Reading time, two minutes:
▪ Cal will honor late quarterback Joe Roth and his great (8-3) 1975 team Saturday. More than a few tears will be shed.
▪ The Pac-12 Network released a feature-length documentary “Don’t Quit: The Joe Roth Story” this week. He played the 1976 season though he was weakened by melanoma and died at 21 only a few weeks after his last all-star game.
▪ How good was the 6-foot-4 Roth as a QB? NFL talent experts compare him to Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Dan Marino.
▪ The ’75 Bears, the Pacific-8 Conference co-champions, led the nation in offense: 2,522 rushing yards, 2,522 passing yards.
▪ How good was Roth as a person? He handed in a paper for a class 10 days before he died.
▪ Ripon’s Jeff Moye (Central Catholic) started at corner for Cal in 1975 and ’76.
▪ Moye on Roth: “Joe had the same mannerisms as Montana. He didn’t put anybody above the team. He was one of the guys and a truly great player. … No one on the team (in 1976) knew he was ill, but we did notice he had lost weight.”
▪ Roth disclosed to only coach Mike White and a few close friends the degree of his illness. “Don’t feel sorry for me” was his message.
▪ Four people, including a toddler, were killed last weekend as a car careened into Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade. The Cowboys know sorrow: 10 were killed in a 2001 airplane crash involving the OSU men’s basketball team, and another accident claimed the lives of the women’s basketball coach and an assistant in 2011.
▪ Should they have played last week’s game against Kansas only a few hours after the tragedy? If I’m the judge, no.
▪ Welcome, Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) to the Heisman Trophy race.
▪ About the ongoing incredible season by Humboldt State sophomore Ja’Quan Gardner (Central Valley): He’s rushed for 1,375 yards, third-best in the nation.
▪ The understated words by Humboldt State coach Rob Smith about Gardner: “Very special.”
▪ If the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (Pitman High School) is an “island in his own locker room” as was reported last weekend, why did four of his teammates (including Aldon Smith) attend his Camp Taylor golf tournament last June?
▪ An episode of low NFL comedy: The Cowboys’ Dez Bryant telling Greg Hardy to chill.
▪ Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says Hardy is a leader. Where he’s leading them is debatable.
▪ Power failure temporarily knocked out the telecast of Game 1 of the World Series. The Ravens blamed the 49ers.
▪ Connected events: NBA critics and players claiming the Warriors got lucky, and Steph Curry putting 40 points (29 before halftime) on New Orleans in the opener.
▪ Begin the conversation: Curry, not only the MVP, but maybe the best player in the league.
▪ Ringing success or hide-your-eyes failure, one or the other: The Vlade Divac/George Karl Sacramento Kings.
▪ The Rockets’ James Harden claims he’s the NBA’s best all-around player. One thing about the great ones: They never have to say it.
▪ Speaking of greatness: Abby Wambach retired this week after 14 seasons and 184 goals, none better than her exquisite finish in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal vs. Brazil.
▪ Next time, Adrian Peterson, no shrimp.
▪ The most amazing stat about the 2015 Modesto Junior College Pirates (5-2): Their defense/special teams are averaging a touchdown per game.
▪ A thought while watching the Raiders and Chargers last week: Future roommates?
▪ Will the broken ankles induced by the Raiders’ Amari Cooper outnumber his touchdowns as a rookie? Could be a nice side bet in Las Vegas.
▪ Just because: J.J. Arrington.
▪ Cal honors Roth’s memory at either the USC or UCLA game each year. Only one Cal number is retired: Roth’s 12.
▪ Roth’s teammates carried him back to his apartment, where he wanted to die. Then, after he passed, they carried him out.
▪ If the gods have a conscience, the Bears beat USC Saturday, not unlike 40 years ago.