Winless in league play and eliminated from the postseason, Cal is playing for pride and the future Saturday at Colorado. But there is an intriguing backdrop thanks to a series of events that took place 11 months ago in Berkeley and Boulder.
During her search for a coach to replace Jeff Tedford, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour interviewed Mike MacIntyre, who had just orchestrated a stunning turnaround at San Jose State.
Barbour ultimately passed on MacIntyre and instead chose Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes, renowned for his creative offense and entertaining style of play.
Four days after Cal hired Dykes, Colorado grabbed MacIntyre.
And here we are.
It would be easy to paint Cal vs. Colorado as a referendum on the decision to hire Dykes instead of MacIntyre — as the Barbour Bowl — but that’s an unfair depiction. It’s too early to render final judgment on Dykes and too simplistic to base such sweeping conclusions on the result of a single Saturday.
But perception matters. It matters in fundraising, it matters in recruiting, and it matters in the general sense of getting things done — all of which raise the stakes this week for Dykes and, especially, for Barbour.
Among the Cal football constituency, there is growing unease with Dykes. No reasonable observers expected the Bears to contend for the Pac-12 North title given their inexperience and limited roster, and the spate of injuries have compounded the problems.
But the Bears (1-9, 0-7) have been shockingly bad — unimaginably bad. They are blown out regularly and have yet to defeat a major college opponent. They’re atrocious on defense and not as productive offensively as expected given Dykes’ track record. In a 62-28 loss to USC last week, they allowed two punt return touchdowns and a blocked punt return for a score.
– Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News
The Warriors have the potential to go far this season, but they’re not going to get there on cuteness alone.
Curry throws a blind, floor-length bounce pass to Iguodala, who butt-bumps the ball to Bogut, who whips a no-look pass to Lee, who kicks out to Thompson, who buries a three and falls back into the arms of Kent Bazemore! Are you kidding me?
Teams hate to get posterized and circused, and the Warriors will do that to you. Not because they want to show teams up, but because that’s how they roll. Style-wise, Stephen Curry sets the tone.
Wednesday, I asked Warriors coach Mark Jackson about protecting Curry. I likened Curry to Wayne Gretzky, which is comparing apples to frozen apples. Some opponents tried to beat up the frail-looking Gretzky, so Gretzky’s teams always had an enforcer who made that thuggish style of play less effective.
The question to Jackson: If opponents decide that the best way to stop Curry is to beat him up, is there ever a time when you say, “OK, we have to have an antidote for that?”
Cue Andrew Bogut. He’s a nifty passer and smart player, but he’s also the menacing presence the Warriors haven’t had since before recorded history.
Bogut waved off the idea that the Warriors might face a cuteness backlash, an increase in physicality by opponents wanting to knock the Warriors off their trapeze. Bogut noted that the Warriors aren’t trying to show teams up, they just happen to play fast and exciting ball.
–Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle
The Sacramento Kings have notified the Guinness Book of World Records that they will attempt to set a new world record for noise in an indoor arena when the team takes on the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 15 on ESPN.
Team president and COO Chris Granger joined Comcast SportsNet’s broadcast of the game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday and gave further details on what to expect during the nationally televised affair.
“The chatter’s been increasing and increasing and we’ve been paying attention to it,” Granger said. “We’re going to provide our fans with a platform to make the loudest noise in the history of indoor arenas.”
The movement has gone viral, and Kings fans are using the hash tag #HearWeRoar to show their solidarity. Over the offseason, the city and fan base showed substantial support of the team amid the potential sale to a Seattle-based investment group led by Chris Hansen, but fell through in large part due to their unwavering support.
–Michael C. Jones, Sports Out West