You guys are a barrel of laughs.

As for the original question, I'd rather lose to the Ducks, because I have a soft spot for the Ducks. Though that might be more accurately described as me enjoying Peking Duck every now and then. But still, I'd rather see Oregon go on to a possible national championship than have the Furd and their thousands tens of fans possibly go to a BCS game.

So, what makes Oregon's offense so prolific? Talent? Scheme? Skill Development? Psychology?

If you look only at recruiting rankings, it becomes obvious that they didn't build this offense by recruiting a bunch of 5-star talents. In fact, the average on the offense is LESS than three stars.

Thomas (QB): 4 stars
James (RB): 3 stars
Tuinei (WR): 2 stars
Maehl (WR): 2 stars (as a defensive back, no less)
Davis (WR): 4 stars
Paulson (TE): 3 stars
Asper (OL): 2 stars
Thran (OL): 3 stars
Holmes (OL): 2 stars
Kaiser (OL): 2 stars
York (OL): cannot find any star rating

The same trend holds true for Oregon on defense too. I would expect Boise State and TCU to show a similar profile. Meanwhile, teams loaded with 5-star recruits like Florida, Texas and USC are out of the rankings entirely. (OK, fine, Florida is #24)

So, while many of us (myself included) obsess about landing the big recruits with the sterling pedigrees, it seems to me that the real answer - and biggest contributing factor to scoring points and winning games - lies elsewhere.

~TheSouseFamily

solarise

A combination of everything you've mentioned plus execution. The Ducks under Chip Kelly are The Greatest Show on Turf in college football.

Don't forget Autzen Stadium. The raucous and intimidating Ducks fans are the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th men on the field to guarantee victories @ home.

[With respect to star rankings] You recruit to what your system needs, not how many stars a kid has. IMO Oregon has been very successful @ fulfilling their need for speed in their pipeline. Their option QBs (Dixon, Masoli, Thomas) are stellar athletes who can run and complete intermediate passes w/ accuracy. Every year Oregon gains a couple potential difference makers on offense and defense. DT Ricky Heimuli & RB Lache Seastrunk are just a couple I could think of off from the top of my head.

Will we sell out Memorial Saturday?

~KoreAmBear  

solarise

I think not, but the afternoon slot may help. 

Yellow Fever

I'd have thought about making a last minute trip out there if Gameday were there (and not just ESPN Radio Gameday.)

And besides, the Nets are playing the Magic at home at the same time. I'm sure there are a bunch of people that are going to be skipping the game for that too. I mean, my entire household is going to that. All one of us.

The way I see it is if the D plays their best game of the season they could reasonably hold Oregon to around 35. If we play the best we can play I firmly believe we are the best Defense Oregon has faced all year, but the question remains.. Does Cal have a reasonable chance to throw up 38 points?

~bearster 

solarise

Why 38? I'd take 36-35 Cal. This Oregon offense has sputtered @ times (1st half against Washington, Furd), and Cal has a tendency to start off quickly @ Memorial. Unfortunately, our second half performances are typically anemic. It's also hard to expect Brock Mansion in his 2nd ever start to keep up w/ Oregon's frenetic scoring pace. What we really need is to execute on every aspect of the game, including special teams and defense to keep Oregon's offense in poor field position and cause mistakes. If I recall correctly the Bears cost the Ducks a few takeaways during their last visit to Memorial amid hellacious weather. We are going to need a few fumbles/ints to go our way this Saturday.

You can't stop the Oregon offense. You can only hope to contain them. Play all four quarters. No mistakes. Second half has to be ours. 

Yellow Fever

The short answer is no. The long answer is this:

Jim Harbaugh's name came up for the Dallas Cowboys job. Chances he gets it?

~CGB2813

solarise

Isn't Jason Garrett the coach-in-waiting @ Dallas? I am in agreement w/ other pundits that Harbaugh leaves Furd when RichRod gets the axe @ Michigan. The family/University connection is too strong to ignore.

Yellow Fever

I don't think Jerry Jones goes the college route this time, not with a team that's supposedly talented but hasn't proven anything yet. Going from Jimmy Johnson to Barry Switzer was a different situation in that the team had already won a Super Bowl and Barry Switzer had won national championships himself, so it probably wasn't quite as risky. Hard to imagine him going for Harbaugh with guys like Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher (who seems unlikely for other reasons) available.

Not that I would mind it, really. It'd be nice to see the Fat Genius match wits with our mortal enemy. Plus I just wanted another excuse to throw this in here:


Yellow fever?  Could the Pac take Utah at large to fill a Bowl bid if they don't have enough teams to fill all their commits since Utah's bowl win counts for the Pac not the MWC this year?

~Michael

Yellow Fever

My guess is no, since they're not officially part of the conference.

ragnarok

That would be my guess as well.  They're not part of the conference until next July 1 (or thereabouts), so bowl contracts for this year don't count.

However, it's worth noting that the Pac-10 may have several of its bowl tie-ins go unused (esp. with USC being ineligible), so if the Utes are looking for a game, I'd imagine they won't have any trouble finding one.

The Big East is targeting Villanova and East Carolina for expansion. What do you think?

solarise

Villanova has a football team?

Yellow Fever

I think either Temple or Villanova would make a lot of sense, because it would presumably bring in the Philadelphia college football market (such as it is...which is to say there isn't much of one, just as the notion of the New York college football market being covered by Rutgers is mostly BS), and I suppose East Carolina would help too. Logistically it probably makes a lot more sense than adding TCU, and for whatever reason, USF seems incredibly opposed to adding UCF. Must be a Florida thing.

Either way I don't think it'll move the needle much in terms of the reputation of the Big East, but it would potentially make schedules more appealing down the line. When the marquee game on the Rutgers home schedule is North Carolina, I'm probably not getting ready to make a down payment on those things.

What bowl with [sic] Stanford [sic] play in?

~ Rule of Tree

Yellow Fever

I seriously think the attendance issues they're having will prevent them from earning an at-large BCS berth over an eligible team from the Big Ten or Big 12 - I don't doubt that there's an alumni base out there that has the money and the desire to go to a BCS game, but would it be worth the risk to the Fiesta, Orange, or Sugar Bowls to find out when they know that inviting Michigan State or Nebraska is a guaranteed sellout? I mean, I don't know, but I don't like their chances.

Put me down for the Alamo Bowl.

Just because I don't think we've linked to this recently.

Time to fill out the mailbag with some Uncle Stew.

Does the new Cam Newton story about his alleged cheating while at Florida change your mind any regarding Heisman voting? On the one hand, the story certainly sounds more plausible than the recruiting allegations and directly impugns his integrity. On the other, it doesn't concern his eligibility even remotely and "integrity" isn't part of the stated criteria for Heisman voting -- not to mention that they set a bad precedent for negative Heisman campaigning.

-- Aaron, Auburn

Yellow Fever

I'm reasonably sure that the Heisman trust does have some kind of mention of integrity in their bylaws, but the only codified requirement is that the player be eligible. His eligibility certainly isn't looking good, but I don't think it will stop him from winning the trophy either if he keeps playing like he does, based on remarks from Andy Staples, Uncle Stew, and Bruce Feldman. And of course, we all know that Bo Jackson has already written in his vote. In ink.

Any chance Boise State jumps TCU before the end of the year? This exact same thing happened last season, and BSU beat them head-to-head on a neutral field. I know that was last year, but both teams are almost identical.

-- Tyrus, Boise

Yellow Fever

I actually think they should still be ahead of TCU - I don't think they've done anything to show that they're worse than TCU, though TCU has certainly shown they're a great team as well. But Boise will get to play against the pistol and Colin Kaepernick soon, and that should help both their strength of schedule and national TV exposure, while TCU's marquee matchup is out of the way. To be sure, it was a good one, but I can see Boise picking up more momentum if they convincingly throttle the Wolf Pack too.

You're quick to point out that Boise beat TCU last year in a bowl game. However, you're not quick to point out that Ohio State beat a team last year currently ranked as No. 1 (Oregon), and are instead calling them overrated.

-- Casey Jensen, Findlay, Ohio

Yellow Fever

Well, Ohio State is a very different team today than the one that Oregon played last year, while Boise State has largely remained the same. Or do you think that Alabama should still be number one, too?

With Dan Hawkins finally getting the boot at Colorado, who do you see replacing him? Who do you think will be a good fit in Boulder?

-- Brent Winters, Longmont, Colo.

Yellow Fever

Troy Calhoun of Air Force would probably be a good fit since he's proven himself to be a good coach, but I suppose there's some question over whether hiring him would necessitate a switch to the triple option (like Georgia Tech did when they hired Paul Johnson from Navy), and whether he would jump to begin with. I don't know much about the other candidates, but Uncle Ted's suggested that they hire someone who would be a good recruiter, and someone who's familiar with the LA area. Might Ed Orgeron be interested? Just throwing it out there. I have no idea if he'd actually want to make the move, but he fits those qualifications.

Otherwise, picking us Gus Malzahn wouldn't be the worst idea either, given how his offense is doing.

Since 1992, 11 of the 65 current BCS teams have NOT played in a BCS game, won their conference, or had a 10 win season -- Baylor, Clemson, Connecticut, Duke, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, South Florida and Vanderbilt. I was very surprised to see a few of the teams mentioned on this list. Who should be the most ashamed to be in this company?

-- Rob, Fort Collins, Colo.

Oklahoma State has one of the (THE biggest? Not sure where he relates to Phil Knight) boosters in T. Boone Pickens, and while there's tough competition in the Big 12 South, you'd think they could have broken through one of these years.

Stewie says Clemson and South Carolina, and while I get the argument, I kinda think having Pickens essentially backstop their whole operation gives them less of argument. But as he also says, it's likely to be a moot point, as South Carolina could win the SEC East and Oklahoma State seems to be on track for ten wins this year. Which I suppose would leave Clemson by default.

While I like most of the Mandel Plan, it has one major flaw: fans traveling to two destinations in two weeks. Boise State fans aren't going to fly to Pasadena, then Glendale, especially when they have to book the second flight on two weeks' notice. TCU isn't going to fly or drive to New Orleans, then to Pasadena two weeks later. You're kind of lucky on your picks this year, because they are geographically somewhat convenient, but sub in Ohio State for one of those teams, and it's a problem.

-- David, Houston

That's kind of a good point, and would probably explain why college playoffs are either held in teams' home stadiums, or in a pod format with many teams competing (so fans would get more entertainment if they make the trip). But honestly, I think there would be more than enough fans for any given school to fill up both a semifinal and final playoff for college football.

Though maybe not the Furd.

Fever, one scenario that I cannot find a definitive answer to online: What happens to the Rose non-AQ obligation if TCU or Boise faces Oregon in the national championship game? Is the Rose forced to take the second non-AQ team, or since a non-AQ team is in the BCS, are they released from their obligation?

-- Michael Bode, Austin, Texas

To quote Uncle Stew:

No, the Rose Bowl does not have to select the second non-AQ team. The rule states that, "For the games of January 2011 through 2014, the first year the Rose Bowl loses a team to the [title game] and a team from the non-AQ group is an automatic qualifier, that non-AQ team will play in the Rose Bowl." Since only the highest-ranked non-AQ team is an "automatic qualifier," there is technically no one else it "has" to take. It could voluntarily choose to take the second non-AQ and thus fulfill its obligation, but there's no way the Rose Bowl would pass on 11-1 or 10-2 Stanford to take TCU or Boise State. The rule would just carry over to next year.

I'm not sure that is any clearer though - if the first year the Rose Bowl loses a team to the title game is the same year a non-AQ qualifies for the national championship game, then that should technically mean they won't need to take a non-AQ at all under those four years, since they would have taken the non-AQ...but it was already taken by the championship game.

That's my literal interpretation, although I have a feeling Uncle Stew's is probably the right one.

Hey Fever, after watching K-State destroy Texas, I was left wondering how in the world did UT beat Nebraska. Did Texas do something after that game that has somehow made them a team that has a good chance of not playing in December?

-- Samuel Fleming, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Well, I mean, their defense has been pretty good, and Taylor Martinez was kinda shaky that day since they took away his ability to run. Not sure what's happened to their defense since then though.

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