Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pre-Big Game News Stuff

One last piece of news roundup, then we’ll get to breaking down the game, k? Cool.

The Chronicle contributes two pretty cool articles. First one is on the underrated Stanford offensive line and its nickname, the Tunnel Workers Union. Great nickname in an era that’s really lacked for good nicknames. Here’s the fun part: “The Buffalo Bills used to have the Electric Company because they turned on the Juice, O.J. Simpson. The Washington Redskins once had the Hogs. In the 1920s and '30s, Fordham had the Seven Blocks of Granite…” And Stanford has the supremely good Tunnel Workers Union, two of whom will likely be playing in the NFL when their college careers are over (Martin and DeCastro, particularly if DeCastro makes the successful transition to center, the position he was recruited for.)

From the Cal beat, this description of how to tackle Toby:
“"It's like taking down a bull," Bishop said. "We're going to have to make sure we gang tackle him, get the rope, make sure his legs are together, click the heels and then he'll go down."

Bishop sounded so emphatic, so sure of the sequence, it seemed like he had experience with bulls.

"Nahh, I haven't taken one down," he said, smiling, "but I know the technique."”

Also included is the floated possibility that Cal might bust out its trick plays against Stanford. This isn’t just possible, it’s likely. For whatever reason, Tedford loves to unleash tons of trick plays against Stanford, and no one else. It’s very, very strange.

The Cal blog California Golden Blogs gives a statistical breakdown of Stanford’s offense and defense. Read the analysis with a grain of salt—it’s biased towards Cal, as you’d expect—but read it nonetheless.

And the budget cuts at Cal lurk in the background. Obviously, I hate Cal in a sports sense, but I do want to laud it and the UC educational system’s mission: its history is one of the triumphs of democratic education and educational excellence generally. These budget cuts are yet another round of the hollowing-out of vital American institutions, in this recession’s sacrifice of the future to the altar of the present. So it represents a narrowing of the democratic field of vision. We’ll beat Cal on the field, but I hope they continue to compete in the classroom.

Lastly—just for fun—let’s take a look at the lines. It opened at STAN (-8) and the over/under was 65.5. Both have been bet down: STAN (-7) and over/under 61.5. Obviously, this isn’t expert advice, but my god is the “over” tempting on the over/under.

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