The last time the Bears sat at home come bowl season, the year was 2002, with coach Tedford in his first season at the helm. Still that 2002 season was far more successful than the 2010 endured by Bears fans, as Tedford’s inaugural squad at least compiled a winning 7-5 record, simply overlooked at bowl selection time, an injustice at the time according to many analysts. In fact, 2010 marks the first time in coach Tedford’s career at Cal in which the team has lost more than they’ve won, finishing at a disappointing 5-7, good for an abysmal 8th in the Pac-10. So where did it all go wrong?On November 6th, the Bears sat at 5-4, fresh off a win against Washington State, with three games left to play. Needing only one win to lock up an even record, thus qualify as bowl eligible, the task at hand was much larger than expected upon closer review. Consecutive contests with top 10 teams (1 Oregon and 5 Stanford), the Bears hardest two games on the schedule, quickly turned a promising 5-4 into an alarming 5-6, needing a win in the season finale against Washington to break even. Continue Reading »
If the football season were a game in itself, the Golden Bears would be well into the 4th quarter, though not capable of a resounding victory at this point, still within arm’s reach of a win. After missing out on a major upset against 1 ranked Oregon over the weekend, Cal still has a chance to salvage their season, needing only 1 win to become bowl eligible, a benchmark to separate a wasted season from solid effort. At 5-5, the season has seen highs and lows, never more optimistic than the early September thumping of Colorado, a Buffaloes group that looked potentially potent until their 4th game meeting with Missouri to boot. Unfortunately for the Bears, back to back losses to Nevada and Arizona quickly tempered expectations.Perhaps the biggest issue facing the Bears this season has been maintaining a level of consistency. Taking a two point defeat to Oregon shows the talent is there to hang with the top teams in the country, though a brutal loss to Oregon State just before Halloween suggests otherwise. Looking for trends from start to finish, the Bears have played a lot better at home, running a 4-1 record in friendly confines, the one loss coming to Oregon. This is indicative of a lack of poise or maturity, though with senior quarterback Kevin Riley at the helm up until his season ending injury, it doesn’t add up. There’s no reason to expect a team with plenty of veteran leadership to be subject to so such a home vs. away discrepancy. Continue Reading »
The University of California-Berkeley has the privilege of serving as a stepping stone for many talented individuals who go on to succeed across a variety of careers, only one of which is professional athletics. Fortunately, for those who are quick with their minds and feet alike, the Golden Bears storied football program has a proud history of placing successful football players in the NFL. Taking a look across today’s football landscape, former Bears players are impacting the league at an unprecedented level, with these key contributors perhaps the best of their generation to don Yale Blue and California Gold.
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers After laying in waiting behind Brett Favre during his first three years in Green Bay, Rodgers has become the new face of the franchise while establishing himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the game of football. Rodgers posted an impressive 103.2 quarterback rating in 2009, throwing 30 touchdown passes for the first time in his career compared to only 7 interceptions, earning his first Pro Bowl selection in the process. Rodgers has managed to top the 4,000 yard plateau in both his seasons as the Packers’ starter.
- Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders While his name may be a mouthful for announcers, Asomugha’s coverage skills prove to be quite the handful for opposing receivers. Often forgotten in the Oakland shuffle, the Raiders’ cornerback is among the elite defensive players in the game, one of only a handful of true shut-down corners in the NFL, not to mention the highest paid DB in the league. Continue Reading »
Shane Vereen Named as a preseason Maxwell Award contender, given annually to the top collegiate player in the nation, Vereen enters the year with a big target on his back. This should be a change of pace for Vereen, who was used more as a change of pace back himself cemented behind the more heralded Jahvid Best on the Bears depth chart. Vereen obviously made enough of an impression after Best went down with injury to warrant nationwide acclaim as he enters his junior season. The year 2009 saw Vereen rush for 12 touchdown, falling just short of 1,000 yards (952), on 183 carries. With a full workload, the sky is the limit for the Bears uncontested starter, as he should receive well over 200 carries throughout the 2010 season.Marvin Jones Jones opens play as a candidate for one of the nation’s top honors, named to the preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list. As a sophomore, Jones tallied 43 receptions for 651 yards and 6 touchdowns, coming on strong late in the season after a relatively modest start. Entering the 6th game of the season with only 1 score in 5 contests, Jones proceeded to haul in 5 TD catches over the course of the final 7 regular season games, topping 100 yards for the first time in his career in the regular season finale against Washington. Continue Reading »
After 3 scintillating years scooting across the California Memorial Stadium hash-marks like a greased pig hell bent on finding pay-dirt, Jahvid Best could soon burst onto the national scene with a big play ability and natural NFL aptitude rivaling that of fellow former Bear DeSean Jackson. Both players have similar upside actually. While undersized for their respective positions, Jackson at wide out and Best in the backfield, they make up for small stature with top end speed and uncanny elusiveness. Best can only hope he continues to follow Jackson’s professional trajectory, already the number 1 receiving option for the pass happy Eagles, and a Pro-Bowl selection in his second year in the league. Based on early returns, similar success seems forthcoming for Best, who quickly ascended the Lions’ depth chart this preseason, aided by incumbent starter Kevin Smith’s extended absence resulting from ACL surgery. Continue Reading »
In what will hopefully soon be a familiar sight for the Cal Bear faithful, the Colorado Buffaloes were greeted with quite the rude introduction by their soon-to-be conference mates, taking a lopsided 52-7 loss in their first matchup against a Pac 10 team since agreeing to leave the Big 12 and head west this summer. While the Buffaloes are not likely to officially begin Pac 10 play until the 2012 season, at this point they can only be looking forward to realignment with tempered expectations. The Bears gave the Buffs a beating they won’t soon forget, stretching their lead to 31-0 before Tyler Hanson found the end zone on a 4 yard run to end the clean sheet. While perhaps the Bears could’ve shown a little mercy towards the unsuspecting Colorado squad, the Buffs didn’t do themselves any favors, losing 2 fumbles and 3 interceptions while mustering 0 takeaways in their own right. When the Bears D got the ball, the aggressive unit made the most of it, with Michael Mohamed returning a pick 6 for 41 yards just before half. Defensive back Darian Hagan Jr. followed suit taking back a recovered fumble 82 yards with under a minute left in the game, an unnecessary score that could breed bad blood between the two schools going forward. Continue Reading »