Posts of the Week
Each week, we will highlight a few entertaining and/or informative posts from the previous week. Please keep in mind that it is hard to keep track/prioritize all posts so we would welcome input from all Booties. You can make a "Bootie Selection" post as a response to any post that you deem worthy or you can email a link (to the nominated post) to me at email@example.com.
Below are the posts that made this week's list:
Subject: Cal fans are sui generis. They hate EVERYTHING...
especially, right now, their own DLine, OLine, QB, WRs, LBs,
DBs, Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator and the Head
Coach. With whatever venom they have left they go after, departed
AD Kasser who hired the Head Coach and the monkey who scheduled
major sports "Town Hall" meetings on Yom Kippur. They
DO hate people who DONATE to Stanford because it just grinds in
the reality that although Cal enjoys a 4-to-1 advantage in
numbers, hardly any of them donate to Cal. Even in piddly
amounts. They can't even get most of their really, filthy rich
alums to donate, which just drives them up a tree, so to speak.
They even hate the Hayward Fault, upon which their stadium is
built and must be rebuilt/reinforced for $100 million that they
don't have. They hate USC, UCLA and Washington, Arizona, Bruce
Snyder and Arizona State, OSU, and Uof O. Oddly enough they don't
seem to hate WSU much even though they've been WSU's bitch since
the Ford Administration. Hmmm, maybe they've got some sort of
Stockholm Syndrome thing going on. They hate the Mercury News and
the Chronicle and Glenn Dickey and anyone who dared put them in
the bottom third of the PAC10 preseason polls. They hate Fox
Sports Bay Area, Fox Sports West and ABC. They hate their former
Chancellors who presided over their decline indirectly and the
coaches who were responsible directly. They hate Gilby for being
feckless and fat and Mooch for being good looking and faithless,
they just can't bring themselves to say they hate Joe Kapp, but
they say they hate what he did to the program, so it's pretty
much the same thing. They hate Bruce Snyder for leaving but half
of them want him back. Definitely a Stockholm Syndrome thing
happening. They hate Mike White for showing the kind of academic
sacrifices that may be needed to be competitive. They hate Roger
Theder for not being successful like Mike White. They even hate
the starting QB for the University of Arkansas, if you can
believe that. That QB enrolled at Cal, saw the situation and
transferred out. Now, three years later they still obsess over
him and follow his game stats in the SEC. A down game for Sorahan
and its grounds for an impromptu tailgate party to celebrate.
So, you can see, whatever little hate splatters on Stanford in the midst of all this festival of ill will is insignificant. Thank you for your attention. [ And yes, EVERYBODY in the Pac10 does hate USC...and not, as most USC fans believe, that we are jealous of national championships won before most of the current students were born. My guess is its either the band, or the alums ...but Pete Caroll is coming up fast on the outside.
Subject: Perspective Entering October
This is a very good team. Perhaps even a Great team. Good athletes. The best speed we've ever had. Outstanding balance on
both O and D. Excellent coaching. Our only major question mark is
special teams. Every punt is still an adventure. Every long snap
brings anxiety. On the other hand our return coverage (with the
single exception of one last evening) and our own returns have
been pretty good. Now for our upcoming games:
Bye next weekend... lets us heal, get a little more into our offense and gives us extra preparation for what is now a better than expected Cougar team.
Wazzu @ home...will be either 5-0 or 4-1 on the 13th...Our D is better than anyone's they've played, and our O, I believe, is better balanced than theirs. And we've already played ASU with much the same spread offense. With the 2 weeks of preparation and hopefully still in reasonable health, we should win to go 4-0, 3-0 in Conf.
Oregon @ Eugene... Ducks will likely be 6-0, at worst 5-1, after Ariz and Cal, and it will be their homecoming. Autzen a mad house. Still, I think both our D and our O are better. Their OL lost several studs from last year and their DL and LB were not as strong as ours vs. USC. Special teams is the big issue; if result on special teams between us and them is "neutral", there is a good chance for a Stanford win. We must not kill ourselves on special teams, which Bellotti works on as an Oregon specialty. Nonetheless I like our chances.
UCLA @ home...Bruins will likely be undefeated and in top 5 coming into Stanford on the 27th (taking Oregon's place). BTW, as an aside does anyone know who their middle-aged towel swinging "cheerleader" who runs on the field with the team, stands on the sidelines with towel around his neck and pats them on the fanny when they come to the sideline is? This guy has been a seeming UCLA fixture since Donahue. But on to their game: their O is clicking on all cylinders...QB cool; OL awesome; DeShawn Foster a real gamer with speed to the corners, strength up the middle and tackle breaking hip swivel and great leg strength. Size, speed and smarts in their receivers. I believe, however, that if we stay healthy we have the better D. Between O & D I think it's close to even. But special teams give UCLA an edge. This will be a real battle, a monster game for both teams. It is well within our capability to win, but we have to have minimal mistakes. It is also well within UCLA's. Whoever wins, takes the pole position for the PAC 10 Championship. If we beat WSU and Oregon, I predict 80,000 will be at this game.
UDub @ Wash...on Nov 3rd. Likely means possibility of rain on their carpet; hopefully not on our parade. Getting the right shoes on our skill players will be critical. Agree with those who say we have the edge at O, particularly QB and OL. And if it rains, it gives the O the edge. Still, if we make mistakes (dumb penalties, dumb turnovers, slips and falls) we can easily lose. I know Seattle and UDub at home are difficult (I still remember Steve Stenstrom getting pounded up there. Nevertheless, I like our chances. We are at least as good as them, perhaps considerably better.
Arizona @ Tucson...Although on paper we should win, the parity in this conference makes every game a battle. Again we cannot afford mistakes. If we play straight up with few errors we win.
Big Game at Stanford...emotional game for Cal who showed yesterday that they can in fact play well and mistake free for several quarters at a time. They will be loose and high for this game particularly if Holmoe has been given the boot or quit by then. I don't count out the possibility of an upset because Boller and Igber have the natural ability to get it done. And if we make as many mistakes as we made yesterday in a low scoring game (rain/soggy field?), anything could happen as history has shown. Nevertheless, in the end I think we have too much for them.
Notre Dame @ Stanford... on Saturday November 24th after Thanksgiving. Likely a national TV audience. We are a better team today than ND, but they do have talent and big play capability. We could be upset because Notre Dame will not fold. Their heritage and the pride of their players forbid it. I think our D holds their O. And our O beats their D. Again, if we make special teams mistakes, they could win. Nevertheless, I believe this year we have more than they do, and we win.
Dec 1st @ San Jose State...the Spartans showed last night vs ASU that they have weapons. Altho Deonce was held to minimal yardage, Arroyo's rollout passing was impressive as were the speed and hands of his receivers, principally LeBlanc and Shepherd, and sometimes their TE. Arroyo is quick and accurate with a fast release and with his rollout, avoids the rush and gives him the vision he ordinarily would not have if he stayed in the pocket. But their D isn't very good. We should win, but they will likely put some numbers up on us. They play Fresno at Fresno the week before playing us. Fresno should still be undefeated then.
Conclusion: On the upside, we could go to a perfect 11-0 season... and perhaps if lucky could even earn the BCS Rose Bowl if the stars are all aligned. On the down side, perhaps 7-4 and perhaps the Sun Bowl. More likely we split the difference at 9-2 and perhaps the Fiesta Bowl or Holiday Bowl. No worse than 7-4 and a pretty good Bowl. The month of October will be very interesting. If we sweep October, I predict its the Holiday or better.
Subject: Leaving Las Vegas
Enjoyed catching up on the post-game analysis/commentary, as
well as some hilarious pre-game back-and-forth between respective
fans. Just a bunch of randoms and a vent:
1. John Q. Bettor is not particularly astute. Was watching the game at Mandalay sports book with another diehard Cardinal fan. Pretty sure we comprised 2/3 of the "fans" pulling for Stanford in the entire place. Behind us were 4 guys rooting feverishly for SC. They needed the Trojans to cover to complete a 3-game parlay worth about a thou. Listening to these guys was interesting: they harbored all the old stereotypes about Stanford football (and ‘SC, for that matter), and they reminded me of "SC Fan." To wit, denial. As SC made its comeback: these guys saw momentum and a SC team playing better ball. I saw a few big plays on special teams and an SC offense that was just getting stuffed. [Of course, I was still worried about the outcome of the game, but it was more of a "destiny" kind of thing - could you believe the bounce on the blocked FG? - than a misread of what was transpiring on the field]. But the best part was after the game when "realization" set in. The invective was flying everywhere: at Palmer ("every f&*ing year it's the same thing: all hype and no results") and Carroll ("has this guy ever won? Anywhere?") and the entire team ("SC sucks!"). And here's the beauty of it: they weren't even real SC fans! They were just guys from California who had some familiarity with SC and Stanford and bought into the traditional stereotypes. It was an enlightening experience...
2. Stanford was and is the better team, and all pre-game signs pointed to a "W" for the Cardinal. Heck, even I put a little green on the Cardinal (and this goes against my "Cardinal Precept" for betting on Stanford). Of course, I also went with Treeboy's "lock of the week" (BYU giving 7 to UNLV). Hey, I'm just as clueless as JQB.
3. Tank's sack was absolutely h-u-g-e! and an exclamation point on a terrific defensive performance. Hulk is right in pointing out this team's great third-down defensive stats. Just a very big difference from recent seasons.
4. Terry deserves huge props for a pre-game prediction. After drawing up a few formations and the plays that Stanford had run off them, Terry told me that he thought Stanford was setting up the naked bootleg for Fasani. Nice call, Terry. And btw, was that play friggin' beautiful, or what?!?
5. Right now, Washington State is better than Oregon... and Washington. But Washington could improve a lot over the course of the season as their younger players – including the Husky QB (Pickett ?) – gain more experience. And btw, I think he's doing a very good job now. UCLA looks to be the class of the Pac-10. Just an incredible defensive performance against OSU (Hump and AC's posts on UCLA, below, pretty much nail it). Where Stanford fits in amongst these teams remains to be seen.
6. There was an extended discussion after the attacks in New York about safety precautions at airports, what was/was not appropriate, what travelers should expect, etc. Well, let me share my experience today.
My return flight to San Jose left Vegas at 2:35 p.m. I dutifully arrived 2+ hours in advance of my departure time to the airport. I should have known there would be trouble from the massive traffic jam at the airport. I had to leave my cab and walk the last quarter-mile to the American counter (carrying a duffel and dragging my sticks). No problem. I get in line and wait to check my bags. I finally get to the counter at 1:00 p.m., and hand the lady my ticket information and name. She says: "You're not going to make your flight." I replied: "What?!? It's not until 2:35 p.m." She said: "I know. You'll never make your flight. Sir, the security line is at least 2 hours long." I was incredulous and asked what the hell was going on, full strip searches? You can imagine how the conversation went. Eventually, I had her book me on the next flight leaving at 4:00 p.m. ("You should be able to make that one.").
I then proceed – along with literally thousands of other passengers – out of the terminal, back down about 1/5 of a mile to the end of the ever-growing line for the "D gates" passengers. We're talking a serpentine line on the sidewalk and street OUTSIDE the terminal (akin to the "cab line" on a Friday evening for those arriving in Sin City). There was a similarly long line for each of the other gates. I kid you not, over the next 2.0 hours, I must have walked 2.5 miles in a serpentine line that weaved all the hell over the friggin' Vegas airport (outside, inside, downstairs, upstairs, around and around we went). The restaurant entrepreneurs were sending sales people out at various spots in the line to sell food and drink. It was a freaking ZOO!
The frustrated fliers were remarkably calm – for the most part. I half-expected a full-scale riot and rush to the scanner/metal detector. But here is the absolute kicker: once we got to the metal detector where you drop your carry-on bag on the x-ray machine, there was no difference in the safety precautions. Well, one. I had to show a security person my ticket and ID. This additional security precaution took all of 5 seconds (and I'm convinced I could have shown the glassy-eyed employee Tank Williams' license and I would have "passed").
For the life of me, I can't figure out what the hell happened out there today, but it was an absolute disgrace. And this occurred when tourism in Vegas is still far below recent highs. I can't even fathom what it would have been like had Vegas been near capacity.
But as I trudged through this ridiculous line, I couldn't help but remember ME-97's comments about being willing to put up with additional security measures as the price for safety. Not I, especially when there was no discernable difference to anyone regarding the safety steps being taken at the airport. Hey, I love Vegas, but I am never going back (unless and until I hear from reliable sources that the folks at the airport have their Shiite together). And you all should accept this as a heads-up: if you're going to Vegas anytime soon, give yourself four hours for your departure. Unbelievable.
Sorry for the vent. But it really put a damper on a great weekend, especially Cardinal-football wise.
P.S. Way down below, CJ opines on the recruiting of Branhulk as follows: "I think his head is telling him Stanford, but his gut is telling him USC." I'd venture to say that, anatomically speaking, it would be south of "the gut." But hey, who hasn't experienced that conflict?!?
P.P.S. The SC band doing a halftime show that mocks the Stanford band is hardly new. Those guys do that almost every time the Cardinal visits the Mausoleum. Of course, the LSJUMB takes its own cracks at the Trojan band, but they try to mix it up (any of you remember when the LSJUMB rolled out a full-on human skeleton wearing that silly Trojan band headgear and "riding" a fossilized horse?) That was pretty funny (though I heard that whatever science department at Stanford owned those items was nervous as all get-out).
Subject: wvb - home at last
After 11 matches on the road, at last our #4 wvb team return
to Maples. From Virginia to Pennsylvania to Texas to Washington
to Long Beach, berkeley, & Santa Clara. To return to the
happy confines of Maples is long anticipated. The wvb record of
10-1 is very strong given the 11 matches on the road. Only at
Long Beach, which I think is #2 or #3 (depending upon Nebraska
and USC and I have not seen any recent rankings) did we have a
loss and then in 4 games. We have a team that is coming together
and should be stronger as the season progresses.
The strength of our team was pictured last night against an inspired Santa Clara team in Toso Pavilion. The first game was a loss of 26-30. That was a combination of Santa Clara playing a great game when everything went their way while we came out seemingly lethargic. But as good teams must do, we came together and put together 3 straight games by significant margins (30-20, 30-24, 30-21). This is what contending teams must do.
Rally scoring has really changed the complexion of the games. If you reach 20 (30 to win) and the opponent has 15 or less, it is almost always a win. It is so difficult to string points together to catch up. That is why when our wvb team went up on Santa Clara by 21-16 in one of the games, it was literally all over. The only time I might divert from this analysis would be against one of the top 5/6 teams in the nation. Even then, it is very dicey.
Will be interesting to see how the Stanford fans react to game point. In the past, if we served for the game and had a side out, all sat down waiting a return of serve to us. Now when we reach 29, you must remaining standing even if we serve and lose the point. Must say that at Santa Clara, most of our fans seemed to understand as they remain standing.
Lets go for 3 straight at home wins. Arizona, which initially was ranked 3/4 lost 2 straight to UCLA/USC. I watched parts of their match against UCLA and they were only close in one of their 3 set loss.
Subject: LSJUMB Controversy-o-Rama
I always get a chuckle out of how warped the LSJUMB's history
gets over time.
Let me see if I can clear some of this up. Keep in mind that my memories may be clouded by years of whippet abuse...
Notre Dame's relationship with the LSJUMB has been contentious for years. In 1988, the Band traveled to Notre Dame, and put on a relatively innocuous "Greetings From California"-type show. However, the drum major at the time, a male drum major, dressed up as Snow White, leading many witty Notre Dame fans to make comments about "California Faggots."
In a later Notre Dame game (1989?) at Stanford, the Drum Major dressed up as both a nun and a rabbi. I believe that he did NOT conduct the band with a crucifix, however.
During a more recent Notre Dame game (again at Stanford), the Band put on a show entitled "These Irish, Why Must the Fight?" It contained some mild stereotype humor, a killer Riverdance formation, and unfortunately, a Potato Famine joke (though no associated formation). An early version of the script (which had a nasty bit about drunken Irishmen) found its way into the hands of the press, which caused a few commentators to go ballistic over a joke that wasn't even in the show. After much hemming and hawing (not to mention some cowardly ducking from the AD that had vetted the show), the Band was banned from Notre Dame games. I forget for how long.
Oregon and Spotted Owls
In 1990(?) the Band traveled to Autzen, which is never a fun venue. Stanford was getting waxed 30-0 at the half when the Band put on a VERY funny show that made light of the Spotted Owl controversy. As I recall the show took jabs at the timber industry, environmentalists, Jane Fonda, and the owls themselves. The Oregon fans were ticked, and the AD banned the Band for one home game. Oregon banned the Band from Autzen Stadium. I forget whether the Band was banned from the whole state by the governor, but it sounds familiar. The AD got roasted by Sports Illustrated, Oregonian columnists, and everyone with an ounce of humor over this debacle.
Urinating on the Field and Such
In 1986 the LSJUMB got hit with what turned out to be a well-justified one game suspension, after a number of misdeeds. At the USC game, the Band spelled out NO BALLZ on the field (it made sense at the time, really). During the postgame performance at the Washington game, a couple of distressed/drunk Band members discreetly urinated near the edge of the field. During another game, the Band briefly went off script and spelled out NCUT during an "anagram" show (figure it out). Oh, and they (okay, "we") were stinking drunk most of the time.
Despite the fact that all of these infractions happened during different games, by the time the 1986 Gator Bowl rolled around, most of the stories about the LSJUMB were describing a frankly astounding halftime show in which the Band had "Spelled a four-letter word in front of 80,000 people, with pantsless trumpet players urinating on the fifty yard line while the announcer yelled 'Balls!' into the microphone." We only WISH we'd had the nerve to do THAT show...
Hope this helps,