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Football: Bowl talk

It looks as though a substantial number of Cal players would rather play in the Las Vegas Bowl than just across the Bay Bridge in the Emerald Bowl.

Wide receiver Jeremy Ross had some telling comments at today’s weekly press luncheon. He said there was a strong faction of the team that would rather go to the Las Vegas Bowl than the Emerald Bowl. The Emerald Bowl, played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, is highly interested in having Cal in the game because it would likely result in a sellout. But many of the Bears find traveling to a different city to be part of the bowl experience and it may not feel special enough to play just 13 miles away from campus.

“A lot of us want to go to the Vegas Bowl,” Ross said. “That’s kind of the talk right now, going to the Vegas Bowl. Going somewhere else makes it that much funner. We travel during the season but it’s more business. With the bowl game, we have the opportunity to explore and walk around the city and see different things because we’re there for the whole week. It makes it that much better when we’re somewhere unfamiliar to be able to go there and and sightsee and enjoy ourselves outside of football.”

Ross said some of the Bears were actually rooting for Oregon to beat Oregon State on Saturday, even though an Oregon State victory would have put Cal in a tie for third instead of fourth place. It also would have meant a berth in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

“I know a lot of people wanted to be higher up and possibly go to the Holiday Bowl,” Ross said. “But a lot of people wanted to go to Vegas as well. Vegas has been the talk of the town. A lot of people weren’t too disappointed. I’m not going to lie to you.”

Ross said “we’re rooting for Arizona State.” If ASU beats Arizona on Saturday, there is some talk that the Las Vegas Bowl wouldn’t give up Cal to the Emerald Bowl so quickly because it would be forced to have a 6-6 team rather than an 8-4 team.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford said if the Bears play in the Emerald Bowl, they will practice at Memorial Stadium. He said the team would still stay in a San Francisco hotel and take part in all the activities the bowl has scheduled.

“If we do stay home, I know we’ll make it a good experience for them,” Tedford said. “They’ll stay in the city. They’ll stay in the hotel. It will feel like a bowl game to them. They’ll be away from here and they’ll go through all the activities. I know that our administration and the bowl will do a nice job making it nice for them.”

Las Vegas Bowl director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said Tuesday afternoon that she is “pretty close to coming to some agreement” with Emerald Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli. The Las Vegas Bowl and Emerald Bowl get to pick between the No. 4 and No. 5 teams in the Pac-10 every year, with the first choice alternating each year. The Las Vegas Bowl has the first pick this season, and likely will be deciding between Cal, Arizona and Arizona State. Cavalli and Kunzer-Murphy have been in discussions that would ensure the Emerald Bowl gets Cal.

Kunzer-Murphy raved about the experience of having Cal in Las Vegas in 2005 and said she’s received numerous e-mails from fans expressing their desire to have the team play in her game.

“I totally understand why he’d like to have Cal at his place,” she said. “We had a great time when Cal was down here. They’ve always been in our sights if they’re around the fourth or fifth spot. We just think the world of them. But I understand the economics of things.”

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Go Bears82

    It’s embarrassing that they are dismayed about playing in the Emerald bowl vs. the Las Vegas bowl. They should be feeling bitter that they haven’t played in the Rose Bowl in 50 years. It’s time to stop thinking that these second tier bowls are a consolation. I’ve been a Bears fan all my life and I would really like them to set their sights on winning the Pac-10 and going to the Rose Bowl.

  • Lovethebears

    Let’s be proud of what our guys did THIS year and not blame them for what the team before them did or didn’t do. Great Job guys!! Good luck in your bowl game!!

  • CalFBFan

    Eh, the team is focusing on “now”, as opposed to what could have been. See 2004 Holiday Bowl for reference.

    Of course the team should be dismayed that they aren’t playing in the Grand Daddy of Them All, but it’s good to see that they’re still interested in the their current bowl situation. If their minds are elsewhere, sulking about a bowl they won’t be going to, they could easily play a half hearted game and lose in a 2nd tier bowl; that wouldn’t do any good for the team’s reputation.

    Time for worrying about the Rose Bowl this season has come and gone. Time to focus on what they can do NOW, and leave the rest for next season.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Go Bears82 Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 12:58 pm
    It’s embarrassing that they are dismayed about playing in the Emerald bowl vs. the Las Vegas bowl. They should be feeling bitter that they haven’t played in the Rose Bowl in 50 years. It’s time to stop thinking that these second tier bowls are a consolation. I’ve been a Bears fan all my life and I would really like them to set their sights on winning the Pac-10 and going to the Rose Bowl.>>>>> Finally an eruditic poster. USC has played in the Rose Bowl almost on a yearly basis. The Rose Bowl is in our backyard. We play there every other year against PUCLA. Are we whining because we play in a bowl game so that we can’t travel somewhere to play? You got what you deserved. Use it as motivation next year to improve.

  • Go Bears82

    While I appreciate the focus on the here and now, the comments about not going to Las Vegas seems a little petulant. I’m exceedingly happy that they’re going to any bowl game. I’ve been attending games for 31 years and I’ve seen a lot of disappointing seasons. I am quite happy with the success that Tedford has brought to this program. But playing a game in front of a sold-out stadium for fans that could not afford or couldn’t travel is a great opportunity to reward the loyal fans that have supported this team. To hear them say they would rather play in Vegas suggests that they don’t share the perspective that the fans care too. And being a long-time Bears fan, I absolutely want them to feel that they can contend for the Pac-10 championship and deservedly go to the Rose Bowl.

  • Calbears

    nomorencs, again with this we we we garbage, YOU ARE NOT ON THE TEAM!!!!!, stop coming on this board loser

  • CalFBFan

    Go Bears82>> Hear hear! I agree with most of what you said in your second post. That being said, these players are still kids; I myself am not very far removed from their age group. I understand the desire to do something new and exciting for once.

    I guess the correct attitude should be, “It’d be really damn fun to play in Vegas, but it’d be an honor to play for the fans in SF too.” Regardless, I wouldn’t class Ross’ comments as “whining”. Whining would be, “If we’re not going to Vegas, I’m going to quit and transfer! I’m not going to play even if the coach calls my number!”

  • Steve W

    The players understandably want to go to Vegas because of the perceived fun factor that town can offer to young men just reaching the drinking age. The better environment for the fans will be a rocking Pac Bell park against a North Carolina or Clemson. I live in Southern California and will probably make the trip for the Emerald Bowl. I’ll skip the Vegas Bowl if that’s the choice. See you at Momo’s.

  • TopArchiBear

    Not that I against the Vegas Bowl. It is better money, not by much, though. But, Cal were there two years ago, And, I had a great time there in the game, when they beat BYU. Other than that, I didn’t enjoy Vegas much, because I don’t drink, I don’t gamble, and I hate shopping.

    On the other hand, I rather see Cal play an ACC team with much more exposure to the east this year, than a rematch with a MWC team of BYU. Competing with an ACC team and beating them is far more better than beating BYU twice.

    Beside, I rather save the $$$$ to be a donor to Cal for another year than spend it at Vegas, given that the economic crunch which every one is facing right now.

    I understand how some of the players prefer the perceived fun they would have in Vegas vs in SF. But, truely, SF is a much bigger tourist destination. There are so much more things to do there. Have they seen the new Museum and the new Academy of Science with the new aquarium, take a blue and gold bay tour, etc….. we couldn’t even get a ticket to the new Academy of Science last weekend when we were there. If they stay there for a week, which they are planning to, they will love SF.

    How about a home field advantage, lets make it an 8-0.

    One more note, I rather see the game on the 12/27 than on 12/20 before Christmas.

    Go Bears!

  • AmyFan4Life

    Wow! Amy used a big word! Did you ask your daddy or mommy for help on that one, Amy?

    Are you even bothering to come to the Rose Bowl this year? I am sure Daddy would pay the way and buy the ticket. You could stay with me at the sorority. I promise not to bite! I know, I know, any woman would be dead and forgotten before you leave your F5 key. You could bring it with you, kind of like a child’s blanket. I even will hold it for you.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    AmyFan4Life Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 9:18 pm
    Wow! Amy used a big word! >>>> Yup the big word is BANNED! You got banned again thanks to me and if you keep up what you are doing you will be banned by IP address. OTOH I have posted today at least 15 times with two different s/ns. Bye bye Sherman.

  • AmyFan4Life

    Wow! It took you almost 20 minutes to respond to me, Amy! Getting slow on the F5 are we?

    Your old friend, Sherman??? Wrong, again, lil boy! But, I dare you to post his picture, again! Or, what about posting someone’s IP address? Brilliant moves from the saliva yard!

    I was banned for only 3 days unlike morencs, lessnc, lessncs, kylebollerfan, fundmanager, mebanedt8, mebanewunderlicwiz8, thebruinwarrior, who else?

    Keep on pressing F5!