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Football: Sunday practice update

And so Big Game week begins …

–There was one piece of news coming out of Cal’s practice Sunday: Redshirt freshman defensive back Michael Coley is lost for the season after his leg injury Saturday was diagnosed as a broken fibula. He registered 14 tackles on the season with two pass break-ups. Coley was hurt while serving on the punt return team in the second quarter against Oregon State.

–The early odds I’ve seen have Stanford as a 20½-point favorite in the Big Game. Cal coach Jeff Tedford was asked if the dynamics are different preparing his team when it’s either a big favorite or big underdog against Stanford. “I don’t look at it that way,” Tedford said. “We go into the game expecting to win, and so we don’t worry about what other people think or say about what’s going to happen in the game. It’s about what our expectations are of ourselves and how we need to play.”

Not sure I’m buying it. You can’t tell me that Cal’s coaches won’t bring up the “underdog” theme as a motivational tool at some point this week. The Bears will enter this game feeling they have something to prove against their much more publicized rival. Thing is, Stanford will have a chip on its shoulder too after losing big to Oregon to spoil its national title hopes …

Joe Stiglich

  • wehofx

    True dat.

    As someone whose bet way too much on Cal this season and gotten burned, getting 20 points sure is tempting. I gotta good feeling…

    Good work, Joe.

    Go Bears!

  • abe

    so the entire practice report is that Coley is out for the rest of the year and that Joe is not fooled by Tedford’s coach speak…i know practice is closed and everything but this is hilarious.

  • Boaltblue

    To our defense, play with the heart of Mike Mohamed, Syd Quan Thompson, Tyson Alualu, and Zack Follett.

    To Isi and CJ, run with the determination of Shane Vereen.

    To Zach, rise to the occasion like Kevin Riley twice did.

    To our receivers, you can catch and run into Cal football history.

    Beat the Cardinal. Bring the Axe home. Go BEARS!

  • Hungry

    Sad for Coley. He’s my favorite ST player. Wishing you a speedy recovery Michael.

  • Kent Wilson

    Cal’s victory over OSU likely means that Cal would have only lost 1 game this season as a favorite (UCLA). Believe it or not, losing only 1 game as a favorite would make this one of Tedford’s best seasons as a coach. As I have stated previously, Cal typically loses at least 2 games as a favorite since Tedford has been the coach.

    Of course, ASU’s annual meltdown is in full effect, so its possible that Cal could be a favorite against ASU…with another loss by ASU and a good showing for Cal in the Big Game.

  • K1W

    I’ll “expect the unexpected” for the Big Game, like the 1982 Big Game when John Elway was Stanford’s QB; he was an even bigger deal than Andrew Luck is today. As you may recall, that one ended with THE (most famous football) PLAY of all time. I was there to see it live.

    And John Elway missed playing in a bowl game in his senior year, ended up #2 to 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.

    For 2011′s version, it would have been even BETTER if Stanford had beat Oregon, and the national title was on the line. Go Bears!

  • Kyle

    @Abe- Sunday’s are generally a conditioning only practice. What do you want?? Chill out.

  • rollonubears
  • Kent Wilson

    What are the Bowl matchup possibities? I’d love to see Cal play Florida (5-5), Auburn (6-4), Ohio St. (6-4), Texas (6-3). A great bowl matchup for Cal would be to play a “national program” in a Bowl game.

    I know its more likely that Cal will play another mediocre team that does not have a “national winning tradition”…but I still hope that the Bowl game will provide an opportunity for Cal to turn some heads.

  • 707 Bear

    The season-ending OSU injury jinx continues: Best, Riley, Coley.

    At the game you couldn’t see the gruesome nature of Coley’s injury.

    A reminder that these young men get a lot (scholarship, fame, etc.), but they often leave body parts on the field for our Saturday entertainment.

    Go Bears!

  • Steve W

    I don’t see any chance of beating Stanford, but the Bears need to avoid the humiliation from last year’s beat-down at home, where they did a lot of useless woofing before the game and then got steamrolled. I want to see if Cal can establish it’s will with the nasties up front and continue it’s run domination of late. Please, please don’t put the ball in ZM’s hands and expect a good result.

  • covinared

    yeah Abe. What do you lees than 24 hours after a game? Some position won on the basis some practice heavy hitting? The day after is for film review, recuperation and introduction to the plan for the upcoming opponent.

  • Wyoming Bear

    I hope the Bears play the Pokes out of the MWC. They are having a solid year out here in Laramie. Maybe in Vegas? Not sure how that line up works. They are #3 after TCU and Boise St.

  • Wyoming Bear

    @707- On TV you sure could see that something was broken. Coley’s leg was flopping around on the replay. It was nasty.

  • rollonubears

    Just because we’re bowl-eligible doesn’t mean we’ll get a bid, right? Doesn’t it take 7 wins to get a guaranteed bid? I would think we at least have to keep it close in both games to get the nod with a 6-6 record including one against an fbs team.

  • eric

    I think at 6-6, with not enough Pac-12 teams to fill the slots, means we’ll get a bowl no matter what. There are six Pac-12 bowls (excluding the Rose Bowl). We have Oregon and Furd likely in BCS bowls. Then there is Arizona State, UW, Utah, UCLA. So assuming all of those become eligible, counting us there would be one bowl that the Pac-12 could not fill.

  • http://deleted calfaninaz

    1. Nobody would watch a wyoming v cal match-up. (outside of the bay area and Laramie) I would rather have TCU.

    2. kent wilson: “one of Tedfords best coached seasons” umm. blow-out losses to $C and oregon..and UCLA. Also, for the 6th strait year JT cant identify or develop a solid Pac-12 QB. Stop spinning it. JT has proved mediocre again.

    3. Wins against fresno, Colorado, presbyterian, Utah, Washington St, and Oregon st…how impressive.

    4. Go Bears!!!! Beat the Furd.

  • DelthaForce

    Didn’t Cal play Wyoming in the Sun Bowl in the 90s? I agree that a match-up with a big time program would be nice, but the Pac 12′s poor bowl tie-ins might hurt us there.

    Remember in ’06 when we came into the Big Game following losses to AZ and USC and played a lackluster game as a result? I recall Tedford benching Marshawn for lack of effort. We narrowly won that one against a Stanford team that was absolutely terrible (1-11). I think we might need some kind of similar hang dog attitude from the Card this year to have a chance. As an alternative to actually winning, I’d be happy if we hurt Luck’s Heisman chances somehow. I am tired of hearing about how he’s the perfect human being, blah blah blah. Even during the Cal-SC telecast, a game in which Luck WAS NOT PLAYING, the announcers went on a long schpiel about how great Luck is (ostensibly because they were comparing him to Barkley). Enough, I’m tired of it!

  • rollonubears

    Jerry Sandusky was a model for greatness, too.

  • Uh Huh!

    Rollon: I supported your opinion in a prior basketball post. But bringing Sandusky into the conversation here is both nonsensical and insulting. If you want people to respect your posts, please make them worthy of respect.

  • 707 Bear

    Looks like we’re not the olny team that can’t win on the road:

    From Ted Miller (ESPN Blog)

    “Oregon defeated a top five team on the road for the first time in school history at Stanford on Saturday, but road warriors are few and far between in the Pac-12.

    Two teams are a perfect 5-0 at home: Oregon and Arizona State. Can you guess what differentiates the elite team from the one that is crumbling?

    The Sun Devils are 1-4 on the road, one of eight conference teams that have won one or zero road games this season.

    That’s terrible. And it’s the reason the conference has become so top-heavy. Stanford, Oregon and USC are a combined 12-2 on the road. Everyone else is 9-34, with three of those wins coming from Utah — two in nonconference play.

    Playing on the road is always tough, but this is sort of ridiculous.”

    Go Bears!

  • 707 Bear

    Did Miller count our “road” win in the hostile pro-Fresno Candlestick (he counted a loss for Oregon in Dallas)?

  • Pasadena Dave

    @DelthaForce – did you not see the Stanfurd/Oregon telecast? They were promoting tonight’s MNF match-up between the Packers and the Vikings. Next thing you know…a big fat graphic of Aaron Rodgers in a Cal uniform with his final year stats (they mistakenly labeled it his senior year). Guess what…last I checked….Rodgers WAS NOT PLAYING IN THAT GAME!!! :-)

  • DelthaForce

    @Pasadena Dave – I did notice the reference to Rodgers, and enjoyed it! Though, I think the Luck media adulation has risen to heights this year far beyond anything Rodgers got while in college. Tim Tebow is probably the best comparison.

  • abe

    Kyle, Covinard,…my comment was directed at not just this particular post by quiet a few of Joe’s posts so far. i have noticed that they seem to be just about one or two things and more opinionated and less reporting. while i dont mind the former i value the latter more. just saying…

  • Kent Wilson

    Calfaninaz,

    I see I did not clearly articulate my point…in a number of very lengthly posts over the past couple of weeks, I have painstakenly reviewed each year during Tedford tenure as head coach. What I highlighted was that between 2005 and 2010, Tedford’s teams always lost at least 2 games to opponents where Cal was a solid favorite. During this same period, Cal rarely won any games when Cal was an underdog (actually have a 2-16 record as an underdog). I was concluding that despite records of 9-4, 10-3 and 8-5, (between 2005 – 2010) that Cal actually had “underachieved” despite having strong winning percentages.

    I actually believe that Tedford has been a rather weak gameday coach despite his winning record. I was one of the folks arguing when Cal was going to the Humanitarian, Las Vegas and Insight Bowl games that these Bowl games did NOT signify a successful season. I kept stating that Tedford team have consistently UNDERACHIEVED each year between 2005-2010.

    So, when I say that 2011 appears to be one of Tedford better seasons, I make that statement, based on pre-season projections and largely because the team did NOT lose very many games in which Cal was favored to win. Since Tedford has rarely had any victories when Cal was an underdog…not having any of those type victories in 2011 is consistent with his past years. So, again, I conclude that 2011 is one of Tedford better jobs as a gameday coach.

    Another point of clarification: as I review Tedford’s performance season by season…I am focusing only on the onfield performance relative to the expectations. What I am NOT reviewing is Tedford and his staff’s ability recruit top talent. What is undisputable, is Tedford ability to recruit top talent to Cal like no other coach over the past 50 years. Cal’s pipeline of players to the NFL is an indication of his success in that area as a college football coach.

    If I had to rank each since Tedford has been head coach I would rank them as follows (from best to worst)

    2004: 10-2…dominated USC statsistically except on scoreboard and won every game in which they were favored during the regular season. Only bad game was in Bowl game vs. Texas Tech.

    2003: 8-6…beat USC and Va Tech in Bowl game. Overall, had 4 upset wins.

    2002: 7-5…Engineered 4 upset victories over Mighigan St., UW, UCLA and ASU. Singlehandedly saved Kyle Boller’s career.

    2011: 6-4 to date….only 1 bad loss…no notable victories…blow out losses to top teams in conference.

    2008: 9-4….No notable wins. Loss to Maryland was a national embarassment. Cal’s 2nd upset loss was when they were only slight favorites to Arizona.

    2005: 8-4…No notable wins. Upset losses to OSU and UCLA…at least Cal was only a slight favorite to UCLA.

    2006: 10-3…Cal was strongly favored in 12 of its 13 games. Loss to Tennessee was another national embarrassment and loss to Arizona cost the Bears a Rose Bowl bid.

    2010: 5-7…no notable wins…but 2 losses as a favorite.

    2009: 8-5…4 losses when Cal was a solid favorite…but Cal did have 1 victory as an underdog…against Stanford.

    2007: 7-6…A great win (arguably best in Tedford’s career vs Oregon on the road)…but team melted down with 5 losses when Cal was a strong favorite. This team had the talent to win a national championship. One of the worst coaching jobs on a national level over the past 10 years!

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    Kent- your “wish list” for bowl game opponents dont make any sense. the Pac12, like every conference, has a contract with the various bowl games. Usually the Bowl does not have to take the, say, 4th place team, but they get the 4th selection of Pac12 teams. We, errr, the Pac12, has no tie-ins with a bowl & SEC teams so a struggling Florida & horrible Auburn matchups are out. And of course, the only way Cal can play Ohio State is in the Rose Bowl.

  • Pasadena Dave

    @DelthaForce – point well taken. ESPN adulation/worship of Luck does remind me of the Tebow lovefest. However Tebow won NCs and conference championships, which could justify the exposure. Luck obviously has a better upside, but doesn’t have rings.

    @Abe – last time I checked, this is a blog. It’s a good forum for reporters to step outside the rigidity of objective reporting and provide some color/commentary. I thought Joe calling out JT’s coach speak (BS) was hilarious.