Giants blow five-run lead at Coors Field, lose to the Rockies

By Morris Phillips

Among the things that aren’t safe at Coors Field, you can add two-seam fastballs with good location and 6 ½ game win streaks. 

And yes, five-run leads already have a prominent place on the list.

The Giants stepped into the Mile High house of horrors with 35 hands on deck and a couple of reasonably attainable goals on Monday: win the completion of May 22’s washout and a regularly scheduled game as well to keep the pressure on the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.

And they were well on their way to attaining those goals when the middle-aged ballpark and the home team made a stand midway through the regularly-scheduled game.

That’s when the five-run lead disappeared.  Sergio Romo’s quality two-seam fastball and the Giants’ win streak would prove to be vulnerable soon after that as well.

The Giants captured the suspended game that resumed tied 2-2 in the sixth by pushing across a pair of runs in the eighth to win 4-2.  In the regularly-scheduled game, the Giants blew a 7-2 lead as the Rockies scored eight times after the fifth inning to win 10-9.  The final leg of the Giants’ bullpen’s implosion came as Romo delivered a fastball low and away to Charlie Blackmon and he shot it into right field allowing Michael McKenry to race home with the game-winning run.

The Giants can only blame themselves for the deluge of Colorado runs.  In the sixth, leading 7-2, starter Tim Hudson saw the first four hitters of the inning reach base, but the last of the four–pinch hitter Matt McBride—reached when Giants’ second baseman Joe Panik dropped a potential double play ball on a throw from Pablo Sandoval.

“We don’t get that double play, and not only don’t get it, don’t get an out,” manager Bruce Bochy noted.   “Especially in this ballpark you give them extra outs it came back to bite us.”

The Rockies went on to score four runs in sixth and three more in the seventh to take a 9-7 lead. But the Giants fought back, scoring twice in the ninth to tie it with both runs coming off hot closer Latroy Hawkins.  In the ninth, Panik doubled to lead off and Buster Posey and Sandoval provided run-scoring singles.

But no sooner than the Giants got even, they were beaten as Romo allowed three base hits including the game-winner off the bat of Charlie Blackmon.  The Rockies’ outfielder was thrown a fastball off the plate but found a way to hit into right field for the game-winner.  With runners at first and third and two outs, Romo had an option to pitch around Blackmon, and it appeared he was executing that strategy when Blackmon went outside the zone to deliver the base hit.

With the split decision and the Dodgers’ loss to the Nationals, the Giants moved to within two games of the division leaders with 24 games remaining for both teams.  The loss in the regularly scheduled game brought an end to the Giants’ six-game win streak that didn’t include the win in the completion of the suspended game. 

By winning a game that began on May 22, the Giants achieved a 43-21 record after their first 64 scheduled games.  That record is the best after 64 games by any team in major league baseball since 2003, when the Mariners were also 43-21 and the Braves were one game better at 44-20.

The Giants had 10 additional players available as September 1 marked the first day for minor-league call-ups.  Among those recalled were Bochy’s son Brett, a pitcher; former first-round pick, outfielder Gary Brown and reliever Hunter Strickland.  Strickland pitched his way out of a jam in the eighth inning in the regularly-scheduled game giving the Giants a chance to rally in the ninth.

On Tuesday, the Giants turn to Yusmeiro Petit in his bid for a second, consecutive outstanding start.  Petit will be opposed by Colorado’s Jordan Lyles.


49ers Set to Open Season in Dallas

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA- The San Francisco 49ers are set to open up the 2014 regular season against the Dallas Cowboys on September 7th. Already without All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith for the first nine regular season games, San Francisco might have to be without another key piece on their defense. Defensive tackle Ray McDonald’s status with the team remains uncertain following his arrest on Sunday on suspicion of felony domestic violence at his home in San Jose.

According to police-dispatch audio, obtained by ABC 7 News, the unnamed victim, that is involved in the incident, claimed McDonald was “hitting her” and “was trying to pull her out of the house. She’s 10 weeks pregnant and refusing medical.”

If the case prevents McDonald from playing on Sunday in Dallas, it is likely that Tony Jerod-Eddie will start in his place. Jerod-Eddie started all four preseason games in place of McDonald as he was recovering from a hamstring strain.

The 49ers appear to be the deepest at every position then they have been a while, so the absence of McDonald for a few games should not hurt the team to much. But, whenever you lose your starting DT, it does effect the defense in some way. San Francisco is looking to start the season off with a victory before coming back to Levi’s Stadium to play their first ever regular season home opener against the Chicago Bears September 14th.

San Francisco will be going up against a pretty good Dallas offense in week one. Tony Romo and company will look to start off the season 1-0 as they try to take the NFC east and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Cowboys will be a tough task as Dez Bryant and the Dallas offense will look to go after the 49ers new secondary.

San Francisco will have some help back on the offensive line as offensive guard Alex Boone ended his holdout after agreeing to a two year extension. The new deal basically just makes his incentive money a guarantee over the next two seasons. Boone is a very versatile lineman that can play multiple positions on the offensive line. This is great news for the 49ers as they just recently cut Adam Snyder to make room on the 53-man roster.

Dunn’s “Storybook” Debut, Hammel’s Gem Help A’s Top Mariners 6-1

By Matthew Harrington

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland Athletics put a nightmare series against the Los Angeles Angels behind them Monday afternoon, topping the Seattle Mariners 6-1 at O.Co Coliseum in a Labor Day matinee. Adam Dunn launched a home run in his Athletics debut, while Jason Hammel fired an eight-inning gem to lead Oakland (79-58) to its first win in six games.

The A’s struggled to score four runs total over a four-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels Thursday through Sunday, prompting manager Bob Melvin to hold a closed door meeting Sunday after describing his team’s performance as “pathetic” in a postgame conference . On Monday, the A’s stifled any concerns over a stagnant offense, exploding for five runs off the Mariners (73-63) and starter Chris Young in the first inning.

“You never know where things are going to go,” said Melvin. “With the way we’ve been playing, lacking a little bit of energy. The early innings we’ve really been having trouble getting on the board. We had a lot of energy in our dugout, and certainly our fans had a lot to do with it. The place is packed, they’re making a lot of noise. That was the culmination of it.”

Adam Dunn, making his A’s debut after coming over in a Sunday trade with the White Sox for minor leaguer Nolan Sanburn, launched a two out, two-run home run to open the scoring. The designated hitter became the 12th player in Athletics history to homer in his first at-bat with the team.

“It all happened so fast,” said Dunn on his homer. “I was anxious, a little nervous. More than I have been in a long time.”

“That was like a storybook kind of thing,” added Melvin. “The fans were lining up here at 7:30 in the morning. They were out in full force to start the game. We have really been lacking early energy runs. You start thinking to yourself ‘Wouldn’t it be something’ and he delivered. You get goose bumps, it was awesome.”

Dunn said that the sellout crowd, the 15th of the season for the A’s, was one of the loudest crowds he ever played for. It was one of many new experiences for Dunn on the day, including his introduction to the home run tunnel.

“It threw me off quite a bit,” said Dunn with a smile. “I’m pretty smart, I figured it out.”

Geovany Soto, playing his first game in front of the hometown fans after being acquired from the Texas Rangers during the A’s recent roadtrip, knocked in a pair on a bases-loaded, full-count single. His hit chased Young (12-7, 3.46 ERA) from the game after just two-thirds of an inning. Eric Sogard would knock in another run to welcome reliever Lucas Luetge to the game and extend the lead to 5-0.

The A’s only scored one run after that, with Josh Donaldson knocking an RBI double down the third base line in the sixth inning. The insurance run was less than necessary for Oakland, with starting pitcher Jason Hammel (2-5, 4.98) doing anything but laboring on Labor Day. The righty turned in his best performance with the Athletics this season, firing eight innings of one-run ball with his only blemish a solo homer to Brad Miller in the sixth inning. Hammel threw 111 pitches, striking out five Mariners while scattering only three hits.

“I felt very comfortable,” said Hammel. “We had a game plan going into today and we executed it very well. It was mainly fastball-slider today, staying aggressive.”

Hammel, acquired in the Fourth of July deal that netted the A’s Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs, picked up just his first win since August 5th. It’s just the second time Hammel’s name has followed the “W” on the box score as a member of the A’s. His turn in the rotation was skipped earlier this month after Hammel coughed up five runs over three innings at Atlanta August 15th. In his return to the rotation August 26th, Hammel delivered seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball but left with the no decision. He has now gone 15 innings, allowing two runs in two starts since Drew Pomeranz took his turn.

“When I was going through that tough stretch it felt like I was down,” said Hammel. “It was more frustration than not having confidence with myself. When your slider disappears for a month you feel naked out there. That’s my go to when I’m in trouble.”

With the calendar turning from August to September, the A’s received reinforcements with the roster expanding. Catcher Bryan Anderson, outfielder Billy Burns and Fernando Rodriguez joined the team for Monday’s tilt.

Also joining the Athletics was shortstop Jed Lowrie. Lowrie, activated from the disabled list Monday morning after recovering from a finger injury, went two-for-four on the day.

“He had good at-bats,” said Melvin. “He had no issues at short throwing the ball. He was one of those subtle guys that really does have an impact for us at shortstop. He hits from both sides of the plate, knocks in some runs. He’s a two-way player that we’ve really counted on for a couple of years now. The line-up seemed more impactful with (Lowrie and Dunn) in it.”

The new look A’s offense will have to prove itself once again on Tuesday night against the Mariners. The M’s, the major league leaders in staff earned run average, send James Paxton to the mound to face Sonny Gray at O.Co Coliseum.

Can the A’s win the Division?

by Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s beat the Seattle Mariners today at the Oakland Coliseum. It’s really something to see a shift in attitude and play in just one day. The A’s acquired Adam Dunn in a trade with the White Sox yesterday

and all he did was hit a home run in his first at bat as an Athletic. The A’s, who played lousy ball in the four games in Anaheim, seemed to right the ship and played like the A’s that played so well for the first four months of the year. Jed Lowrie played in his first game since going on the DL and Geovany Soto, acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers, drove in two with a single and actually threw out a runner trying to steal.All these were positives. The hitting came to life and the defense was crisp. A’s pitcher Jason Hammel picked up his second win as an Athletic and his performance was outstanding. He pitched well his last time out and seems to have gotten his game back on track. This gives the A’s five strong starters in the rotation.

The A’s have twenty-five games left to play. They have five more with Seattle as well as series with the Phillies , Astros , Rangers and Angels. The A’s have to get their mojo back and go on a tear if they are to win the division. The Angels are playing well and now have a 4 /12 game lead over the A’s but there is reason not to believe that the A’s can’t win the division and avoid the one game playoff with the second wild card team.

It was a big momentum shift for the A’s on Monday and let’s hope that they can continue to play well down the stretch. They are in the last month of play and the season is no longer a marathon. It’s now a sprint to the finish and the A’s won the division on the last day of play in 2012. Who is to say that can’t happen again this year?–

Jerry Feitelberg

Bears take on Sac State at home

By George Devine, Sr.

After a surprising 31-24 win over Northwestern at Evanston, Illinois, the Golden Bears head home to Memorial Stadium, where they will take on Sacramento State at Noon on Saturday, September 6.

The Cal win in the heart of Big 10 country was their first victory over a FBS opponent since they beat Washington State, in 2012. It came as the result of a heads-up defense– led by LB Jalen Jefferson — that made the golden arm of sophomore quarterback Jared Goff (281 yards) count for something. Freshman QB Luke Rubenzer alternated with Goff in an offense that had the Wildcats admitting their surprise. And despite his throwing an intercepted pass, Rubenzer will surely figure in the game against Sac State; he showed his versatility by rushing for 48 yards.

Other freshmen who showed their stuff against Northwestern, and who will likely make good contributions again, are RBs Tre Watson and Vic Enwere.

The Hornets were dominant in their opener on the road at Incarnate Word in San Antonio, with a 49-13 win. QB Garrett Safron was 17-28 for 251 passing yards which made for 5 TDs. Safron’s previous season seems to have continued into this senior year and the Bears’ defense will have to break up his aerial attack; this is where Jefferson comes in.

After this weekend, Cal’s remaining games will be:

9/20 @ Arizona, kickoff TBA

9/27 Colorado, TBA

10/4 @ Washington State, TBA

10/11 Washington, TBA

10/18 UCLA, TBA

10/24 Oregon, 7 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara

11/1 @ Oregon State

11/22 Stanford, TBA

11/29 BYU, TBA

NHL: Young Sharks Moving Forward

By Mary Walsh

The Sharks announced that Jamie Baker will fill the open spot next to Randy Hahn on the television broadcast. Bret Hedican will step in to Baker’s spot next to Dan Rusanowsky on the radio broadcasts. The moves are consistent with the team’s minimalist approach to this off-season. Baker and Hedican are both familiar faces and voices to Sharks fans, their presence will not be a surprise to anyone. What might surprise viewers will be that, if they have a chance to catch an Edmonton Oilers broadcast, they will see Drew Remenda there. The announcements close out a quiet summer for the Sharks, if you ignore the ruckus over the John Scott signing. There is still time for the Sharks to do something surprising, but with September here, fans can look forward to preseasons games starting on September 23.

One of the stated goals of the San Jose Sharks this season is to allow their younger players to take a greater leadership than previously. That may be easier than it sounds, since the Sharks are younger than they have been in a long time. On the current roster, they only have seven skaters over 30, six forwards and one defenseman. They only have one player over 35, defenseman Scott Hannan. That looks promising when compared to the last two Stanley Cup champions, who had seven skaters over 30 (Los Angeles in 2013-14) and eight 30-somethings (Chicago in 2012-13) respectively. Giving youth a chance is certainly the trend in the NHL, though someone should tell that to the New Jersey Devils. They have nine forwards over 30, three over 35, and four defensemen over 30, with two over 35. Age might be a theme in stories about Sharks-Devils games this season.

Three Sharks prospects moved on this summer. Forward John McCarthy signed a one year contract with the St Louis Blues. 28 year old McCarthy was drafted in the seventh round by the Sharks in 2006 and played 87 games with San Jose over four seasons. The bulk of those games were played in the 2010-11 and 2013-14 seasons, in which he scored 3 goals and 3 points. He played five seasons with the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, serving as captain for one season and earning 133 points. He joins fellow Sharks alum Benn Ferriero, who also signed a one year contract with the St. Louis organization.

Defenseman Sena Acolatse signed a one year contract with the Calgary Flames. Acolatse played 156 games with the Worcester Sharks over three seasons. 23 year old Acolatse had 17 goals, 42 assists points and 217 penalty minutes with Worcester. He was the first Bay Area prospect signed by the Sharks. Ex-Shark Devin Setoguchi also signed a one-year contract for the upcoming season with Calgary.

Defenseman Nick Petrecki signed a one year AHL deal with the Rochester Americans. The 25 year old played five seasons with the Worcester Sharks, earning 46 points. He was ranked second in franchise history for penalty minutes (531) (Frazer McLaren had 577) and first in games played with 277. He was drafted in the first round in 2007 by the Sharks and played one game with San Jose in 2012-13. He joined the Rochester Americans at the end of last season, played 14 games with them and five playoff games.

Tracking other ex-Sharks, goaltender Evgeni Nabakov will be with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. Thomas Greiss has signed a one year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dany Heatley will be seen often by Sharks fans, now as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. TJ Galiardi swapped places with Devin Setoguchi, moving from Calgary to Winnipeg. Manny Malthotra signed a one year contract with Montreal, and Daniel Winnik signed with Toronto.

Disaster in SoCal – the Angels sweep four in a row from the A’s

matt shoemaker

 By Charlie O. Mallonee

Have you ever had a nightmare that will not go away? Every time you close your eyes, it comes back.

That was the kind of nightmare the Oakland A’s experienced in Los Angeles versus the Angels in their critical four-game series to determine the leader in the American League West. Every time the A’s closed their eyes, they saw an Angel pitcher dominating the hitters and keeping the A’s from scoring runs. They saw Angel’s batters having very little difficulty hitting Oakland pitching. Every time the A’s players looked at the scoreboard, they saw themselves as the losers in very critical games.

The A’s went into the game on Sunday hoping salvage one win in the four-game series. It was not to be as Los Angeles pitcher Matt Shoemaker pitched seven scoreless innings while his hitters limited A’s starter Scott Kazmir to just.1.1 innings of work. The Angels beat the A’s 8-1 to sweep the series.

The Angels struck first and struck hard in the bottom of the second inning. Josh Hamilton led off the inning with a single to left field. Howie Kendrick then walked. David Freese flied out to center. Erick Aybar singled to left field and Josh Hamilton scored as Kendrick moved up to second base. Chris Iannetta walked to load the bases for the Angels. After Curt Young made a visit to the mound, Scott Kazmir walked Gordon Beckham forcing in a run from third base. Kole Calhoun then walked forcing in Aybar for the third run of the inning.

Bob Melvin made a trip to the mound to remove Kazmir before the next hitter. As Dan Otero ran in from the bullpen, Melvin started toward home plate umpire Gerry Davis to complain about the strike zone. Davis immediately ejected Melvin.

Mike Trout singled off Otero driving two runs in and putting the Angels up 5-0. Albert Pujols grounded out to third but Kole Calhoun was able to score from third. Josh Hamilton was safe at first on a fielding error but Mike Trout was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second to end the inning. When the dust settled, the A’s starting pitcher was in the clubhouse, Bob Melvin was ejected and Oakland trailed the Angels 6-0.

The Angels added another run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Mike Trout led off the inning with a home run to left center field off Jesse Chavez to make the score 7-0 Los Angeles.

The A’s finally stopped their streak of 29 consecutive scoreless innings in the top of the eighth inning. With one out, Sam Fuld walked. Fuld advanced to second on defensive indifference as Josh Reddick was at the plate. Reddick then hit a single to left and Fuld scampered home to score the A’s one and only run of the game.

The Angels added one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Chris Iannetta took an Evan Scribner pitch over the left center field wall for the eighth run of the game.

Shoemaker’s record improved to 14-4 on the season. He worked 7.0 innings giving up no runs on just five hits. Shoemaker walked none and struck out seven Oakland A’s. He threw 103 pitches (70 strikes).

Scott Kazmir’s record fell to 14-7 for the year. He gave up six runs (all earned) in his 1.1 innings on the mound. Kazmir walked six batters and struck out none. Dan Otero, Jesse Chavez and Evan Scribner combined to close out the game for the A’s.

Oakland now trails the Angels by five full games in the American League West. The Angels have Monday off and then begin a series in Houston on Tuesday. The A’s will be back in action on Monday as they open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels and A’s will face each other again in a three-game series in Oakland September 22-24.



Big sweep for the Giants

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-After a tumultuous couple of months that saw the San Francisco Giants fall from first place; and a season-high six and a half games out on August 12, the Giants have put themselves back into the National League playoff race.

Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings, allowing one run on five hits, while walking one and striking out seven and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 15-5 before 41,935 the 317th consecutive sellout at AT&T Park.

This was the 16th win of the season for Bumgarner, tying him with Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the most wins in the major leagues this season

With the victory, the Giants completed their first three-game sweep of the Brewers at AT&TPark since August 24-26, 2007.

This was the fifth sweep of the season for the Giants, and it was the sixth consecutive victory for the Giants and ends the home stand with a 6-1 record.

The 15 runs scored by the Giants are their most of the 2014 season, breaking their previous season high of 13 that they scored in the opener of this three-game series on Friday night.

Ryan Braun put the Brewers on the board in the top of the first inning, as he hit into a double play that scored Carlos Gomez from third base.

Gomez led off the game with a double off of Bumgarner, went to third on a Jonathan Lucroy single and then Braun hit into a double play.

Andrew Susac tied up the game in the bottom of the second inning, as he doubled in Pablo Sandoval, who tripled to leadoff the inning.

Hunter Pence would give the Giants the lead for good, as he doubled to score Angel Pagan, who singled with one out, then stole second and advanced to third base on a Martin Maldonado throwing error.

Joe Panik followed up Pagan’s single with and then Pence doubled in Pagan with the eventual winning run.

Pablo Sandoval then followed up Pence’s single with a single of his own to score Panik with the second run of the inning.

Pagan scored the Giants final run of the inning, as Michael Morse hit a sacrifice fly to score Pence.

Sandoval gave the Giants their next two runs of the game as he hit his 15th home run, a two-run shot that bounced into McCovey Cove off the portwalk in right field.

Pagan then drove in the Giants seventh run of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth inning, as he singled in Brandon Crawford, who reached on a Fielders’ Choice after Susac singled to leadoff the inning.

Martin Maldonado hit a solo home run off of George Kontos in the top of the seventh inning that landed half way up the left field bleachers.

Pence tripled to leadoff the bottom of the seventh inning off of Alfredo Figaro, then Sandoval walked and then Pence scored his third run of the afternoon, when Figaro unleashed a wild pitch with Travis Ishikawa at the plate.

Following the wild pitch, Ishikawa singled to right field that sent Sandoval to third base and Figaro to the clubhouse, as Brewers manager Ron Roenicke saw enough and brought on Will Smith.

Susac added his second double of the afternoon to drive his second and third runs of the afternoon off of Will Smith.

Joaquin Arias got in on the act, as he hit a pinch hit double that scored Susac and sent Crawford, who walked to third base.

Panik tripled in Crawford and Arias, and then Panik himself scored, when Pence singled him in.

All in all, the Giants tacked on seven runs off of four Brewers relievers.

Brewers’ starter Kyle Lohse pitched five and two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits, walking two and striking out three, as he saw his record fall to 12-8

Tim Lincecum, who was moved to the bullpen in place of Yusmeiro Petit, came on out of the bullpen to pitch the last two innings.

Lincecum went two innings, allowing three runs on three hits.

Ryan Braun hit his 18th home run of the season in the top of the eighth inning off of Lincecum.

Ishikawa scored the Giants final run of the afternoon in the bottom of the eighth inning, as he walked to lead off the inning, went to third on a Blanco double and then scored when Crawford grounded out to second base.

The Blanco double was the Giants 10th extra base hit of the afternoon, marking the first time in AT&TPark history that the Giants picked up 10 extra base hits in the same game.

It was the most extra base hits for the Giants as a team since hitting 10 extra base hits against the Philadelphia Phillies at CitizensBankPark on August 13, 2004.

NOTES: Following the game, the Giants made the following roster moves in preparation for September 1 callups.

Mike Kickham and Juan Perez were recalled from Fresno, right-hander Hunter Strickland was recalled from Richmond, Chris Dominguez and Guillermo Quiroz had their contracts purchased from Fresno. Ehire Adrianza and Hector Sanchez have been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

In the six-game home stand, the Giants starters pitched 50.2 innings, allowing eight runs (six earned runs), good enough for a 1.07 earned run average seven walks and 57 strikeouts.

The three triples are the most by a Giants since moving into AT&T Park in 2000, and the most in a home game since May 8, 1977 against the New York Mets,

Dunn to the rescue?

by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Oakland Athletics are making moves to jumpstart their offense by completing a trade with the Chicago White Sox for outfielder/designated hitter Adam Dunn. The A’s acquired Dunn and cash considerations in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Nolan Sanburn.

Dunn is currently batting .220 with 20 home runs and 54 RBI in 106 games for the White Sox. He is tied for seventh in the American League with 65 walks but he is ranked seventh with 132 strikeouts. Dunn will do one of three things for the A’s at the plate – hit a home run, walk or strikeout.

Dunn has played DH, first base, right field and left field for Chicago this season. Prior to the start of the game in Anaheim, A’s manager Bob Melvin indicated that Dunn will be used mostly as the designated hitter for Oakland.

Adam Dunn is a .237 career hitter with 460 home runs and 1158 RBI in 1976 Major League games. His 460 home runs ranks him 36th on the all-time list just one behind David Ortiz.

Dunn is expected to join the A’s on Labor Day. Because the trade was completed by August 31st, Dunn will be eligible to play in the post-season for the Athletics.

NCAA Commentary: Cal might have something there with upset in Northwestern; USC’s Shaw story jumping to conclusions

by Michelle Richardson

What a shocker by Cal in a 31-24 win over Northwestern: I was one of the people with my mouth open because the Cal Bears took my card in the pick em, this could be the tide turning for Cal. They’ve had some many years in missing bowl games and last year they won only one game and maybe former head coach Jeff Tedford’s exit might have brought in a change and right now it’s new blood with head coach Sonny Dykes.

Part of that new blood is new students and a new attitude at Cal, I always say sometimes it takes a change in management to change how a place works and I’m hoping that there is another team in the Pac 12 that will be competitive this year. If you rank the big time conferences the Pac 12 is at the bottom. UCS is not impressive, Stanford I’m not sure if they’re kind of a bubble team or a team that’s been pretty much running the Pac 12 the last few years.

Mike Leach at Washington State took over and made the Cougars his team and the team has got better and better every year. This is his third year and all of those recruits are all his, I’m looking forward to seeing whats going on and not like USC whose changed coaches in the last few years. I’m very excited that Cal turned it around and beat a team in the Big Ten and their hoping to be number one and to show some strength in their schedule.

Notre Dame’s win over Rice 48-17 not surprising: Don’t get confused this win by the Fighting Irish is not a tone setter for the season, it’s Rice its not going to set any tone unless your playing Rice in baseball I’d say no. Notre Dame was supposed to win this game and win this game handedly. Had Rice won I would tell you that Norte Dame could stick a fork in it.

This is not a game where you can say Notre Dame beat Rice the Fighting Irish are going all the way, no there not, I need to see the Irish play a Michigan and play more top ten teams. When Notre Dame starts getting into their part of the ACC schedule we’ll see. The Irish play Michigan for the last time this year we’ll see then. Right now no, that game meant nothing except that’s the first game of the season for the Lucky Charms.

USC controversies: Josh Shaw’s fake balcony jump and he was also named in a burglary report in L.A. I don’t feel sorry for him and I know he’s a young man and he’ll make mistakes but he lied and said he went and jumped do really think somebody is going to follow up on that? His nephew was drowning and he jumped two stories do think people are going to follow up on that. USC is going to follow up on that because the school is concerned now about their reputation.

You have the L.A.Times and Sports Illustrated making this a national story is Shaw stupid? Then there is the fact that he lied. You could lie about a whole lot of things but you don’t lie about people’s lives being in peril and you don’t lie about people dying. Because you believe in karma and it mighht come back on you in a bad way.

That was just a horrible, horrible, thing that Shaw did and I truly, truly hope that he learned his lesson and he’s eligble for the NFL draft, doesn’t Shaw know he’s affecting his draft stock? My thing is if Shaw just said he jumped off the balcony and he did something stupid and he hurt his ankle that would show more character than saying he saved two kids from a burning building. This lying is ridiculous and you put yourself in a bad position with the team over something that was completely stupid and illegal, I don’t have a place for you on my team.

Michelle Richardson does NCAA Commentary each week for You can hear the rest of her commentary on the soundcloud audio below the column