This week Uncle Ted is going team by team to identify the most important (non-QB) players in the conference. His choice for Cal: Brendan Bigelow.
If you watched Cal last season, you surely laughed at the above statistics. Talk about misleading.
Rushed for 431 yards? Er, Bigelow averaged 9.8 yards per carry. Scored three touchdowns? Who watched the Cal-Ohio State game? Anyone? How about four carries for 140 yards, including his 81-yard scoring scamper, one of the season's top plays by anyone. That touchdown jaunt was the longest run ever by an opposing back in 90-year-old Ohio Stadium. So, yeah, it was sumpthin.
His first two seasons in Berkeley, Bigelow battled injuries and inconsistency. Oh, and there was a sometimes baffling lack of touches, even when he was (reportedly) healthy. Was the Pac-12 blog alone last year when he rasped out loud, "Would someone give the ball to Brendan Bigelow? Just for kicks. Purty please?" The Pac-12 blog thinks not.
Know this: New coach Sonny Dykes really wants Bigelow to get the ball and do his explosive thing, preferably in space.
So, why is Bigelow Cal's most important player? Because if he averages 20 touches a game over a 12-game schedule, Cal will be a bowl team.
Bigelow's spotty history staying healthy -- he missed spring after surgery on the same knee he twice had ACL surgeries on while in high school -- makes the mere opportunity to give him touches a question. He's not a given for 12 games, but being able to hypothetically project him as one transforms this team.
For one, Cal will be breaking in a young quarterback this fall. His life will be infinitely easier if the guy standing in the backfield with him scares the pooh out of the opposing defense. Second, the Cal offensive line is, well, questionable. Bigelow is the sort who can do things on his own. Give him a sliver of light, and he'll give you 81 yards.
Ted makes a good case for Biggie.
- QB Jordan Rodgers talks about his brother's elbow-heavy approach to post play in their one-on-one basketball games.
- Athlon ranks the top-50 running backs of the BCS era. Marshawn Lynch is 26th and J.J. Arrington is 46th.
- Matt Summers-Gavin's academic and athletic achievements earned him a position in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society.
- The men's team hosted its annual team awards banquet. Allen Crabbe was named team MVP.
- Cal made several early mistakes but battled back to come within seconds of forcing overtime against BYU. Jonny Linehan kicked a last-second drop goal to give BYU the 27-24 edge. Championship number 27 will have to wait until next year.
- Cal opened its series against no. 17/16 Stanford with a 13-5 loss.
- The Bears followed that up with a 17-2 loss.
- Lindsey Zeigenhirt was named to the 2013 Capital One All-Academic District 8 First Team.
- It was a bittersweet day for Megan Takacs as she became the all-time goals leader at Cal; meanwhile the Bears were eliminated from the MPSF tournament as the Bears lost 16-6 to Stanford.
- No. 7 Stanford upset the no. 3 Cal men's team in the Big Row.
- The women's team avenged the men by sweeping Stanford to win its fourth consecutive Lambert Cup.
Track and Field
- Jaci Powell set two personal records during the first day of the Pac-12 Heptathlon. She is currently in seventh place.