Category: Cal Golden Bears

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 14:  The sails of the Sydney Opera House are illuminated in the colours of the French flag on November 14, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. At least 120 people have been killed and over 200 are injured in Paris following a series of terrorist acts in the French capital on Friday.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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Cal, Hawaii officially announce 2016 game Down Under

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In September it was reported that a 2016 Cal-Hawaii game in Australia was a “strong likelihood.”  Two months later, that strong likelihood has come to fruition.

Earlier Saturday, both Cal and Hawaii sent out releases confirming that the two football programs will square off in 2016 in Sydney.  The game, which will be called the Sydney College Football Cup, will be played at the 83,500-seat ANZ Stadium in New South Wales that was built for the 2000 Summer Olympics.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience for our student-athletes and an excellent opportunity to see and learn about another culture,” Cal head coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “We are proud to represent the University of California at this historic event. A great deal of hard work by many people has gone into making this a reality, and everyone associated with Cal Athletics is excited to take part in it.

“It is a great day for college football and all the fans of our sport. It shows the popularity college football is gaining, and we’re ready to help further introduce the sport to many more fans.”

This contest will be the first college football game to ever be played in Sydney and the first in Australia since games in Melbourne — Wyoming-UTEP in 1985 and BYU-Colorado State in 1987.

Cal has previously played outside of the United States just once, in Japan in 1987 against Washington State. This will mark UH’s first-ever game outside the country.

“The University of Hawai‘i is thrilled for this wonderful opportunity to open the 2016 college football season in Sydney against the University of California, Berkeley,” UH athletic director David Matlin said in his statement. “Our football program has tremendous pride in not only representing the state of Hawai‘i, but all of the Pacific region. From a cultural perspective, this game will afford our student-athletes an experience they will always remember and give most of them the chance to travel outside the United States for the first time in their lives. Traditionally, the University of Hawai‘i has been fortunate to welcome many student-athletes from Australia and we hope this game opens doors for many more.”

Win over Grambling approved, Cal officially becomes bowl eligible

Jared Goff
Associated Press
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Earlier today we had the report that Cal, they of the normally bowl-eligible six wins on the season, were not actually bowl eligible. The hang up was due to some NCAA red tape on how many scholarships Grambling, a 73-14 victim to the Bears on opening Saturday, had actually awarded this year.

Why the number of scholarships awarded by an opponent of a 6-5 team could determine what glorified exhibition said 6-5 could or could not play is a matter for another time, but the fact is it mattered.

But according to a report from Kevin Gemmell of, the Bears received approval to count the win toward their total, meaning Sonny Dykes and company will go bowling for the first time since 2011.

“We have conferred with both Grambling and the NCAA,” Cal spokesman Wes Mallette told ESPN. “As anticipated, Grambling has confirmed their football program has met the 90 percent financial aid requirement over the rolling two-year average. Therefore, Cal football’s win over Grambling counts toward bowl eligibility. Cal football is bowl eligible.”

The Bears have a chance to become bowl eligible the old fashioned way with a win over Arizona State Saturday in Berkeley.


Bowl-eligible Cal might need another win to actually become bowl-eligible

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Sonny Dykes of the California Golden Bears reacts on the sidelines during the second half of the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Golden Bears 49-45.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Following a Week 10 win over Oregon State, Cal won its sixth game of the season and became bowl-eligible… or did they?

Cal opened the 2015 season against FCS Grambling State, a win that is supposed to count toward the six needed for bowl eligibility. According to USA Today, however, a scholarship issue on Grambling’s side could lead to the win not counting for Cal’s bowl eligibility.

More to the point, Cal has already requested a waiver from the NCAA that would allow for the win to count toward bowl eligibility regardless of the scholarship accounting that’s currently ongoing. From Steve Berkowitz‘s USA Today report:

Grambling is a Football Championship Subdivision School, and Cal athletics spokesman Wes Mallette told USA TODAY Sports that the request was made because Grambling officials are trying to determine whether the school has awarded a sufficient amount of financial aid to football players for the game to count without a waiver.

Under NCAA rules, FBS schools generally can count one win against an FCS team per season toward the six needed for bowl eligibility. However, for the game to count without a waiver, the FCS school needs to have awarded — on average — at least 90% of the 63 scholarships allowed under FCS rules during a rolling two-year period.

According to Grambling’s 2013-14 financial report to the NCAA — the most recent one available — the school awarded the equivalent of 52.55 football scholarships in 2013-14. However, that document covers only financial aid awarded by athletics department sources — not all forms of aid that can count toward the scholarship limit. In response to an inquiry from USA TODAY Sports, Grambling’s interim assistant athletic director Patricia Simmons said the school’s athletics department and financial aid office had determined the school awarded the equivalent of 56.44 football scholarships, including all countable aid, in 2014-15. That’s fractionally short of meeting the NCAA’s 90% requirement.

Should the NCAA decide that Grambling falls under the scholarship threshold and Cal’s waiver is denied, it’d mean that the 6-5 Bears would need to beat 6-5 Arizona State Saturday night in Berkeley to become bowl-eligible for the second time this season. Bowl eligibility has served as a flashpoint issue of late, with Cal’s potential postseason plight shining a harsher and much-needed light on the oversaturation of the bowl market.

This year there will be a record 40 bowl games — including the two College Football Playoff semifinals, not including the stand-alone CFP title game — that will need filled with 80 teams. Entering Week 13, and including Cal, there are 71 teams that are currently bowl-eligible. There are 14 five-win teams that could get to that six-win mark this weekend: Buffalo, East Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Old Dominion, San Jose State, South Alabama, Tulsa, Virginia Tech and Washington. There are also four 4-6 teams that could get to six wins with victories the last two weeks of the season: Georgia State, Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas.

It should be noted that South Alabama is currently 5-5 and needs a win either this weekend or the next to become bowl-eligible.

It should also be noted that there are way too damn many bowl games, and the issue of whether a 5-7 team — or teams — will get rewarded for a sub-.500 season will continue annually until the postseason market corrects itself. I’m all for more quality football, just not more football for the sake of more football. I fear, though, I’m in the minority.

UPDATED 5:05 p.m. ET: Cal received confirmation earlier today that the win over Grambling will indeed count and they are, again, bowl-eligible.

Will Jeff Tedford be a college football coach in 2016? Firms gauging interest

Jeff Tedford

With college football coaching vacancies opening up, there appears to be some interest in a former college coach currently holding a gig north of the border. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, search firms are contacting former California head coach Jeff Tedford to see if he might have any interest in returning to the college game. Tedford is currently the head coach of the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.

Tedford was a two-time coach of the year in the Pac-10. From 2002 through his final season in 2012 at cal, Tedford was 82-57 and took Cal to eight bowl games and won five. During his career Tedford coached players like Aaron Rodgers, DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. Known as a solid quarterback coach, other passers that have been coached by Tedford include Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington, David Carr, Akili Smith and Kyle Boller. All went on to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, although the level of success each had on Sundays varies.

The downfall of Tedford’s tenure in Cal was placed largely on decreasing academic success as well as diminishing results on the field. Cal’s win total decreased in the final four seasons with Tedford coaching the team. Still, his offensive philosophies translate well to the college game, and with the number of teams in need of some juice on offense, Tedford could be a good fit if he has interest in returning to the college ranks.

Cal’s leading receiver, second-leading tackler questionable for Big Game

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 11: Wide receiver Kenny Lawler #4 of the California Golden Bears catches a pass during the first quarter of his game against the Washington Huskies on October 11, 2014 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
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A season that began with a promise-filled 5-0 mark has abruptly devolved into one that’s seen Cal lose four of its last five.  On the cusp of what’s literally a Big Game, the Bears are a wounded bunch heading to The Farm.

Two of the most productive playmakers on each side of the ball, wide receiver Kenny Lawler and safety Damariay Drew, are questionable for Saturday’s game against rival Stanford.  Lawler’s week has literally been a pain in the ass as he’s dealing with what’s officially being described as “bruised buttocks.”  Drew suffered a knee injury in last week’s win over Oregon State.

Lawler’s backside issue first surfaced in a Week 10 loss to Oregon, but he started the OSU game a week later. “He’s sore… [but] he’s moved around better each day this week,” head coach Sonny Dykes said.

Lawler currently leads the Bears in receptions (46) and receiving touchdowns (10), and is second in receiving yards (562).  Drew is Cal’s leading tackler.

In addition to Drew and Lawler, Daniel Lasco, who’s struggled to stay healthy all season, is also questionable with an ankle injury.  A year after leading the Bears with 1,115 yards, Lasco has been limited to 331.