Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Michigan State! (Steve Harris)

Hello and Go Bears! Welcome to Michigan State Week!

Game 1: Cal (Pac-10) v. Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten)
Date/Time: Saturday, August 30, 5:00 pm
Location: Memorial Stadium (67,537 capacity (with tarps), Momentum Turf)
TV/Radio: ABC (regional coverage)/KGO 810 AM/XM Satellite Radio (Ch. 193-195)
History: MSU leads, 2-1; Cal won at MSU 46-22 in ’02 (first meeting since ’58)
Rankings: Unranked, though Cal received votes in ESPN/USA Today and AP Polls
Point Spread: Cal by 4-1/2
Opposing Team Colors: Green and White

Sagarin computer ratings on Cal and various opponents:
National rank Team
1 $C
12 Oregon
14 Cal
51 Michigan State
73 stanfurd (enjoy the Axe while you can!)

SOUND-BITE SEASON PREVIEW: 3 keys: 1) quarterback, 2) defensive line, 3) injuries.
We need good QB play, defensive line pressure on their quarterback, and fewer injuries!

PREVIEW OF MICHIGAN STATE (7-6, 3-5 in the Big-10, 2-1 against Cal)

Cal’s overall concerns: Defend our domicile! (er, um, not a bad slogan for a T-Shirt!) Alternatively: prove yourselves! The team and the public wanted Kevin Riley to be the quarterback… here he is. Coaches say the defense will bring more pressure… here’s the chance!

Cal’s Offense: Attack!
Ø Michigan State lost three starters on the defensive line to graduation… sophomore running back Jahvid Best (4) finds good running lanes behind Cal’s offensive line.
Ø MSU will blitz an inexperienced quarterback with inexperienced receivers. Riley completes screen passes to Best and finds wide receivers on the run to defeat the strategy.
Ø The Spartans’ starting free safety was asked to leave the team last week for undisclosed "personal reasons." Open season on Jenrette’s replacement!

Ø MSU lost 4 of 5 offensive linemen to graduation… the weakest part of the team now.
Ø The Spartans’ top player is senior running back Javon Ringer, one of the best backs in the country. Cal’s new defense (featuring three defensive linemen and four linebackers), must exploit the weak offensive line and stop Ringer. Stop the run, stop the Spartans.

What on earth are we wearing? New togs for Cal football for 2008 (after last year’s mess, not a bad idea). The uniform incorporates aspects of the previous uniforms with new stream-lined patterns. They’re an acquired taste, unlike those highlighter uniforms…

Yeah, so, what about those awful highlighter uniforms? We haven't been to The Bowl That Shan't Be Named in 48 years. We're 5-0 in those uniforms. I hate them too, but until Cal actually loses whilst wearing them, they're the next best thing to hearing chainsaws on Gayley.

1/2-baked T-shirt? No, I'm not talking about those tye-died Cal Football shirts that Coach Tedford really didn't like back in the day. This year's official Game Day shirt is underwhelming. Every Game Counts is the motto for this year's team, but the home schedule is printed on the back. Guess that potential showdown in LA against $c is just for giggles?

stanfurd football “guarantee”: this is so stupid you can’t make it up. If you buy stanfurd season tickets and you don’t feel like you received the entertainment value of the ticket after the fourth home game (i.e., before you find out how much stanfurd really sucks at the $c game), return your $c ticket and ask for your money back. Let me help you out, losers. We don’t need four stanfurd home games to know that you suck!

So what’s going to happen Saturday? Why Cal could lose the game: Defensive line gets no pass rush, Cal gives up several turnovers, and Michigan State runs all over Cal’s supposedly improved defense. Why Cal could win the game: Riley manages a good game and doesn’t turn the ball over. Defensive pressure rattles a Spartans quarterback who threw four interceptions and fumbled the ball away during Michigan State’s bowl game. Michigan State is an average team in a weak conference with a second year coach, and is 14-26 on the road the past eight years. Cal hasn’t lost a home game to a non-$c or Oregon State opponent in the five years since the 2003 $c game (23-5 record). Riley engineers a long drive late in the fourth quarter to seal not only the win, but also the QB job for good. Cal 28, Michigan State 24.

COURT UPDATE: Judge Miller issued a tentative ruling on Thursday that she is inclined to grant Cal’s request to dissolve the injunction without a 7-day delay to allow the Oaks Folks to appeal. Cal stipulated to wait 48 hours for an appeal to be filed, and if one is, then to wait until the Court of Appeal decides the merits of a stay. Bottom line: if Cal wins at Monday’s Order to Show Cause hearing, the 7 day window + automatic 20-day stay is eliminated, judgment is entered on 8/25, the appeal is probably filed on 8/26, and then (I would think), the Court of Appeals decides on the stay within 20 calendar days (by 9/15), if not before. We’ll see!

Steven Harris ’93 just got back from his 20th High School Reunion… he feels older and more successful than he thought. He appreciates his family even more now and appreciates the Cal family that welcomed him with open arms so long ago! Speaking (writing?) about appreciation, please take a moment and appreciate and thank Sandy Barbour and the Athletic Department staff for all their hard work to support Cal’s traditions! She could have left a long time ago after the tree-sitters mess quagmired and tree sitter management wasn’t in her job description, so thanks very much Sandy! Soon to be 3-year-old Jeremy Harris says: My name is Jeremy and I am 2… Michigan State doesn’t have a clue! GO BEARS!

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