Big Game could have been much bigger

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) and head coach David Shaw, left, watches from the sidelines against Oregon during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Stanford, Calif. Oregon won 38-36. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

There had been growing excitement around Stanford about a possible berth in the College Football Playoff, and it might have contributed to its shaky 38-36 loss to Oregon. Basically, the game was lost on any one of five plays — three long touchdowns allowed by the defense and two fumbled snaps on offense.

So if Stanford wins its next three games and the Pac-12 title, and …

“I’m not answering questions about the playoff,” David Shaw said. “I’m just not going to. It’s a waste of time. It was a waste of time before this game. It’s a waste of time after this game.

“This is Big Game week. We’re 8-2 and just came off a seven-game win streak in the toughest conference in the nation, the most competitive conference in the nation. We lost a great college football game to a really good football team that made some big plays. And that’s where we are.”

The Big Game would be a lot more fun if Stanford hadn’t stubbed its toe and fallen to No. 11 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, announced Tuesday. And if Cal had packed a defense for the three games that it lost after a 5-0 start.

TAKE TWO: The Giants won an unscheduled doubleheader on Tuesday.

Brandon Crawford agreed to a six-year, $75 million contract extension that will keep the shaggy-haired shortstop in the Bay Area through his peak years. The agreement covers two arbitration seasons and four years of free agency. Even better, his salary will be team-friendly in the next two years — $5.8 million in 2016, $8 million in 2017 — which provides the front office with more flexibility to wheel and deal.

The contract also stipulates that Crawford cannot get his hair cut without prior consent while the season is progress, Balls learned.

According to a published report, the Los Angeles Dodgers were not inclined to re-sign free agent Zack Greinke because of a team policy that prohibited contracts for pitchers who had reached a designated pitch limit at the major league level. The 32-year-old Greinke has thrown more than 33,000 in his career.

In that case, even if the Giants take a pass on Greinke as expected, the West Division rival Dodgers won’t have him in their rotation, either. Now the Chicago Cubs are said to be the favorites in the Greinke sweepstakes.

BIG FAN: Two days after Cal coach Sonny Dykes received a vote of confidence from his athletic director, he received an even stronger endorsement. That from Stanford counterpart Shaw himself.

“Early on, when Sonny was hired, I was excited,” Shaw said. “I was excited for Sonny. I was excited for what I knew he was going to do there. I knew if they had some patience, they would see the results. And he has done a good job. He came in with his passing attack, which we knew was going to be good. That’s what his history has been. He has done a really good job of rebuilding the defense schematically and personnel-wise. I’m exited for them that they’re in a bowl game. It’s great for the conference. It’s great for the area.It’s great for football.

“So it’s not really a surprise. I have a lot of respect for what Sonny has stood for academically and the things they have done. They’ve raised the standards of the guys who did the recruiting to the point that they want to up the graduation rate. They’ve done that and are working towards that. I have a lot of respect for that as well.”

So why haven’t school officials reacted with the same enthusiasm? While the program has taken a right turn under Dykes this season, he hasn’t been offered a contract extension past the 2017 season. His $2 million salary is the lowest in the Pac-12, slightly below that of Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, who has a 2-23 conference record in three-plus seasons in Boulder.

If Dykes wants to increase his leverage, then his team do something this weekend that it hasn’t done in six years. That is, beat Stanford finally.

IT’S A DONS DEAL: The Cal hoops team is off to a 2-0 start after a 85-67 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Monday, but don’t sleep on those San Francisco Dons.

USF got off to a rousing start at Memorial Gym in an 80-54 rout of Rice, the team that Cal smoked by 32 points a week earlier. Kevin Watson paced a balanced attack with a dozen points, while Dont’e Reynolds was a one-man show at the other end with three steals and a blocked shot.

THE LIST: What do Major League Baseball and NCAA football have in common? Not much except this: Both take forever to play. The average times of regulation college football games in the last five seasons:

2011 — three hours, 14 minutes

2012 — three hours, 17 minutes

2013 — three hours, 19 minutes

2014 — three hours, 22 minutes

2015 — three hours, 20 minutes (projected)

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