June 9, 2008
Well, the good folks at Fire Tom Hansen get their wish, sort of. The AP is reporting that Hansen will retire, effective July 1, 2009. No word on replacement candidates.
For most Cal football fans, this is pretty good news. For too long the Pac-10 brethren have suffered from a lack of leadership. Despite the recent resurgence of USC as a national power, the reputation of the Pac-10 has fallen considerably, with regard to football. Continually, Pac-10 teams have been hurt by the BCS despite worthy resumes (e.g. Oregon in 2001 and Cal in 2004). What those teams were left with was a bowl game beneath their stature. In most years that means a trip to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl.
A great deal of this drop in prestige, in my view, is the result of poor national coverage. ESPN covers and reports on the games they put on the air. That means teams in the Big East and ACC usually get more coverage than they deserve. And, while the network plays lip service to the Pac-10, it undeniably hurts the conference when games on that network have been so few and far between up until very recently. Also, not having a second team play on New Year’s Day affects national perception of the quality of play out West. Although the Holiday Bowl does have the advantage of playing in prime time without any other competitor, not having the game on New Year’s day has led many to believe the conference fails to get the publicity it deserves for its solid bowl game track record.
26 years is a long time to hold any position, particularly a leadership position. Hansen likely did much greater work than I am giving him credit for, but I think every agrees – even Hansen – that is has been time to go.
June 8, 2008
Leon Powe has impeccable timing. On a night where his incredible path to the NBA would be featured at half-time, Powe scored 21 points in 15 minutes – again showing once again that the Celtics are MUCH better when Powe is on the floor. While I was disappointed Leon and the Bears never made it deep into the NCAA tournament, he is without question one of my favorite Bears and yet another example of the quality of athletes and individuals Cal tends to recruit.
May 19, 2008
Cal released the 2008-2009 men’s hoops schedule today and from the looks of things not much changed from previous years. However, two positive things jump out immediately: (1) Cal will compete in “to-be-named” tournament in Vegas; and (2) Cal plays two other local programs in UOP to open the regular season and USF the week of the Furd road game.
While the competition in the TBN tourney looks average at best, the locale is fantastic. Vegas baby!! Vegas!!!!! I really like including schools in the schedule. There are some decent mid-major programs here in the Bay Area and given the success of the mid-majors over the past few years, why not play some decent ones in our own backyard?
Overall, as the press release from Cal states, the Bears have had the 6th and 12th toughest schedule the last two years according to Sagarin. Of course, that ranking has little to do with Cal’s non-conference schedule and a lot more to do with the level of competition within the Pac-10. For the most part, I think the schedule is a small step in the right direction. I would still like to see Cal face an elite program outside its conference every year and the home schedule is not very good at all, again. I have not purchased season tickets for hoops since 2004-2005 and this home schedule, even with Monty at the helm, won’t compel me to do so this year either.