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Oregon v California
  1. Okay, so the Daily Californian publishes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The Wilcox hire was announced Saturday, and Monday was a federal holiday, and that’s how you end up getting the first news of your school’s new football coach into the paper on Tuesday. It’s an independent student paper. We get that.
  2. They put a picture of Sonny Dykes up with a Wilcox story, as if to say: Yes, this is Sonny Dykes’ reaction to his firing. Look how free he feels, now that he does not have to coach Cal football, and play ten men on defense, which Cal may as well have done for the past three years.” Or: “This is Sonny Dykes, who we have now imprisoned inside this paper using the brilliant malevolence of our Nobel Prize-winning scientists and their fearsome technologies.” Or maybe it’s just that they didn’t have a file photo of Justin Wilcox that didn’t feature him licking his lips creepily. We’d like to think it’s the first two, but it’s probably the latter.
  3. And we get it: Football is not as big in the Pac-12. That’s a good thing. The football coach probably does belong on the sidebar, to be honest. In a healthy world, where you can go to college and do other things and learn and be amused and entertained and provoked by all kinds of ideas and experiences, that’s probably where football belongs in the grand scheme of things. Maybe even further back in the paper, actually, especially at a place where athletics is currently deep in the hole financially, and where a committee is evaluating the future of all athletics at the school.
  4. Maybe this is right and just, particularly when you remember the history of Cal football as a long series of colorful farces interrupted periodically by bursts of Jeff Tedford and Marshawn Lynch. Prior to Tedford, the program’s most successful period consisted of making the Rose Bowl three times in a row under Coach Pappy Waldorf from 1948 to 1950. They lost all three of those games, by the way. Other than that and a few other blips and THE PLAY, that’s about it for Cal, a place that values their academics and quirky identity far more than their sports. To that point: You can still watch games for free from a nearby hill, something a program like Alabama would have ended with armed guards years ago. (Or demolishing the hill completely and replacing it with a statue of some sort, which would be very Alabama.)
  5. It’d be cliché to also add that maybe, at a school with a hardcore hippie legacy and reputation as a weed-friendly campus, the natural move would be to put the Taco Bell Cantina, now featuring alcohol sales, on page one with a huge headline.
  6. BUT.