On Oct. 23 the costume's captors, using the name the Phoenix Five, delivered a letter to the Cal student newspaper, The Daily Californian!, in which they promised to return the Tree unharmed before the 101st Big Game between the Cardinal and the Golden Bears, in Berkeley on Nov. 21. Enclosed with the letter was a photo of their uprooted hostage, blindfolded but unharmed.
A week later the group delivered the costume to Berdahl's office in exchange for amnesty. The Tree was returned to Palo Alto undamaged, but last Saturday during halftime of the Stanford-USC game, the Cardinal band used a tree shredder to destroy the stolen mascot because it had been "contaminated." A new Tree was unveiled, but it will have to watch its bark when it visits Berkeley. The last time the Big Game was played at Memorial Stadium, in 1996, Cal students stormed the field and literally tore the Tree costume limb from limb.
Big Man in The Big Easy
The success of coach Tommy Bowden, who has guided Tulane to an 8-0 mark and a No. 14 ranking, bolsters the school's stature as the new cradle of coaches. Two other men who once led the Green Wave are coaching Top 25 teams. Larry Smith, who went 18-27 at Tulane from 1976 to '79, is 7-2 with 13th-ranked Missouri. Mack Brown, who had an 11-23 record in New Orleans from 1985 to '87, is 7-2 with 18th-ranked Texas....
The eight schools who will desert the WAC to form the Mountain West Conference (SI, Nov. 9) are 18-8 against the schools they will be leaving behind.