Ask the California Golden Bloggers: Do You Want Stanford to go to the Rose Bowl?

Rafa is infuriated at the notion that the Furd might go to the Rose Bowl. Calm down!

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Last week's trivia:

A quote machine, I played at Cal for two years in my college career - but not two straight years - nor did I end up graduating from Cal. I had a ten year NFL career that included one Super Bowl appearance and was highlighted by a play known in one city as "The Fumble", though it is more commonly known by a much more glamorous name in the city that I played for. A former NFL head coach for two different teams, you probably know me better for telling the world WHY YOU PLAY THE GAME. Who am I?

Like I said last week, I'm sure that last clue gave it away. It was:


Herm Edwards. Might he have an interesting in returning to coach (one his many) alma maters? Just throwing it out there...

This week's trivia:

A famous sports agent, I met my first client (and future number one overall pick) while working as an RA. I've represented Pro Bowlers, Hall of Famers, NBA All-Stars, and MLB regulars, while heading up an agency with a guy who would go on to be part owner of a MLB team. I was also the inspiration for a rather sappy Tom Cruise movie, (aren't they all?) but this one should have had you at hello. Who am I?

Sometimes I think working as a sports agent would be great fun, and then I read that SI.com story that came out a while back about paying players...maybe not. Time to queue up the first question.

Do you want Stanford to go to the Rose Bowl this year? - B.A. Bearacus

Ohio Bear

No.

atomsareenough

NO NO NO NO NO I would rather see Boise or TCU there than Stanfurd. Hell, I'd rather see pretty much any team in college football than watch Stanfurd desecrate the hallowed Rose Bowl with their evil red taint.

Kodiak

No.  *Caveat*  Unless they're going to work the concession stands or fill in as clowns for the parade.

TwistNHook

OH GOD NO!  NO!! PLEASE!  NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  

Clearly, there is no God and they will.  Although I do remember the comedy of the Stanford band attempted marching in the 1999 Rose Bowl parade.  That amused me greatly.

Yellow Fever

I'm pretty sure that would stretch the limits of Pac-10 solidarity.

And no.

Should Keenan Allen play QB? - Cal Junkie

Ohio Bear

No.

atomsareenough

Probably not, but at this point, what could it hurt? :) I wouldn't mind seeing a few more tricky option plays with him, anyway.

Kodiak

Not until we have the clones to also play WR and S.  Perhaps I've said too much.

TwistNHook

No.

Yellow Fever

No.

Is the coaching around the Pac-10 that much better now? - CGB2813

Ohio Bear

No.

atomsareenough

Well... It's pretty good. Harbaugh, Riley, and Kelly are all excellent. Stoops and Tedford are solid. Even Kiffin appears to be a pretty good coach, though I'm not ready to say he's as good as Pete "I did NOTHING" Carroll just yet. Neuheisel and Erickson aren't doing very well now, but they've got track records of success. Even Sarkisian and Wulff, while they've had ups and downs, I think they're good coaches. I've seen a lot of progress in the past year or so from Wazzu in particular.

But wait, what does that coaching question mean? Does that Pac-10 have a higher caliber group of coaches now than, say, 5 years ago? I'd argue yes. Five years ago, Harbaugh, Wulff, Sarkisian, Kiffin, Neuheisel, and Kelly were all not in the Pac-10 yet, and Stoops had just been hired in 2004. If you grant that it takes a few years to really implement your system and get your players in, then these guys are all really just hitting their stride now, and the quality level of the teams has improved as a result.

Kodiak

No.  I think most programs are cyclical.  Coaches look smart when they have talented, experienced players and not-so when they don't.  Example:  Did Mike Riley suddenly become dumber the week before losing to Wazzu?  Nah.  He's still probably the best coach in the conference.  I think we perceive the rival coaching to be better because we're in a stagnant period right now.

TwistNHook

Well, in Stanford's situation, clearly.  Sorry, Mrs. Teevens!  At UW, I guess so, but it's not that much better.  I don't know if Kelly is really better than Belloti, especially since these are all Belloti's players, Belloti is still right there AND there is so much talent on this team, I could probably coach Oregon to at least a Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl bid.  

WSU, probably not.  Riley has been there forever.  So has Stoops.  I think Kiffin is a step down from Stoops.  Neuhizzy seems roughly approximate to Dorrell.  

So, only in one situation do I see a clear upgrade and that is at the Farm.

Yellow Fever

Harbaugh is definitely a major upgrade on the dreck that the Furd was running out there before, and I think Chip Kelly is an upgrade on Bellotti - maybe not a major upgrade, but he seems to have been the impetus to push them over the top. So I think that's another point in favor of better coaching around the conference.

Most of the other schools sport the same coaches, or it's unclear if they're upgrades (hard for Kiffin to be an upgrade on Carroll, even if he is great in his own right; Neuheisel still hasn't done much to show he's any better than Dorrell, and Erickson's fallen off from his first year since replacing Dirk Koetter). But at the very least I don't think there are any teams that sport coaches that are worse than what they had a few years ago.


Cue Cousin Stew.

Violence in the Heartland: The Bo Pelini Story. How much longer is the national media going to ignore the serious anger and violence bubble growing in Lincoln? His behavior Saturday in College Station was deplorable. But while many might find his behavior surprising, it's actually very familiar for those who watch Nebraska regularly.
-- Jeff, Denver

Did you get to see the full Nebraska-A&M game? I thought there were several questionable calls against the Huskers, but my question to you: Is Bo Pelini the reason calls seem to go against Nebraska? Is it that he cannot get his team to maintain discipline, or that he constantly goes after the refs?
-- Eli Becker, Ogallala, Neb.

I think it's a stretch to say that questionable calls go against Nebraska because of him, but I don't think he helps the situation. Besides, as Stew points out, he's hardly the first coach to flip out at the refs all the time; I mean, I think we've seen Harbaugh's little backflip thingy on the sidelines and Mike Stoops' sideline demeanor enough to know that it doesn't seem to affect the game much other than providing an amusing sidelight.

Either way I don't think it really matters. There are all kinds of coaches, screamers (Bill Parcells, Harbaugh, Stoops) and sideline stoics (Tedford, Andy Reid, Wade Phillips) alike, and that doesn't seem to affect their results on the field. That is to say, you can't say that one group always outperforms the other.

As far as Pelini, I don't know enough to know whether it really affects his team's performance, but he has them on the right track, doesn't he? I'm sure he'll mellow out if he thinks it'll help, just as Mike Gundy has.

Given that the Heisman is supposed to go to "the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity," how is LaMichael James still in the running? Shouldn't his domestic violence incident rule him out? And even if nothing is proven about Cam Newton (other than buying an obviously fenced laptop), is the thick smoke around him not sufficient to rule him out, as well? To me, the clear-cut front-runners should be Kellen Moore and Andrew Luck.
-- Jimbo, Columbia, Mo.

I think there's been enough written about LaMichael James' situation to know that what happened really was the byproduct of an entirely too-quick rush to judgment, so I'm not willing to disqualify him on character. Newton's a bit shakier, though I'm of the belief that it's more that his dad was the one trying to sell his talent; although it's also true that he also could have said he didn't want to go along with it. (Then again, could he? I mean, it's hard to say no to your dad.)

So I don't know. I think there's enough smoke around the Cam Newton situation to think that SOMETHING illicit happened, and I would understand anyone not voting for him for that reason. I wouldn't necessarily agree with it, but I think that position is more defensible for Newton than it would be for James. Whether or not it's something voters should do is not something I feel like taking a firm stand on, but I tend to believe that if the guy is eligible through the rest of the year, people should vote for him based (mostly) on his on-field performance. I mean, what award doesn't nominally have something about character in it?

If an unranked Big East champion gets trounced again in a BCS game (like Pittsburgh did in 2004 by Utah), how likely is it that the BCS adds a condition that all conference champions must be ranked in the top 10 (or something similar)? With the rise of non-AQ teams in recent years, and the possibility that more qualified one-loss teams like Stanford get left out, the rule just seems ripe for an amendment.
-- Ken Devine, Centerville, Ohio

I think it would make sense to add that kind of amendment, but I don't think they're going to be able to do it on the fly either. So maybe it would come up during the next round of negotiations, but I believe those are a few years off anyway.

Looking at your column on Saturday, I felt you were trying to tell the voters how to vote on LSU. That was a tough game. This is the SEC.
-- Lee Odom, Alexandria, La.

You need to take the blinders off. If LSU hasn't looked dominant enough for you, maybe you ought to consider the competition. There isn't a conference in the country as deep as the SEC, particularly the SEC West. Sorry, but a seven-point win over Ole Miss is still more impressive than dropping 80 points on Indiana.
-- Danny Scott, Humnoke, Ark.

If that's the case, then Jacksonville State must be the best FBS team in the country. Oh wait...they're not. Sorry.

Fever, I'm wondering who gets the at-large BCS bid if the following three things happen: Alabama beats Auburn, Arkansas beats LSU, and then Auburn beats South Carolina. Auburn likely misses out on the national championship and goes to the Sugar Bowl. But then who gets the SEC at-large bid? You'd have three 10-2 teams in Alabama, Arkansas, and LSU.
-- Jerel, Tucson, Ariz.

I'm guessing it would be Alabama. There's no way Nick Saban and the defending national champions would get passed over for anyone else.

A surprising team in the second half of the season, BYU has won their last four and scored 55, 49 and 40 in their last three. Could BYU beat the Utes this week and show the Pac-10 who should really be in their conference? And could they make it to the Vegas Bowl for the sixth straight year?
-- Shane Hale, Las Vegas

As I said last week, if Notre Dame can do it, anyone can do it. But by the same token, I'm not so sure it means a lot to beat Utah in that fashion. And I've always found it ironic that BYU ends up going to Sin City for their bowl game every year. Must be God's little practical joke or something.

Fever, I'm curious, how is it that perennial powerhouse Stanford out of the Pac-10 should leap LSU in the BCS rankings since both records are the same and LSU plays in the SEC which is superior in terms of athletes top to bottom, recruiting, coaching, BCS wins, strength of schedule? Help me understand this because your column certainly doesn't.
-- Mingo, Baton Rouge

BCS wins? What?

Thanks for giving the Aggies a bit of credit, and while they haven't been great in recent years, they have beaten both Oklahoma and Nebraska in the past three weeks. However, the polls still have OU and Nebraska ranked ahead of A&M. Is Kyle Field viewed as that large of a home field advantage or is there a lack of respect for the Aggies nationwide?
-- Matthew, San Antonio

I think it's because A&M has a worse record. Which does count for something, you know.

I love the way you think Wisconsin and Stanford is a better team than LSU. Are yofreaking kidding me!!!Please put Stanford or Wisconsin in the SEC and put LSU in the weak PAC 10 or the BID 10,LSU would play for the bcs title every year.We know that you writers from SI has never liked LSU.Let me explain...Its called being ENVIOUS toward a dominant program like LSU and the best conference bar none in the country.You have lost your mind!!!Please put stanford and wisconsin in the sec.They would lose 3 games every year.Your really a moron!!!
-- jeremy, mississippi

I give up.
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