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Bower blasts Cal for 'unilateral' postponement

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Mississippi coach Jeff Bower
says 10th-ranked California jumped the gun by declaring Thursday's
game postponed without first talking to Golden Eagles officials.
Concerned about the projected path of Hurricane Ivan, Cal
athletic director Steve Gladstone on Monday afternoon said the game
was postponed -- nearly 24 hours before Southern Miss officials
planned to decide the status of the Golden Eagles' home opener.
Southern Miss AD Richard Giannini later Monday confirmed the
game was off, then on Tuesday said the schools will get together to
set a makeup date.
"That was (Cal's) decision," Bower said Tuesday. "That was a
unilateral decision (which was) totally wrong by them. They didn't
communicate with us whatsoever. We had told them we would make a
decision by noontime on Tuesday -- plenty of time to decide their
plans. They were dead-set on not wanting to come. Very
unprofessional."
Gladstone did not immediately return telephone messages left
Tuesday seeking comment.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford said an initial proposal to play
the game this Saturday was out of the question because of concerns
about travel, lodging and the potential aftermath of the menacing
storm, which is projected to make landfall late Wednesday or early
Thursday along the Gulf Coast.
"To try to take the team across country with so many
uncertainties was not very logical," Tedford said during the
Pac-10's weekly teleconference Tuesday. "If we were the home team in this,
we could say, 'Yeah, come on,' but we're trying to get a lot of
things done and it just wasn't coming together. We exhausted all of
our efforts here."
The postponement means Southern Miss could miss out on $140,000
in television revenue from ESPN, which was to televise the game,
school officials said. Playing on TV in December is a possibility,
officials said.
"With this storm coming this way, it's the best decision,"
Bower said of the postponement. "The only thing you can do is
probably play it in December. I assume that's when it would be. We
were hoping it would be, if this thing (Ivan) didn't come toward
us, this weekend."
So, the stir-crazy Golden Eagles will have a few extra days to
savor their unlikely win at Nebraska.
Southern Miss (1-0) was off the week before its 21-17 win last
Saturday in Lincoln, and doesn't play until Sept. 25 at Tulane.
"It's not just the ESPN thing," linebacker Michael Boley said.
"We already had the first week off. We don't want to have to play
a game (Nebraska) and then have another open week before playing
another game."
Cal (2-0) doesn't play again until Oct. 2 at Oregon State. The
Golden Bears beat Southern Miss 34-2 in last year's season opener
in Berkeley.