Our next second round match-up features a couple of football greats taking on each other in the Pappy Waldorf region. Carter toiled for some really bad Cal football teams and was oftentimes the lone bright spot, while Coach Synder led the Cal resurgence of the late 80's and early 90's before leaving for Arizona State.
Carter has enjoyed a long and productive NFL career, most recently catching on with the New England Patriots and dominating offensive lines as he is known to do. Synder passed away in 2009 but was tremendously successful in his tenure at Cal and I think I speak for everyone when I say I wish it could have continued on past 1991.
Andre defeated Patrick Christopher quite easily in his first round vote, while Synder pushed 2-seed Hardy Nickerson to a run-off and then won by 22 votes. You can take a look at the whole bracket here and you can read the full profiles after the jump. Voting will end on Friday. GO BEARS!
(7) Andre Carter
Coach Tom Holmoe pulled quite the coup in 1997 when he recruited studly Andre Carter to play his college football at Cal. Carter's college career was certainly forgettable from a wins-losses standpoint, as Carter was unfortunately in the middle of the Holmoecaust. But Carter was certainly a bright and shining light on Cal's "Hit Squad" defense of those years.
Carter played for the California Golden Bears from 1997-2000. During his junior and senior years he was a unanimous All-Pac 10 Conference selection. In 2000 he won the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac 10's top defensive lineman as voted on by the starting offensive lineman from the conference. In addition to being selected as the Golden Bears' most valuable player, Carter was also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the nation's top defensive player. Finished as the school's all-time sacks leader.
#2 seed Scott Fujita was also big on his old teammate, calling Carter his favorite teammate (HT kolwave).
When Fujita got to Cal as a 6-4, 195-pound safety who was the last man on the depth chart, his intensity on the practice field routinely perturbed his veteran teammates. "I was kind of the annoying, walk-on, ‘Scout Team All-American' who irritated the old guys," Fujita explained. [...] It was hard not to feel excluded, especially when everyone was lining up for training table and I wasn't allowed to eat. Andre Carter would sneak me food all the time. He really took care of me in every way. He's my brother from another mother."
White might've been more important for us at Cal, but Carter has definitely had the better professional career.
Great career as a D-lineman at Cal, became a top-10 pick in the NFL draft, and has had a long pro career. On top of that, he has become CGB's meme for "needing an adult."
This guy was an absolute beast off the edge. Could stuff the run, rush the passer, and was known for running down backs/receivers down the field...even on the opposite side. If not for being knee-capped by the Holmoe era, he would have put up unreal #'s.
Similar in speed to Cam Jordan, but not as big. However in terms of motor/focus, he started from day one and was a force even as a true frosh.
(15) Bruce Synder
In December of 1986, Cal Athletic Director David Maggard hired then-Los Angeles Rams assistant coach Bruce Snyder to take over as head football coach after the largely unsuccessful tenure of Joe Kapp. Prior to accepting the Cal job, Coach Snyder had modest experience as a head coach: he had spent 1976 to 1982 as the head coach at Utah State, where he had rebuilt a program that had been down and out. Perhaps it was his experience at rebuilding that made Snyder a good fit for the Cal job: after a disastrous 2-9 season in 1986, to say that the Cal football program needed a rebuild was an understatement.
Through five seasons, Snyder compiled a 29-24-4 record at Cal and was the first coach to lead the Bears to two bowl wins. Unfortunately, and to the universal dismay of Cal fans, the epic 1991 season was Snyder's last as Cal head coach. Arizona State, which had fired Larry Marmie after the season, lured Snyder away with a lucrative contract offer after the Citrus Bowl. New Cal athletic director Bob Bockrath, who assumed his duties just a few months before the Citrus Bowl triumph, is generally regarded by Cal fans as having done too little to retain Coach Snyder. In 2004, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Snyder still felt regret about how his Cal tenure ended after having reached what was, at the time, the highest point of his head coaching career.
The relatively short five-year tenure of Snyder as Cal coach does not, however, diminish his legacy as one of Cal's best coaches of all time. Indeed, the fact that five Cal Athletic Hall-of-Famers played for him (MIke Pawlawski, Sean Dawkins, Russell White, Troy Auzenne, David Ortega) is a testament to his coaching as well as to the players' ability. Coach Snyder's greatness is further illustrated by the way he and his staff had a knack for finding the diamonds in the rough when it came to recruiting. The most striking example was Pawlawski, who was not recruited heavily as a quarterback coming out of Troy High School in Yorba Linda, Calif. Pawlawski played only one season as a high school quarterback and put up modest numbers in that year; yet, Snyder and his staff saw something in Pawlawski that led them to offer him a scholarship. One publication called Pawlawski the "worst recruit in the Pac-10" in 1987; Pawlawski had the last laugh as a senior in 1991, when he was the Pac-10 co-offensive player of the year for a team that finished in the top 10 in the national polls.
Coach Snyder would go on to have a 9-year run at Arizona State, where he went 58-45 with four bowl appearances (one bowl win) as coach of the Sun Devils. Most notably, Snyder's 1996 ASU team went undefeated in the regular season and were within just a few seconds of a national championship before falling 20-17 to Ohio State on a late touchdown in the Rose Bowl. Snyder was the 1996 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and won several national coach of the year honors that year. To add insult to the injury of losing him to a conference rival, Snyder's teams went 7-2 against Cal.