A friend had tickets to last Saturday's game between the local college's gridiron squad, the University of California's Golden Bears, and the top-ranked University of Oregon Ducks. Great game. The local lads almost pulled off an upset before succumbing to the insistent nibbling of the visiting waterfowl (score: 15-13).
There's construction at the stadium,, which is built directly on a fault at the mouth of a canyon in the Berkeley Hills. The current project doesn't address the high seismic risk to the stadium. Instead, the university is building a training center for Cal sportsmen and sportswomen (it's called the Student Athlete High-Performance Center). [Update 11/19: I was wrong about this: the bracing illustrated here is part of the larger stadium renovation project that will get under way in earnest after the season's final home game, against Washington on November 27. Details here.]
In large part, the new center will be The House that Tedford Built. That's Jeff Tedford, the coach who ushered in an era of winning football at Cal (eight straight winning seasons, seven straight bowl appearances; both streaks could end this year). The university--the Athletic Department, the administration, and the alumni, not necessarily in that order--were so gaga over Tedford's prowess that they essentially promised they'd build the training center to get him to stay in Berkeley. Cal is also paying him north of $2 million a year--details of his contract here (PDF)--despite being so strapped for cash it has raised undergraduate tuition about 45 percent over the last three years. That's big-time college sports.