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First crack at Uncle Stew (who hates me, by the way).

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sec119 (Berkeley)

You’re in Big East country — do you see Rutgers missing out on a bowl this year? And do you think Schiano is a Jersey Boys’ poor man’s version of Tedford?

Yellow Fever

I think Schiano is eminently worse than Tedford, to be honest - he doesn't seem like a great coach, and as I've said before, the only time his team was really excellent, it was loaded with NFL prospects. Subsequent years have shown that he has the talent there (Kenny Britt, Devin McCourty, Anthony Davis), and let's be honest, the Big East isn't the most difficult conference to win. Any team with as many top prospects as he's had should have won at least one conference title by now. This isn't like Tedford trying to topple the USC (now Oregon) juggernaut in the Pac-10. I have little doubt that if Tedford were at Rutgers, the team would have had at least two Big East titles over the past five years.

So yeah, maybe that does make Schiano a poor man's Tedford in that he appears to be a good recruiter who may not always make his teams play up to their talent level as indicated by their NFL draft results. The difference is Tedford usually gets his team a lot closer to that talent level.

If we switched coaches with Oregon, what do you think our record would be?  Would we be a lot better?  Would we be unbeaten?  Your prediction would depend mostly on whether you think our players are better, the same or worse than Oregon's.  I think our D players are better while our O and ST players are not as good.  So I think our record would be 6-2 or 7-1 with closer and lower scoring games.  Your thoughts?  It doesn't mean much but, hey, pretending or fantasy is much more fun than reality this season.
~tenplay from Bear Insider

Avinash. Oregon?

Well...Riley would have had to learn how to run and disguise the handoff in the zone read. So that's an issue. We'd probably have to put in Brock, although he probably has more accuracy problems than Thomas.  While I wouldn't trade Gould for anyone, Oregon running backs haven't be

I'd say the line coach would be the biggest tradeoff. Marshall is looking like a bust, because he doesn't know how to develop these guys. If we have a competent line, I'd say we're competitive in most of our losses, and definitely win at least one or two of those games.

Nick Aliotti's a pretty underrated DC, although he'll have some headscratching performances. He's actually a lot like Pendergast--very aggressive, lots of blitzing, lots of risks. But I'd have to disagree and say his defensive talent is way more complete than ours.  If he was here he'd probably be getting lit up too because the schemes wouldn't change that much.

Football is terrible. The whole mess with Rugby, Baseball, and the other sports. Basketball looks to be near the bottom of the conference. 

When is the last time that we were worse in football and basketball than we look to be this season?

grandmastapoop from Bear Insider

LeonPowe: Football is pretty easy - 2001! Or any of the Holmoecaust Years. But a combination of football and basketball - well, during the Holmoe years, Ben Braun was taking us to the NCAA and NIT every year - so it doesn't really match up there. 

Looking over the media guides, I think the 1987-1988 year (pre-Bruce Synder and Lou Campinelli's 3rd year) fits the bill. The Football Bears behind Troy Taylor went 3-6-2 (two ties!) including a loss to San Jose State, while the Men's Basketball team after losing Kevin Johnson to the NBA draft the year before finished 9-20 with a starting lineup of 
Keith Smith, Roy Fisher, Ryan Drew (ok, decent start), Matt Beeuswart and Joe Carty (oops) - three freshmen and two sophomores.

atomsareenough (the lab)

How about Syracuse! Sitting at 5-2 with games left against a Cincy team that’s currently missing its QB, and an absolutely terrible UConn team. Bowl-bound, baby!

Yellow Fever

I just hope that Donovan McNabb has the cardiovascular conditioning to properly celebrate when they do make it to a bowl.

And on the subject of McNabb, I'm torn over this whole benching. It's clear that he hasn't played nearly as well as the Redskins hoped he would, but I mean, what did they expect? He can't run, and his supporting cast is roughly that of the 2001 Eagles, when his wideouts were James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, and Freddie Mitchell. Come on now, what did they expect? But it really brought back memories through his passive-aggressive sniping at Shanahan through the media when asked - I used to be of the impression that he was a great company man and he said what he did with the Eagles because, well, what else was he supposed to say? But seeing him do it with another team...let's just say I'm no longer as upset we traded him to the Redskins.

That said, I think it would be awesome if the Eagles were to sign him again after this year, in the same way that it would be awesome for the Patriots to pick Randy Moss back up again.

CruzinBears (the bedroom)

Who do YOU think will be the starting QB for Cal in 2011? If you say Mansion, who then will start in 2012? And will we have to worry about a starting QB in 2013 or will the world have ended?

Yellow Fever

I think whether Mansion starts depends on how he looks in these last few games, as I have a hard time believing that Tedford would overlook production in game situations in favor of strong practices - well, to a degree. Obviously if one of the other guys blows him away in practice then it will hardly matter what the Party Yacht does the rest of this year, but I think the early line favorite has to be Mansion. I wouldn't be surprised at all, though, if Maynard were to end up with the starting job sometime next year and in 2012, if only because of his relationship with Allen and that other WR recruit from NC whose name escapes me. Not to say that it's set in stone because of that, but one would think it would have to help him, wouldn't it?

Jake88 (the interwebs)

How do you evaluate the performance of Cal’s rookies in the NFL? Mel Kiper seemed personally insulted that Tyson Alualu was taken so high – how do you think he is doing? What about Thompson and Best?

Yellow Fever

Kiper seemed shocked that Mike Mitchell went as high as he did to the Raiders in 2009, but then added that it was nothing personal against him, just that he thought the Raiders were insane. Then he went back and said that teams were all over the place on him. That said, I don't think Kiper blew a gasket over Tyson's selection the same way that he did for Mitchell, so there's that.

I think Tyson's played well, since he's starting for the Jaguars and has put up 2.5 sacks (not nearly as many as Ndamukong Suh's 6.5, but then again, he's a freak) at a position in which most players don't collect a lot of sacks, and the coverage of his play has been mostly favorable. Certainly better than other recent first round DTs like John McCargo, Glenn Dorsey, and Amobi Okoye, so I would call him a success so far.

Jahvid's played like he did at Cal - a couple home run plays (especially against the Eagles), but he's ultimately been a little bit inconsistent. Part of that is the Lions offensive line, but it seems like he might need to go through the Reggie Bush/Felix Jones/C.J. Spiller adjustment in which he stops trying to hit the big play every time out and take what's there. I mean, we hardly expect a 3.5 YPC average out of the guy, you know? To me that smacks of the same thing that Reggie Bush had to adjust to - the holes aren't nearly as big in the NFL, and not every carry is going to go all the way...though come to think of it, Reggie still hasn't made that adjustment.

As for Syd, he's a backup punt returner with one pick. So on the one hand, he's been ok when he's played, but being a sixth defensive back means he's on the fringes of the roster by definition.

Jake88 (the interwebs

Which team is the closest analog to Cal in the Big 10/11? Michigan? Northwestern? Illinois? Why?

Yellow Fever

I'd say either Iowa (optimistically) or Purdue (pessimistically), since those are two teams which churn out a decent number of pro prospects, flirt with contention some of the time, but don't ever quite stay firmly planted in the national consciousness for very long.

carp (parts unknown

Hey feva, how do I get my wife to put out more?

Yellow Fever

You're asking me?

LeonPowe (Cleveland)

How come I’m in Ohio and Ryan Anderson is in Florida? Who put this thing together?

Yellow Fever

Hey now, you're the one who took a free agent deal to play in Cleveland. Ryan Anderson just got traded there. Though I wish he were still with the Nets so I'd have someone to play off of when I try to get my Cal hat signed by Farmar and Lopez.

Kodiak (your local dentist's office)

Since our O-line coach is a professional journeyman who never stays in one place and his contract is up in December, who do you see Tedford bringing in to salvage our line?

Yellow Fever

Probably someone we've never heard of. Honestly, how many college o-line coaches does the average person (or even the average diehard college football fan) know? About the only ones I can name are Coach M (the former), the current Coach M (Marshall), Alex Gibbs (cutblocking o-line coach extraordinaire), Mike Tice, and Juan Castillo of the Eagles.


Fever, regarding Oregon and the other world-beating offenses: Have we not seen this before? Ohio State in 2006 and Oklahoma in 2008 were unstoppable and had changed the face of college football. Each scored 14 points once defended by significant speed and talent (in both cases Florida). Should we not expect something similar either when Auburn plays Alabama or once/if Oregon must play an SEC team in the BCS Championship?

-- John Baskam, Atlanta

No, because I don't think there's any evidence that all SEC teams have great defenses, and that the Florida example that you pointed out was representative of all SEC teams. If this were the case, why is Auburn still rolling through the SEC? If Oregon's offense is a gimmick, why is Jeremiah Masoli still putting up huge numbers with a cast worse than the one that he played with in Oregon? While I think it's possible that Alabama holds Auburn to a season-low in points, and that Oregon will probably not reach their season average in points should they play a SEC team in the national championship game, it's certainly not something that should be expected. As a question to do, did you expect that South Carolina would put up 35 points on this Alabama defense that you seem to have put on a pedestal?

In regards to the Big East's decision to expand to 10 teams, I have two questions: 1) What do you think of TCU and Houston making the jump? (if invited); 2) Which conference would have a better shot at AQ BCS status in 2012? The new Mountain West (adding Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada but losing Utah and BYU), or the Big East plus TCU and Houston.

-- Harris, Houston

I don't think there's any way either TCU or Houston make the jump, because of the logistical issues involved for every sport that doesn't end in 'ootball.' There are already sixteen teams in the conference for basketball and I can't imagine St. John's or Marquette will be happy about making the trip down to Houston or Dallas for a regular season game no one really cares about. If they were to join only in football, I suppose that would be one thing, but I don't think that's a possibility. As far as other realistic expansion candidates, I think Temple makes more sense than Villanova, and UCF would be a decent choice because it would expand the conference's recruiting foothold in Florida - as well as giving USF a natural rival that won't beat the tar out of them every year.

If they were to make the jump, I'm pretty sure the Big East would still have a better shot of having AQ status (although I'm still a little hazy on whether they would even be up to lose it in 2012, but I don't think they would) because their teams' average finish is higher. The Mountain West still has a lot of dreck at the bottom of the league, and would even after adding Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada.

Fever, I know Texas has five more games left (assuming it still goes to a bowl), but a simple question with, I'm sure, a complex answer: If you were Mack Brown, what would you do in the offseason?

-- Jeff, Dallas

Work on the Dougie.

This is not so much a question, but a comment regarding your article on October 30. You asked, "How the heck did the Huskers lose so badly to Texas?" I think it is simple -- that is the only game Texas practiced for all year.

-- Jim Wallace, Dallas

That's a possibility too.

As an impartial viewer, I can't help but wonder what happened to the Stanford hype machine? This team was a media darling heading into the Oregon game, lost its halftime lead, and along with it all of the fanfare. Now, the Cardinal sit at 7-1, their only loss being on the road to the No. 1 team in the country, yet even you don't have them in a BCS bowl. Is it because Andrew Luck doesn't run for 100 yards a game, a la Cam Newton? Will a win over Arizona help, or will anyone notice?

-- Shane, Richmond, Va.

I'm a little confused too, because (all impartiality aside) I don't see what separates them from Wisconsin, Alabama, LSU, or any of the other one-loss teams. I don't see them in a lot of top ten polls, and I think part of that is because of the perception that they're out of the running in their own conference, therefore out of the national title race, and therefore not as great as the SEC teams that still might make it to the national championship game because of their conference's title game. Which isn't really an argument that should be made. I mean, honestly, wouldn't you take the Furd over the barrel of laughs that is the LSU offense? I know I would.

After watching the Florida-Georgia game on Saturday, I think that college football needs an amendment to its overtime rules. Specifically, that if the defense returns the ball inside the opponent's 25, the ball should be placed at the resulting spot for the subsequent possession. What are your thoughts?

-- Charlie, Gainesville, Fla.

I've never really thought about it, and I suppose that makes sense. College football rules are so strange that it's hard to know where to mess with the regular rules and not though. I suppose making all possessions start at the 25 is for the sake of uniformity, but if that's the case, then they shouldn't allow fumble or interception returns at all. So if you're going to allow returns for scores to end the game, I think it would make sense to allow returns that advance past the opponent's 25 to set where the team begins their next possession too.

It has been seven years since Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech changed college football (and basketball) by bolting for the ACC. Can we evaluate the results for these schools? It seems to me that this was a win for Virginia Tech, but wouldn't Miami be better off scheduling a few tough nonconference opponents, then running roughshod over the conference to guarantee a BCS bowl at least? And what has this move done for BC?

-- Coy Ross, Pittsburgh

Miami was probably going down regardless, because it's hard to see how they would have necessarily done much better in the Big East - Louisville under Bobby Petrino was a power, Schiano was having his one good period at Rutgers, Rich Rod and Pat White were running wild, and Brian Kelly was doing his thing up in Cincinnati. Would any of that have changed if Miami had stayed in the Big East? If you're going to say that they would have stayed strong there, it's also worth remembering that the ACC that Miami moved into wasn't exactly a hotbed of power teams either. I'd say that the decline they suffered would have happened regardless of which AQ conference they were in.

As far as BC, might they have done better in the Big East? Probably, but they probably wouldn't have contended for a national championship or anything either (their #2 ranking in 2007 came at the same time that West Virginia was also a power), so might they have gone to a BCS bowl or too? Yeah, I can see that, especially with Matt Ryan that year. But they haven't done too poorly in the ACC either.

No question for you, Fever. Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know you're the best in the biz. Really enjoy your work and your tweets. You're the man. I imagine you get a lot of negative s--- sent to you since CFB fans are certifiable for the most part, but you should know you're the best. I've had a bit to drink. Go Jayhawks.

-- Jason Goodvin, Wichita, Kan.

Thanks Jason. Go Turner Gill.