Game Day Preview – Week 3

The scheduling gods were kind to us – we’re not playing at the same time as ‘Bama v J. Football, esq.   So maybe we will have a sellout – I heard that the TOSU Marching Band (the best damned darned blammit thingy anywhere) is taking up the entire south end of CMS.  In any case, let’s look at how we match up this year.  They say they TOSU QB BM may or may not play.  I’ll give you a hint: if he doesn’t play, then he’s done for the Heisman because Heisman-caliber players are above mundane things like injuries.  If he does play, but plays poorly because of his injury, he’s done for the Heisman.  So really he has to play unless he is in a cast and on crutches.  Their backup played well against SDSU, but I think I could play well against SDSU.

But can our defense step up?  As I’ve said before, this team is going to take several games (maybe 5 or 6) to come together on defense. Expect the Urbane one to pull a few tricks of his own in terms of quick snaps, faux substitutions (that’s when the guy almost runs off the field and then stops just short), and other tactics.  So prepare to see a lot of yardage – again.

Can our offense maintain this ridiculous 103 play per game pace?  Well, they have, haven’t they?  We’ll probably see another 400 or even 500 yard passing day, depending on how poorly the newish TOSU defense reacts to an offense they’ve only seen on film.  Bigelow had their number last year, but now its not just Bigelow – there’s a few other guys on the team with game like Harper, Treggs, Rodgers, Harris, Muhammad, and I know I’m leaving some names out.

In other Pac-1x action, several challenging games include the Baby Bears heading to Lincoln for what could be very ugly, especially if the rains descend upon them.  A State hosts the Dairymen in another Pac-1x v BIG challenge.   Potential upset: Dawgs traveling to Urbana (not to be confused with Urban) where they could be confused by the flat terrain and end up in the wrong field.  BC takes on $C and another slip up by SoCal could cause a premature termination for Kiffin.  Who scheduled ‘furd against The Army.  The Whole Army?  Or just a few guys?   That could be interesting…

Mercifully, Fresno State @ Colorado called off because of catastrophic flooding.  Sorry, no pun, genuine disaster all along the front range.  Hey, something is more important than Pro College Football.

Albacore Tuna Story

An abundance of Albacore awaits us in Half Moon Bay.

An abundance of Albacore awaits us in Half Moon Bay.

We’re doing a little cross-promotion this week with our FishLine app as we’re having Grilled Albacore Tuna for this week’s tailgate.  Dan went to Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay a little while ago and bought a whole Albacore.  He then went to Princeton Seafoods (one of our FishLine sponsors) and had them carve up the Tuna for our dining pleasure tomorrow.  Here’s the whole story.

Fresh Albacore, Right Off The Boat

I was wondering what I might bring to our Cal vs. Ohio State Tailgate Party, when the most positively synergistic option came to our minds: Fish!  You see, Joe & I have this excellent mobile app called FishLine, that shows you where to find fresh, local, sustainable seafood; and it doesn’t get any more fresh than right off the fishing boat at the harbor!

Mid-September is the peak of Albacore (tuna) season, and there are plenty of fish available.  I checked our FishLine app, and I could see that there were a few fishermen selling Albacore for $4.00/lb.  That’s a steal!  I went to Barry Day, who operates the F/V (Fishing Vessel) Rosella out of Pillar Point Harbor, just North of Half Moon Bay.

Capt. Barry Day of the F/V Rosella, with our tuna

Capt. Barry Day of the F/V Rosella, with our tuna

Barry pulls one of his fish out of the ice. It’s 14 lbs, so I hand Barry $60 in cash, and he comes back with a little change.

It's a 14-pounder, just caught yesterday.

It’s a 14-pounder, just caught yesterday.

When the fishermen sell off the boats, they’re only allowed to sell whole fish — they can’t cut them.  However, the guys at Princeton Seafood’s Fish Market are so good — and fast — at cutting fish that I  can’t justify taking it home & fighting with it.  It’s just $5 ($7.50 for bigger fish), and in the time it would take me to sharpen the knife & make the first cut, they’re done.

My assistant carries the tuna to Princeton Seafood

My assistant carries the tuna to Princeton Seafood

Randy, the seafood market manager, and Ricky, who cut our fish, are pros at this.  Ricky loined the tuna — separating the meat into four loins.  Our 14-lb Albacore is now about 7 lbs of solid tuna meat.  You can keep the head if you want (it’s great for soups or stews), but today I decline.

Ricky, from Princeton Seafood's Fish Market, finishes the cut for the 2nd fillet.

Ricky, from Princeton Seafood’s Fish Market, finishes the cut for the 2nd fillet.

Ricky hands me a bag with my tuna loins and plenty of ice, I hand him $5, and we’re on our way.  Always bring a cooler when you come to the harbor, especially if you live more than a few miles away!

When we get home, we light the BBQ and make the marinade, because one of the loins is going to be our dinner tonight!  Actually, quite a bit of that loin became our shiro maguro (white tuna) sashimi appetizer!  We do this whenever we buy Albacore off the boat.  The taste is sensational — close to the hamachi (yellowtail tuna), but even fresher than you’d get in a restaurant.  We dip it in the marinade, and the boys & I quickly decide that we need more sashimi, and we consider not cooking any of it!  It’s great to feast on ~$30 worth of sashimi, and still have almost all of the fish left!

It's hard to stop, but it's so good!

It’s hard to stop, but it’s so good!

It’s getting way too late, so I’ll add the pictures of our Albacore on the grill in the morning.

Exploring Ohio Wine

Catawba-Grape-Vine_1

Catawba Grapes

Our game this week gives us an excuse to explore the little known sparkling Catawba wine of Ohio. This wine, and the grape with the same name, figured prominently in the history of American wine making. During the early to mid-19th century, Catawba was the most widely planted grape variety in the country!

According to wineintro, Catawba is a “created” red grape that is a cross of vitis vinifera (French grape style) and vitis labrusca (United States grape style) grapes. Wines made out of Catawba are a bit foxy and have an odor, which you may or may not like. The grape is used in jams and jellies as well, so their foxy, musky flavor transcends wine making.

Catawba is grown mostly on the east coast of the United States, so it is a hard wine to find. Your best bet is to contact wineries in the Finger Lakes region of NY, where the wine is most prevalent.

Regardless of the outcome of the game, we now know more about Ohio wine!

Cheers and Go Bears!

Betty Kaufman

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As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I’m privileged to be able to bring the taste of the Napa wine country to you through a delicious offering of artisan wines, wonderful in-home wine tastings, personalized wines and my wine blog, Betty’s Wine Musings. If you have any wine needs I can help you out with, please free to contact me. I look forward to WINEing with you!

Cheers!

Betty Kaufman
[email protected]
650-714-7009

1921 Rose Bowl: Cal 28 Ohio State 0

1921 Rose Bowl: Cal 28, Ohio State 0

1921 Rose Bowl: Cal 28, Ohio State 0

Two days after the 1920 Big Game, California was honored with an invitation to play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. It was true that in 1916, Washington State had defeated Brown 14-0, and the following year, Oregon defeated Pennsylvania by the same score. In 1920, Harvard had barely nosed out Oregon 7-6. Nevertheless, for reasons known best to themselves the Easterners had not developed a respect for the Pacific Coast athlete.

Thus it was, that when New Year’s day of 1921 came to Pasadena, a highly respected Ohio State team, champions of the Western Conference, came to be a ten-to-eight favorite, or even money to win by six points. There were few who realized that California was several touchdowns better than the Midwesterners.

Winning the flip of the coin, the Ohio Staters kicked off to Dan McMillan, who brought the ball out to the twenty-five-yard line. California unable to gain, was forced to kick early. The Nisbet punt sailed high and far, and when it came down to Stinchcomb of the Buckeyes he found Muller and Stephens, hands on hips, waiting for him to take it. Stinchcomb hadn’t heard about these boys, and instead of signaling for a fair catch, dared to try to run with the ball. There wasn’t too much noise when this formidable pair hit him. Just a dull thud as Muller, tackling high, and Stephens, tackling low, brought a very startled and badly shaken-up Ohio State safety man to the ground. Using their oft-repeated tactics of backing a team deep into its own territory and then taking the ball away from it, California, thanks to George (Fat) Latham, recovered Stinchcomb’s fumble and had the ball on the Ohio twenty-eight-yard line.

On first down, Sprott passed to Muller for thirteen yards to the Buckeye fifteen. Three plays later, Pesky carried the ball over and Toomey converted. Ohio State, however, came right back and marched down to the California eight-yard line. But once again, the Bears stiffened, causing Workman of the Midwesterners to fumble, and Muller pounced on the ball on the six to stave off the only serious Ohio State threat of the day. Archie Nisbet, standing in his own end-zone, booted the ball a full seventy yards (sixy-two yards from scrimmage) back to the Ohio State thirty-two-yard line.

The second period opened with California starting a drive from near midfield. A first down was gained on the Buckeye thirty-nine-yard line and then, two plays later, came one of the most famous plays in Rose Bowl history. The play in question was part of a two-play sequence. On first down, Archie Nisbet plunged into the center of the Ohio State line and gained two yards up to the thirty-seven-yard line. Feigning injury, Nisbet lay on the ground for a few moments while the rest of the Golden Bear squad appeared to be milling around. Actually they were lining up. Latham, the center, took Muller’s position at end. Sprott stood about six yards behind the line of scrimmage and directly behind the right guard. Ten yards behind Sprott and slightly to his right was the immortal Brick Muller. Brodie Stephens lined up at his usual spot at left end. Suddenly Archie came to life, snapped the ball back to Sprott, who ran to his own right and then lateraled back to Muller. Meanwhile, Stephens was streaking down-field, with the Ohio State secondary paying little attention to him, figuring that if a pass were coming up no one could throw the ball that far. But Ohio State did not realize the caliber of the man who opposed them. Muller took about two steps to his left, cocked his arm and let the ball fly a full fifty-three yards down-field, directly into the hands of Stephens running along the Ohio State goal line. The audience of 42,000 was stunned, and it took a full five seconds before they were able to break out in a thunderous ovation.

The newspapers the day following the game gave credit for the pass quite properly, most of the reports varying between a length of fifty to fifty-five yards. However, about two years later, a football record book suddenly blossomed out with a report that the ball had traveled seventy yards! No one bothered to check the newspapers of two short years before, or ask the players themselves about it and so the record stood at seventy yards. The play had been practiced by the gang many times, and every man on the squad knew that Muller would be exactly sixteen yards behind the line of scrimmage when the pass was thrown.

In 1924 when Brick Morse published his California Football History he stated that the ball went fifty-three yards, but his comment was passed unnoticed. In 1946 intensive research by Maxwell Stiles (author of The Rose Bowl) and Ray Byrne II, one of America’s leading football authorities, finally straightened out the length of the pass out once and for all. The strange thing, however, about the pass is that even at fifty-three yards, it still stands as the longest completed pass in California football history. Its length has been equalled once, but never exceeded.

A few moments after this history-making play, Sprott handed the ball to Muller on a neatly executed “Statue of Liberty,” and on the play following, Toomey handed the ball off to the very same Muller, who was finally downed on the nine-yard line. A four-yard gain by Nisbet and a five-yard plunge by Sprott brought the total score to 21-0 by half-time.

Ohio State came fighting back in the third period, but was unable to score. In the final stanza, Karl Deeds scored from the five-yard line and the game was history. It was on that date that the Midwest and East gained their proper respect for the western athlete.

– from 66 Years on the California Gridiron by S. Dan Brodie

Game Day Review – Week 2

OK, so we won.  It wasn’t pretty and we suffered a few more injuries.  But the team showed a little character and didn’t buckle under pressure like a certain bunch of large brown rodents in Corvallis or – worse – the Men (?) of Troy who (seriously?) couldn’t score two (?) touchdowns on WaZoo?  At home?   The fact that Vegas had us as 27 point favorites just shows that when you’re not in the Top 25, they assign pre-teens to do the odds for your games.

What can we say about Jared Goff?  On two consecutive weeks he breaks the single-game passing records but manages to end up #9 of Pac-1x QBs because of sacks (9 – ouch!) and INTs (3) – although no INTs against the Viks.  And who is at #8?  Only one Marcus Mariota of the #1 Ducks (sorry, but I don’t see any other team playing better than them).

The receivers are an ESPN highlight show and if they continue to progress then we may start averaging 40 and 50 points per game.  Good receivers can make a QB look great (and receivers who tip balls in the air up for grabs can lose ballgames).

The defense showed positive signs but as predicted we’ll have to get used to giving up 30-40 points per game until the unit comes together – which will probably be about mid-season.  So can the offense and special teams make up the difference?   Tune in Saturday and see.

Just read that TOSU QB Braxton Miller is day-to-day after spraining a ligament in his left knee.  TOSU is bringing its 3rd and 4th string QBs to Berkeley just in case they need to see action.  Will Urban Meyer play us straight up or will he feel the need to put in a few wrinkles?  Expect the wrinkles – he doesn’t want to see a repeat of last year’s squeaker.

Viking Invasion

I’m *still* excited from last week!

Jared Goff’s performance against #22 Northwestern, in his first college game, was nothing short of spectacular.  Coaches Dykes and Franklin managed to prepare a completely inexperienced, true freshman QB, and an offense comprised mostly of underclassmen, running a completely new offensive scheme, and they came within a couple tipped balls (& bad calls & fake injuries) from beating a Top 25 Team.  Dykes and Franklin have to be at the front of the pack for Coach of the Year honors from that alone.

What to do for an encore?

Saturday’s game against Portland State is really quite dangerous for the Bears.  The Vikings’ Pistol offense can be potent; they have a lot of talent at the skill positions, and if they manage to get some momentum, they could give the Bears some trouble.

RB DJ Adams (#10) is at the top of the “to watch” list. He went to Maryland for 2 years, scoring 11 TDs as a freshman.  Now a Sr., he has the size, strength, & speed to put Cal’s young defense to the test. The Bears can’t just hit this guy and expect him to fall down — they’ll have to wrap him up.

Another Viking to watch is Kieran McDonagh (#4), the sophomore QB for PSU. Last year, he won the starting QB job in fall camp, started all 11 games, and directed an offense that averaged over 438 yds and 34 pts per game.  At 6-2, 245 lbs., he’s a load.  The Bears will have to play disciplined defense, and keep Adams and McDonagh from getting into Cal’s thin secondary.

The Vikings may be vulnerable in the turnover game — they fumbled 4x in their 57-17 whuppin’ of the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers.  Look for the Bears to gamble a little on defense, and get enough penetration to cause a fumble or two in the backfield.

With Cal’s brutal schedule this year, it might be tempting to relax on PSU, knowing that we’ll be facing two of the top three teams in the nation in the next couple weeks.  Unfortunately, the Bears can’t afford the luxury of letting up.

Cal will move the ball well, with fewer tips, mistakes, & penalties.  The play book will open up.  QB Jared Goff won’t be baited into throwing that post again… and should have another spectacular game, despite a little Game 2 letdown.  Look for Cal’s running game to get on track, with over 180 yds rushing.

The defense will be struggling with the temptation to ‘play it safe’ and avoid losing any more teammates to injury; that never actually works as intended. Losing Avery Sebastian (#4) last week was a devastating blow.

Prediction:    Cal wins, 63-27.  The cannon nearly runs out of powdered flash charges.

Experimental

08APEROL_SPAN-articleLargeWe’ve begun to experiment with various liqueurs and we’ll be featuring some of them in our drink recipes for this season.

First, we will explore St.-Germain, the French elderflower liqueur, and Aperol, a mildly bitter Italian aperitif that one could call the lesser known step-cousin of Campari.  Combined with fresh grapefruit juice and Champagne or Prosecco, and you’ve got a drink called the Shaddock’s Fizz, which was our featured cocktail for our Little Christmas party this year.  I made so many of them that I was calculating recipes to do 6 or 8 at time.  Very popular, very tasty, and great for an afternoon tailgate!

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Aperol
  • 3/4 ounce grapefruit juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
  • 1/2 ounce St.-Germain liqueur
  • 2 ounces Champagne or Prosecco – or to taste
  • Grapefruit twist

Preparation

  1. Pour Aperol, grapefruit juice and St.-Germain into a cocktail shaker.  Shake well.
  2. Fill a highball glass with ice, and pour in contents of shaker.
  3. Top with Champagne or Prosecco and add grapefruit twist

unWATCHable

That pretty much describes this week’s lineup of Pac-1x games – if they can be called that.

We handle the Vikings.  Easily.  It’s over in the first half.  The second and third strings get playing time.   All is good.  The defense gets some good reps in, and the offense gets to work on timing.   And its Alumni Band Day so everyone is in a happy mood.

I would like to think that the Fighting Bo’s can give the Large Brown Rodents of Corvallis a good fight, but just don’t see that happening after the Beavs dropped the heartbreaker last week to Directional Washington.

Likewise, can our neighborhood feud pitting Spartans vs Some Shade of Red between Crimson and Lipstick amount to anything other than a few ambulance runs to rescue State players?

And could we see these games anyway since they are all on the Pac-1x network which is still on some sort of mission from God to prove that they can exist on some otherworldly plane immune from the mundane issues like viewership.

Oregon at Virginia could be interesting for a quarter and at least you can see the game on ABC or the Deuce.   And maybe WaZoo can demonstrate some competency for a quarter or two ‘gainst $C – but I doubt that.

Overall, a pretty crummy weekend for football viewing unless you have a particular desire to see Our Lady of the Touchdown and the Wolverines battle to a 9-9 tie after 7 overtimes.   The description of that game won’t be printable.  Or worse, the other SC vs the other Dawgs.  Yawn.

Watchable

Now that I’ve recovered from Saturday’s experience, it’s time to do some analysis.  First, can you believe that the program had sunk so low that to be “watchable” merited a headline?  Yes, they were watchable.  The team overachieved in their first outing and came within 2 or 3 plays of victory.  Definitely a game that can be used to instruct and improve the kids.  And what can you say about Goff, his blockers and his receivers (9 different ones)?  The most passing yardage in regulation in Cal history (although 445 yards wouldn’t merit a second look in Texas Tech land, the birthplace of Bear Raid).

As for the defense, WOW!   They only gave up 3 offensive touchdowns and 3 field goals, including a goal line stand against a brutal Big 10 O-line.  30 points may seem like a lot, but this was against a well-oiled machine which was used to pushing teams around the field.  Not on our field turf!

I won’t go into the shenanigans on the field – other than to say that college football has a real problem.  Unlike the NFL, these kids aren’t paid (yet) so really it is a safety first environment.  But as we all know these kids all play hurt so at any time any player can justifiably drop and name a list of ailments from pulled muscles to inflamed tendons.  And who doesn’t enjoy a little nap under the lights in front of 60,000 people?   Something is going have to be done – perhaps there is just going to have to be a mandatory 5 or 10 second ball marking “time-out” after the whistle blows.

Finally, Vincenzo D’Amato and Jackson Bouza brought icing to that New Era cake with the most fun and surprising play of Week 1.

Prediction: Who Will Show Up Today?

That has always been the question — not just during the Tedford Era, but as far back as I can remember.  I’m always optimistic before the first game of the season, when all the unknowns are still unknown; but it almost seems like the more confidence I have in the team, the more disappointed I am with the season.  And, when I think they aren’t going to do very well, they surprise me and go far beyond my expectations!

I’ve been very impressed with Sonny Dykes as a coach, and I really believe that he’s coming in with the right approach.  The players are really looking like a team.  Most of them are in the best shape of their lives.  But most importantly, Coach Dykes and OC Tony Franklin have designed an offense that  1) was one of the most potent offenses in the nation at LATech;  2) is suited to the Cal personnel, not the other way around; and  3)  is far, far simpler than last year’s largely ineffective offense.

The clock is winding down, and I have to get to the BART station… so I’ll make it short & to the point.

+ The first few series are crucial.  If we start with 3-4 “3 & Outs”, it could be a long afternoon — or we may see a lot more of Zach Kline.

+ More likely, the BearRaid will be effective at moving the ball, picking up 4-6 yds on pass plays, and getting the ball to Brendan Bigelow in space.

+ The NU defense is stout against a power running offense, but vulnerable against the pass.  Once Jared Goff and the Cal receiving corps make some progress & build some confidence, they’ll give the NU defense all they can handle, and more.

+ There will be interceptions & mistakes galore, but we’ll also see how devastating this offense and these players can be.

+ Prediction:  Cal upsets #22 Northwestern, 41-35!

Go Bears!