CGB Hall Of Fame: Joe Igber v. Alex Mack

Here we go.  The last matchup of the 2010 CGB Hall Of Fame.  Joe Igber.  Alex Mack.  All the marbles!  Well, a decent amount of marbles.  A goodly amount of marbles.  And they are on the line!

 

Joe Igber beat Tyson Ross and MIchelle Granger.  Then, he took down Tyson Alualu. 

 

Alex Mack got a first round bye and then beat Nnamdi Asomugha.  Then, he beat Geoff MacArthur.

 

So, vote!  Voting ends on Friday at noon PST.  You can see the entire bracket here.

 

Joe Igber

I'll let BearStage talk about Igber.

Joe Igber. My all-time favorite Cal running back. Often overlooked, his name litters the pages of Cal’s record books.

- His 3,124 career rushing yards are the third most in Cal history. Only Russell White and Marshawn Lynch can claim more.

-His 2002 rushing total of 1,130 yards was the 3rd highest single-season total in Cal history (at that time)

His greatest performance: a 226-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 2002 Big Game, which Cal won 30-7. Not only did he set the record for most rushing yards in the history of the Big Game (which still stands), he helped bring the Axe back to its rightful home after a painful 7-year drought.


These accomplishments alone should be enough to garner him consideration. And while these are all great reasons to appreciate Joe Igber, I’m most impressed with him because his career typified what we strive for Cal to be. You see, Igber somehow managed to balance the workload of a star Pac-10 running back with the workload of becoming a civil engineer.

Now, most people can barely handle one of those challenges. We all know how time consuming and stress inducing engineering majors are – between physics/math/engineering courses, labs, projects, research (if you’re ambitious) – it’s more than enough for most of us. UC Berkeley is one of the best (and toughest) places in the world to study engineering. People come from all over the world to study engineering at Cal, and that reputation is well-deserved, and it was the main reason that Joe Igber decided to come to Cal in the first place.

Also, we’ve all heard about how much time, sacrifice, dedication it takes to play Pac-10 football, let alone be a starter – the practice, the training, and weight rooms, the film, the travel. Add to the that the pressure of being the star running back, and you’ve got yourself a full plate that very few have the patience and focus to handle.

On top of even that – to perform at the level that Joe Igber did, to set records and do things on the field no Golden Bear has ever done, while handling that academic workload – it’s just ridiculous.

Joe Igber is that rare combination, the very best of both of Cal’s worlds – an amazing athlete and an impressive scholar. As such, I nominate him for the CGB Hall of Fame.

(Bonus: follow this link for incredible pictures of Joe Igber from Life magazine)


 

 

Alex Mack

CBKWit (remember him?) provides insightful commentary on Alex Mack: 

I have so many memories of Mack that it's hard for me write something coherent (ok, I rarely write anything coherent, so harder than usual).  I guess it starts back in 2005 around the Vegas bowl.  Some may not remember but we had a really good center before Mack, Marvin Philip.  Philip started every game in 2004 & 2005, finishing 2004 as an AP second team All-American and 2005 as an AP first team All-American, in addition to being named Cal's offensive MVP (for comparison's sake, Mack was only a third team AP All-American this year).  Despite the prospect of losing our All-American center to graduation, I remember telling anyone who would listen (and not too many people will listen to you talk about back-up centers, especially in Vegas) about a redshirt freshman named Alex Mack who was apparently mauling people in practice.  It's not too often that you can feel comfortable losing a first team All-American, but that's what Mack did.

 

I remember playing Tennessee at Memorial on NCAA Football 2007 and having Alex Mack pull and take out two guys to spring Forsett for a touchdown...and a few days later watching Mack take out THREE guys on almost an identical play (0:51 on the video) during the actual game.  I remember Mack eliminating two WSU players to spring Forsett for a 40 yard TD against the Cougs (2:02 on the same video), our only win in 7 games and perhaps my favorite single play from the 07 season.  I remember asking Mack after the USC game that year if he would be coming back in '08, and hoping that "I don't know, man" would become a yes.  I remember watching Mack run around the sidelines after the Emerald Bowl, slapping hands and thanking everyone that could get close enough to him as he tried to extend his Cal career for another 15 minutes.

Ironically, Mack departs in a fasion similar to Philip - with a much talked about younger player ready to take his place.  Chris Guarnero was a standout in practices as a redshirt freshman and played extremely well at left guard last year before going down for the year with a toe injury.  He may not equal Mack in his Cal career (who will?) but judging by what we've seen so far (that's him sprining Best on the first play), Cal's in good shape yet again at center.

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