We're wrapping up the CGB Hall of Fame Round of 32 and moving into our final selections next week! Two of Cal's greatest on the gridiron clash this morning.
For each athlete, you can vote in the poll; it closes a week from today at midnight. After the jump, you can read the athlete profiles written up by our commenters, and discuss in the comments your memories of each athlete and which one deserves to move on. (Check out the full bracket here. To check out the original nomination thread, click here. For those who want to track the CGB Hall of Fame posts exclusively, click here or right next to the timestamp above where it says "Hall of Fame".)
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.
"Muncie set six school rushing records, including most touchdowns and most yards gained in a single season. He was instrumental in Cal’s NCAA-leading offense which propelled the team to the co-championship of the Pac-8 in 1975, and he appeared for the first time on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Muncie was a strong candidate for the Heisman Trophy and finished second in the voting in 1975 behind Archie Griffin of Ohio State. After Muncie graduated, the New Orleans Saints selected him in the 1st round of the 1976 NFL Draft with the 3rd overall selection"
And he more than anyone else destroyed Stanford in the big game that year:
1975 California 48 Stanford 15
And now...time to dust off that slick 1975 footage! Muncie's domination starts at 3:34.