First football weekend

I love it when evenly matched opponents go up against each other in a sporting contest that either could win, and where both sides have to be at their absolute best right up to the last minute.  The problem is that you might lose, so instead today Cal rented a bunch of  players from the Davis program for $300,000, to undergo a merciless 52-3 drubbing for the enormous amusement of a home crowd.  I think a couple of the cheerleaders got to run a few plays toward the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t even have the most fun weekend in the PAC-10, because Oregon got New Mexico to come up and get beat 72-0.  That’s more than a point a minute, and that’s what I call real sportsmanship.  Next year, as a colleague points out,  we might hire the Berkeley High School team for less, and have an even more splendid victory.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

15 thoughts on “First football weekend”

  1. I remember Bill Cosby saying that when he played football at Temple, Hofstra "Beat us 900 to nothing. In their street clothes"

  2. I'm not sure why my alma mater spends the money on these sports. Waste of time. Its not as if we wish fervently to compete with, say, USC. Who cares?

  3. I went to a college whose only ground-gaining play was the forward fumble. Only worked about ten percent of the time.

  4. And in other news…

    Miami 45, Florida A&M 0

    Ohio State, 45, Marshall 7

    Florida 34, Miami (OH) 12

    Georgia 55, UL Lafayette 7

    Florida State 59, Samford 6

    Alabama 48, San Jose St 3

    Georgia Tech 41, South Carolina St 10

    Nebraska 49, Western Kentucky 10

    Iowa 37, Eastern Illinois 7

    Wake Forest 53, Presbyterian 13

    Indiana 51, Towson 17

  5. I'm not exactly thrilled about the whole "padding your schedule with weak teams" thing either. Hats off to Utah, Pitt, TCU, and Oregon State for actually aiming for some challenging match-ups.

  6. EDIT: I should add, "challenging match-ups in their opening round." Most of my Utes' schedule is basically padding.

  7. Of course there is also Kansas, which scheduled North Dakota State University as a "buy" game for its home opener. And lost 6-3.


  8. I went to the University of Chicago in the mid-seventies. Although it is known as the former football powerhouse (the original Monsters of the Midway) that rid itself of that curse before WW2, inter-collegiate football was brought back to Hyde Park in the late 1960s. I showed up during halftime at 1 game my first year, to find UC losing 56-0 to that midwestern powerhouse, aka Oberlin College (1974: with the internet the way it is now, I'm sure you could look it up). People — I hesitate to call them fans — were taking bets on whether Oberlin would break 100 by game's end. Final score: 69-0! Again, more than a point per minute.

  9. Well, UW took on BYU and lost. Respect to them for the schedule, but of course the pollsters don't see it that way.

  10. Ditto CrankyObserver re Kansas losing, and note also Mississippi losing to Jacksonville State. Most big-time football programs stumble down that road once in a while. Probably Cal will some year soon, and with any luck the coach or athletic director will pay with his job.

  11. Presumably both Cal's and Davis's athletics departments will sell the same line about sports enriching student life, about well-rounded scholar-athletes, about promoting many forms of excellence, etc. In light of this: who would you say is lying *more*?

  12. Each of the football bowl teams seems to have set themselves up against a poor opponent for the first game. Likely this is part of the football hype, because the FBT know that their financial support depends on winning, and they cannot go into the league play having lost their first game. It's a well planned strategy to get the boosters (not necessarily anyone related directly to the campus) and alumni excited (what they call "spirit"). Intercollegiate Athletic football, as well as other sports, is all about winning. That's what generates the bucks and the excitement. When they lose, they also lose money, support and recruits for next year. Everyone watches the scores. Remember last year when Cal started near the top? Everyone was excited (aka spirited) but died down as Cal slipped fast to below no. 25, even though they were tapped for an insignificant bowl game, still hoping to make some money and retrive some spirit. The higher ups in IA of course got bonuses for the game paid presumably out of the TV revenues, which were not great. Be nice to go back to games played by real students who played for their own achievement and fun, not used as serfs to promote a money-making machine.

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