Cal Golden Bears

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 21: Marshawn Lynch #10 of the California Golden Bears celebrates by driving a golf cart on the field after an interception by Desomond Bishop secured the 31-24 victory in overtime against the Washington Huskies on October 21, 2006 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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Cal to give away bobblehead of Marshawn Lynch celebrating on injury cart

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This is real, and it’s spectacular.

In 2006, Marshawn Lynch continued creating the legend that would ultimately morph into “Beast Mode” when, following an overtime win over Washington in which his 22-yard touchdown run proved to be the game-winner, the then-Cal running back decided the best way to commemorate the victory was by commandeering an injury cart and driving it around the Memorial Stadium turf.  Lynch’s “Ghost Ride the Whip” became legendary in the Bay Area…

… and now it’s being commemorated by the Golden Bears in bobblehead form:

That bobblehead will be handed out at the Nov. 5 game against Washington as Cal celebrates the 10th anniversary of the win. And, suffice to say, I want one. Badly.

Former Cal, Ohio State football players qualify for Olympics

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 26:  Nate Ebner #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes forces a fumble on Arrelious Benn #9 of the Illinois Fighting Illini at Ohio Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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A current college football player, Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen, has qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  As it turns out, Allen’s not the only college football connection to the games.

Former Cal running back Jahvid Best will represent the island country of Saint Lucia in the Rio Olympics in the 100-meter dash.  Best, whose father was born in that country, was forced to give up football five years ago because of a head injury and subsequently poured his athletic efforts into track.

“This is a huge accomplishment for me, but at the same time this is just the beginning,” Best said according to the Olympic arm of over the weekend. “I have only been in this sport for two years professionally, and plan on being around for a long time.”

It’s believed that Best is the first former NFL player to compete in the Summer Games — Herschel Walker competed in the 1992 Winter Games. “About 40 NFL players have competed in the Olympics, but almost all of them have done so before playing their first regular-season game,” one of our sister sites wrote.  Or, in one case, in between playing regular-season games.

Former Ohio State walk-on Nate Ebner was named to the USA Men’s Seven Rugby team Monday and will compete in this Olympiad. As he’s a special teams standout with the New England Patriots, he’s the only current NFL player to qualify for the Olympics.

Ebner has a chance to become just the third man in history to win both a Super Bowl championship and an Olympic medal, joining Bob Hayes (Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, two-time gold medalist in sprints at the 1964 Games) and Michael Carter (San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle on three title teams, silver medalist in the shot put at the 1984 games).  He would also become the first individual to medal in the Olympics, win a Super Bowl and win a Rose Bowl.

Ex-Cal coach added to Chris Petersen’s Washington staff as consultant

Jeff Tedford
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In December of last year, Jeff Tedford stepped down as the head coach of a Canadian Football League team “in order to pursue other opportunities in college football.” Four months later, a report surfaced that an opportunity may be in the offing back in the Pac-12.

Three months after that, Chris Petersen has made Tedford’s return to the conference official.

The Washington head coach confirmed that Tedford has been added to his UW football staff.  Tedford won’t fill on on-field role; rather, he’ll officially be designated as a consultant to the football program, and, in addition to not being allowed to coach, he won’t be permitted to recruit.

Petersen and Tedford have a relationship that extends back to the nineties when both were assistants at Oregon.

“It’s great,” Petersen said of Tedford’s addition according to the Seattle Times. “He’s a guy I’ve known for a long time. Obviously a very good football mind, and a very good person. …

“He’s done the NFL a little bit and he’s done the Canadian League, and I think he’s come to the realization that he wants to be a college coach.”

Tedford has spent his entire collegiate coaching career west of the Rocky Mountains, most notably as the head coach at Cal from 2002-12 prior to his firing.  Before to that, he was an assistant at Oregon (1998-2001) and his alma mater Fresno State (1992-97).  His only coaching experience in another part of the country came as the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, but that short stint was marred by a health issue that actually kept him from performing his duties during that one season with the NFL club.

Cal loses veteran safety Griffin Piatt to medical retirement

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Griffin Piatt #26 of the California Golden Bears walks out to the field for their game against the USC Trojans at California Memorial Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Continuing his collegiate career simply wasn’t meant to be for Griffin Piatt.

In 2013, Piatt tore an ACL during spring practice and did not play at all that season.  In a Week 7 loss to Washington the following year, the safety tore the ACL in the same knee.

While he was relatively injury-free this past season, he underwent another surgery earlier this offseason on the same knee yet again.  The issue simply didn’t improve enough for Piatt, who has opted to take a medical retirement and move on from the sport.

The defensive back will remain on scholarship at Cal.

“Griffin kind of got to the point where he just felt like he had to move on,” Bears head coach Sonny Dykes said at the Pac-12 Media Days. “It’s a big loss for us. Griffin is a really good football player and a guy that has meant a lot to our program, just incredibly mature. …

“The injury just wasn’t responding the way he wanted it to. He was having some issues, so medically just didn’t feel like he was going to be fit to play.”

Despite missing half the 2014 season, Piatt led the Bears with three interceptions.  He played in seven games in 2015, starting one of those contests.

2015 finalists Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey part of Walker Award watch list

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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With 2015 winner Derrick Henry of Alabama off to the NFL, there will be a new winner of the Doak Walker Award in 2016.  Based on the projected performances of a couple of other finalists from a year ago, this year’s winner could very well come from the group below.

Thursday, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced a watch list that contains a whopping 76 players.  The Walker Award has ben handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of former SMU great Doak Walker.

Two finalists for last year’s award have made the cut this preseason — LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

The SEC led all conferences with 13 watch listers, followed by the Big 12 (9), Big 12 (9), Pac-12 (9), ACC (8), Mountain West (6), Sun Belt (6), MAC (5), Conference USA (4) and AAC (3).  There were also four from independents (BYU, Notre Dame).

Those two independents were two of the 13 schools with two running backs listed, the others being Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

Below is the complete 2016 Doak Walker Award preseason watch list:

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