Another big matchup today. Former Cal running back Joe Igber is taking on former Cal DLineman Brandon Mebane. The winner of this matchup will definitely take on a former Cal women's soccer player! That much we know! This is in the Pete Newell bracket, with Kevin Johnson as the #1 seed.
You can read the entire bracket here. Voting ends on May 13, 2011 at noon, so go vote. AND GO BEARS!
Pete Newell Bracket
Joe Igber (4)
I'll let BearStage talk about Igber.
Joe Igber. My all-time favorite Cal running back. Often overlooked, his name litters the pages of Cal’s record books.
- His 3,124 career rushing yards are the third most in Cal history. Only Russell White and Marshawn Lynch can claim more.
-His 2002 rushing total of 1,130 yards was the 3rd highest single-season total in Cal history (at that time)
His greatest performance: a 226-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 2002 Big Game, which Cal won 30-7. Not only did he set the record for most rushing yards in the history of the Big Game (which still stands), he helped bring the Axe back to its rightful home after a painful 7-year drought.
These accomplishments alone should be enough to garner him consideration. And while these are all great reasons to appreciate Joe Igber, I’m most impressed with him because his career typified what we strive for Cal to be. You see, Igber somehow managed to balance the workload of a star Pac-10 running back with the workload of becoming a civil engineer.
Now, most people can barely handle one of those challenges. We all know how time consuming and stress inducing engineering majors are – between physics/math/engineering courses, labs, projects, research (if you’re ambitious) – it’s more than enough for most of us. UC Berkeley is one of the best (and toughest) places in the world to study engineering. People come from all over the world to study engineering at Cal, and that reputation is well-deserved, and it was the main reason that Joe Igber decided to come to Cal in the first place.
Also, we’ve all heard about how much time, sacrifice, dedication it takes to play Pac-10 football, let alone be a starter – the practice, the training, and weight rooms, the film, the travel. Add to the that the pressure of being the star running back, and you’ve got yourself a full plate that very few have the patience and focus to handle.
On top of even that – to perform at the level that Joe Igber did, to set records and do things on the field no Golden Bear has ever done, while handling that academic workload – it’s just ridiculous.
Joe Igber is that rare combination, the very best of both of Cal’s worlds – an amazing athlete and an impressive scholar. As such, I nominate him for the CGB Hall of Fame.
(Bonus: follow this link for incredible pictures of Joe Igber from Life magazine)
Brandon Mebane (13)
Brandon Mebane plays on Sundays as an important cog on the Seattle Seahawks' defensive line. As a Cal Bear from 2003 to 2006, Mebane was a vital cog on Cal's defensive line.
From OhioBear's nomination: "Defensive tackle who anchored the Cal defensive line in the 2006 season. Mebane was a first team All Pac-10 selection in 2005 and 2006. For his career, Mebane had 25.5 TFL and 14.5 sacks. One of his memorable TFLs was a safety in the 2006 game at USC. Mebane played as a true freshman in 2003. He broke into Cal's starting lineup early in the 2004 season as a sophomore and started 30 games in his Cal career.
Mebane was a 3rd round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 NFL draft."
From wiki: "In his rookie season he played all 16 games and recorded 29 tackles including 2 sacks. 2008 was a promising year for Mebane as he again played all 16 games and recorded 39 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. With the departure of Rocky Bernard, Mebane was expected to make a big impact for the Seahawks in 2009 in which he started 15 games and recorded 49 tackles and 1.5 sacks. For the 2010 season Mebane started the first four games but suffered a calf injury and was forced to sit out the next 4 games. In the first 4 games he had 8 tackles and 1 sack."
From Greatest Cal Defensive Linemen of the 2000s:
"Quite simply one of the most imposing Golden Bears in the frontline and definitely our best interior threat over the years. He was voted the most valuable D-linemen in 2005 and 2006 and was first team Pac-10 both those years. Facing constant double teams both seasons, he still led the team in sacks in 2005. Even when facing plenty of TRIPLE teams in 2006 he managed to pile up another four.
Best games? So many of them. He tackled John David Booty for a safety in our 23-9 defeat in the Coliseum. He anchored a crucial goal-line stand against the Cougars that snuffed out any chance at victory for Wazzu in Pullman. He recorded nine tackles in his final Big Game to retain the Axe."