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CGB Pre-Season: Stanfurd Roundtable



TwistNHook: At the Big Game last year, Toby statistically had a pretty good game.

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
Gerhart, T 20 139 3 136 4 61 6.8

However, many of those yards came on this disastrous play just moments into the game:

      S 3-2  S39   7-Gerhart, T rush for 61 yards to the CAL0, 1ST DOWN STANFORD,

TOUCHDOWN, clock 13:24.

I certainly couldn't have been the only Cal fan to fear the worst when that occurred. So, overall Gerhart had 20 rushes for 136 yards (and 4 TDs?!???!?!). However, take away that one breakaway run and it is 19 rushes for 75 yards for an average of 3.9 yards a carry. That's about the best you could hope for in holding Gerhart in check!

And while Cal was "holding" Gerhardt in check, how was Luck doing?

Passing              Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack

Luck, A 10-30-1 157 0 37 0

10 for 30 for 157 yards and an interception (AND WHAT AN INTERCEPTION!). Without Gerhart in the lineup this year, Stanford is going to have to rely upon Luck more and more and still yet more. I hope we see the Andrew Luck of the 2009 Big Game in the 2010 Big Game!

Kodiak: I hate writing about the 'furds. I hate their pathetic excuse of a drugged-out eyesore embarrassment-to-mankind mascot. I hate their even more pathetic excuse of drunken disorderly cacophony that they call their band. Sorry...I'm having trouble staying focused here.

The human slab o' muscle has taken his act to the NFL leaving them with no proven playmakers at RB and their offensive hopes solely resting on the golden arm of Andrew Luck. Unfortunately, he's good enough to be worthy of bowel-wrenching hatred. Their O-line has been surprisingly solid over the past two years and they return two proven commodities at wideout in Owusu and Whalen. Whalen is their shifty/clever possession guy. Owusu has elite speed, but inconsistent hands. (Nice to see that combo in another team for once.) With a year of starting experience under his belt, they'll probably rely on Luck's passing to help set up their run game instead of vice-versa. He can make all the throws, has irritating accuracy, and I'm not sure if we can count on him to play catch with MikeyMo again. Also, for all bluster, Harbaugh has shown some serious coaching ability in leading his team to upset wins over 'sc and Oregon. I'm sure he'll put together a dangerous offense.

OhioBear: I. Hate. Stanfurd.

Ergo, I <3 Jeff Tedford. Since he took over, we are 7-1 against Stanfurd. And Tedford's teams are 4-0 in Big Game played in Berkeley, where this year's game will be. In fact, the last time we lost a Big Game in Berkeley was in 2000, when yours truly was in attendance. Tedford is still our coach and I will not be attending this year's Big Game. It is a recipe for victory!

Is Stanfurd good? Hell, I don't know. Everyone seems to think they are, despite losing Gerhart. Apparently, Andrew Luck is pretty good, notwithstanding his 10 of 130, 157 yard, 0 TD, and 1 PROPHET'D performance in last year's Big Game epic.
But no matter how good Andrew Luck is, it won't be good enough. We own the Big Games now the way Stanfurd owned it in the 1990s. Maybe Cal is in their head. Or maybe Cal just has swagger against Stanfurd. Or maybe Cal takes the field in these Big Games, sees those evil colors, sees that abomination of a mascot, sees that sorry excuse for a band, and just takes it up a notch. Whatever it is, I like it. And I think we'll get it done again this year in Berkeley.
Prediction: Field rush. Cal 27, Stanfurd 24. The Axe stays.

Kodiak: Defense is another question. Lack of depth on the D-line has prompted a switch to a 3-4 this year. They still lack elite speed and athleticism, especially in the secondary. However, they tend to be well-coached, swarm the ball, and play with a disciplined, hard-nosed mentality.

On special teams, Owusu is one of the nation's most dangerous returners. And like every other team in the league, it's safe to say that they have better coverage, kickers, etc. until proven otherwise.

Traditional thinking on the Big Game says throw out the records and assume the team with the most to lose is going to struggle. The powerful emotions of a rivalry game can really affect these young men to the point where it's almost impossible to predict the what you'll see on the field. In this case, I see ownage. Having faced a 3-4 defense with real athletes the last few years, our offense is well-prepared. They simply cannot stop our running game and Miller has a career day. Although Luck keeps them in it early, he can't keep up because our offense dominates the time of possession. With their offense rendered one-dimensional and in catch-up mode, our guys spend the whole 4th quarter seeing what type of fruit Luck will grow if planted. In the end, we keep the Axe for another year. 38-21, Cal. A few weeks later, Harbaugh decides the creek has risen and flees to Michigan.

HydroTech: ESPN interviewed 135 college football players regarding the 2010 season. Of the Pac-10 players interviewed, a whopping 44.4% of Pac-10 players interviewed predicted that Stanfurd would win the Pac-10 this year (source: $ link $). That's... very surprising. You would have thought USC or Oregon, or perhaps Oregon State would have been the winner. But Stanfurd? What about Stanfurd makes them look like a Rose Bowl team? Well, they are returning most of their offense; pretty much everyone but Gerhart, and their RT. That's something to be scared of.

Another reason to fear Stanfurd is Andrew Luck -- supposedly. He's apparently really good and a future first round NFL draft pick. He did have a 3.25:1 TD-INT ratio last year. However, he only completed 56.2% of his passes. That is hardly impressive at all, and especially for a future 1st round draft pick. In the same ESPN poll referenced in the previous paragraph, Pac-10 players stated that the best player in the Pac-10 was Washington's Jake Locker, and not Andrew Luck. Perhaps that is telling. Perhaps Luck isn't quite all that and a bag of potato chips.

Berkelium97: Looking at Andrew Luck's stats from last year, he's clearly not the best QB in the Pac-10 (that honor goes to Locker). In fact, statistically, Nick Foles is better than Luck. Luck has a completion percentage of 64.7 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters with an incredible 11.25 yards per pass attempt. Oddly enough, his completion percentage drops to 47.4 in the 1st and 4th quarters while his ypa drops to 6.86. Overall, his percentage throughout the field is about 60-58% except for the red zone, where his percentage plummets to 38.7%. His passing statistics are some of the more bizarre stats in the Pac-10.

What stands out most is his number of pass attempts last year: 288. This was well below the numbers of other Pac-10 QBs who generally tossed between 350 and 400 passes. This illustrates that Luck played a lesser role in the Stanford offense than other QBs did in their offenses. Whether Luck thrives in a more central role this year will be key to Stanford's success this season.

Atomsareenough: I very happily and totally agree with Ohio Bear.

I also hat stanfurd with the fire of a thousand suns. I also love Tedford for beating them mercilessly and repeatedly over the course of his tenure (though, to be fair, they've sucked for most of his tenure). I also have no clue if they're good this year. It's almost mindboggling to me that they're on some preseason top 25 lists. And without Saint Toby de Gerhart, at that. Gosh, I hope they don't become too full of hubris with all these lofty expectations and hype. Wait, actually, I do hope they succumb to hubris, because that's entirely in keeping with their nature. I do think Luck is a good quarterback, much better than they have had over there in a long time, but I don't see how he's the second coming of Elway or anything. And besides, even if he is, I remember we were still able to beat both of them in the Big Game.

I think they'll be roughly as good as they were last year, and I expect us to win the Big Game, because it is our calling, our birthright, our destiny to humiliate Jim Harbaugh and the ridiculous institution he represents. My only disagreement with Sir Ohio Bear is that we'll win by at least 5 points.

BTW, someone please use the phrase "going both ways" in their post. I can't believe I left it out.

OhioBear: I just want to be clear:

I hate Stanfurd.

TwistNHook: I just want to be clear.

Alice In Chains was better than Nirvana.

Atomsareenough: Oh, by the way, my other point of minor disagreement... Why would we rush the field? Unless they're somehow ranked in the top 10, sitting atop the conference standings, and appear headed to the Rose Bowl, which seems extremely unlikely, there's no reason not to act like we beat them because we're supposed to beat them.

OhioBear: On my submission, could Sir Twist kindly edit the second line (should be "Big Games," plural) and the second-to-last line (should be "again," not against).

I want this roundtable to be perfect in form. I do not want the Stanfurd blogmeisters to seize upon typos and make us look bad.
Oh, wait -- they don't have a blog...

TwistNHook: What am I the Turtle to your Vinny Chase?!?!?!?

BTW, the car is out front.

OhioBear: Cal fans have rushed in each of the last five wins in Berkeley, dating back to 1994. It has become commonplace.

TwistNHook: 2006 was less of a rush, more of a meander.

CALumbusBear: Sort of like the team's performance that day.

LeonPowe: There was also rushing in 1992 which was a soul destroying loss. But we won the fight.

Kodiak: Someone should do their write-up in ironic tweet form complete with pseudo Greek imagery.

PS. I agree with Ohio, but disagree with Atomsareenough.
PPS. Since it was apparently unclear in my original post, I am disgusted with all things 'furd. Hatred is too good for them.

Atomsareenough: Really, I think the appropriate word is "contempt".

CALumbusBear: Incorrect, as stanfurd is beneath contempt!

Atomsareenough: Disdain?

CALumbusBear: They are not worthy of our disdain! I believe we may be in a paradox here.

LeonPowe: Scorn!

Kodiak: If only we had someone in our email group whose profession involved the careful use of language and wording. Oh woe with us...whatever shall we do?

TwistNHook: Watch this video?

Kodiak: Okay. This is the best I could come up with on short notice...and sober:(mostly)

Last year, Kairos was in the air, but the hopes of Tyche were Aphrodite-slapped down by the Oracle.

This year, Hubris again rears its Medusa-head and beseeches Nemesis to break off Hermes' Nikes in a stanfurd shield-bearer's netherworld. How about that for a different perspective on going both ways?

Hey, if we write all this stuff, are we going to get chided again for causing problems with other sports blogs...Oh wait. Hahaha!

HydroTech: Yes, Luck does have an extremely high overall YPA (8.94). Taken into consideration with his low completion percentage (56.2%), it goes to show that when Luck completes passes, those passes are deep long passes. Why was this so? Probably because opposing defenses were focusing in on stopping Gerhart, and Luck would playaction and bomb the ball deep to Owusu or Whalen. Owusu and Whalen have 18.4 and 16.2 yards per catch averages respectively! Thus, this statistic seems to confirm it.

So you have to think, that without such a dominant running threat like Gerhart to open things up for Luck, Owusu, and Whalen down the field, that Luck's numbers should trend towards not improving. Of course, Luck may improve his general skills as a QB. Thus his numbers could improve and improve enough to offset the loss in his statistics from not having such a threatening runningback.

TwistNHook: Any more thoughts? Score predictions?

CALumbusBear: 34-13 Cal, and the fighting Harbaughlians go crying home to Mama Tree.

Berkelium97: Cal 35, Stanford 24. With the homefield advantage and no Toby, this one ought to be easier than last year's win.

CBKWit: Cal wins at home. After all, we still have the Prophet.

Yellow Fever: I'm just wondering based on the LA Pac-10 media day, that if Harbaugh said Marecic is the perfect football player, isn't that a slight to Luck?

That said, it should be interesting to see how their passing game works out. By the numbers, last year's Furd offense was similar to the old Raiders offenses of the past - pound it inside with a stud RB, then go deep over the top on play-action. Will the Cardinal be able to do that with a new stable of (what is likely to be) lesser RBs? Probably not with the same effectiveness so it seems like the scheme will probably have to change a bit, probably to feature more short/intermediate throws from Luck. Then again, I'm sure Harbaugh would say that Luck isn't going to have any problem with those either.