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Notre Dame and Cal to play for first time since 1967

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Notre Dame and Cal have agreed to a future game to be played in South Bend, Indiana. Cal announced their future road trip on Monday. Notre Dame will host Cal on Sept. 17, 2022.

“We are looking forward to visiting Notre Dame, and I know that many of our fans will, too,” Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said in a released statement. “Notre Dame Stadium is an iconic venue, and this game provides another opportunity for our alumni to support their Bears on the road. We saw a great turnout for our game at Ole Miss this past season and again at the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara. I expect we’ll have another large contingent follow us to Notre Dame for this exciting contest.”

This is a one-game agreement rather than a home-and-home arrangement, but it was one Cal was more than happy to make. For Cal, the Golden Bears get a chance to play an opponent other Pac-12 schools have regularly played. Notre Dame plays annual games against Stanford and USC. It is also a good non-conference matchup against a program weighed as a power conference opponent. Although Pac-12 schools are not required to play another FBS opponent in non-conference play (ACC, Big Ten, and SEC scheduling policies ask members to schedule at least one non-conference game each year against another power conference opponent), the addition of the Fighting Irish is a clear upgrade on the schedule for Cal.

Cal will also play a road game at North Texas in 2022. Cal will host UC Davis and UNLV in non-conference matchups as well. Cal’s game with Notre Dame will sit in the middle of two upcoming home-and-home series with TCU (2020-2021) and Auburn (2023-2024).

Notre Dame still has two vacancies in the 2022 schedule as it currently stands. The Irish will also host Ohio State, Marshall, Stanford, Clemson, and Boston College in 2022. Notre Dame has road games scheduled against Navy, USC, North Carolina and Syracuse in 2022.

Notre Dame and Cal have played just five previous times. The most recent meeting in the series was played in 1967. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 4-0.

Cal loses assistant Gerald Alexander to NFL job

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Cal assistant coach Gerald Alexander is leaving to coach with the Miami Dolphins. Alexander confirmed in a message posted on his Twitter account he is heading to the NFL for a coaching opportunity. Multiple reports have confirmed it will be with the Miami Dolphins.

Alexander thanked Cal head coach Justin Wilcox for the opportunity to be a part of Wilcox’s first coaching staff at Cal.

Alexander joined the Cal program in 2017 and spent the past three seasons as a defensive backs coach for the program. He has played a role in helping to coach one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12. He previously coached at Montana State, Indiana State and with Chris Peterssen at Washington. Alexander played for Petersen at Boise State.

This will mark a return to the NFL for Alexander. He previously played in the league for five seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and, appropriately enough, the Miami Dolphins. Alexander was a second-round draft pick of Detroit in 2007.

LSU, two B1G schools will have most players on Super Bowl rosters

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The LSU Tigers football program represented the sport well in winning the 2019 national championship, and now they’re set to be well-represented when the next level crowns its Super Bowl champion as well.

Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs again overcame an early deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. In the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers pummeled the Green Bay Packers to earn a berth opposite the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. That game will be played at the home of the Miami Hurricanes, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Feb. 2.

The 49ers, seeking their first Super Bowl win since 1994, have four former LSU football players currently listed on their official online roster*. The Chiefs, in search of their first title since 1969, have one former LSU football player on their Super Bowl roster. That total of five is tied for the most for a single school in this year’s game.

The number for LSU is matched by a pair of schools from the Big Ten — Iowa and Penn State — for the most players on Super Bowl rosters this year. Three former Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes play for the 49ers, two for the Chiefs.

Two SEC schools, Florida and Vanderbilt, each have four former players as part of the game, as does Stanford. Middle Tennessee State and San Diego State are two of a gaggle of schools with three players on teams playing in the game, which is the most of any Group of Five conference member.

Conference-wise, it was the SEC leading the way (again) with 32 players, followed by the Big Ten’s 22. The ACC (17), Pac-12 (16), Big 12 (12) and Conference USA (11) were the only other FBS leagues in double digits.

As for the other conferences?

  • Mountain West, nine
  • AAC, six
  • MAC, five
  • Sun Belt, four

Football independents accounted for six players. There were a total of 21 players who played at levels of football other than the FBS.

Below are all of the individual schools that will be represented on Super Sunday:

FIVE
Iowa
LSU
Penn State

FOUR
Florida
Stanford
Vanderbilt

THREE
Arizona
Auburn
Clemson
Kansas State
Middle Tennessee State
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Pittsburgh
San Diego State
South Carolina

TWO
Alabama
BYU
Central Michigan
Duke
FAU
Florida State
Georgia Southern
Michigan
Michigan State
NC State
Ole Miss
Oregon
Purdue
Southern Miss
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
USF
Utah
Virginia

ONE
Air Force
Alabama A&M
Appalachian State
Arizona State
Arkansas
Baylor
Boston College
Bowling Green State
Buffalo
Cal
Cincinnati
Colorado
Colorado State
Colorado State-Pueblo
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Michigan
Eastern Washington
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Grand Valley State
Harvard
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
James Madison
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana
McGill (Canada)
Minnesota
Montana State
New Hampshire
New Mexico State
North Texas
Northern Illinois
Northern Iowa
Oklahoma State
Old Dominion
Oregon State
Princeton
Samford
San Diego
San Jose State
SMU
South Carolina State
TCU
Temple
Texas Tech
UConn
Utah State
Valdosta State
Villanova
Virginia Tech
Wagner
Washington
West Alabama
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wyoming

(*Includes players on injured reserve, practice squad, etc.)

Cal Bears add Cal Poly RBs coach to replace assistant who left for Cal Poly

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Cal Bears football became the latest program to show that the college coaching cycle is one big circle of life.

Last month, Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin left to become the head coach at Cal Poly.  Cal running backs coach Nick Edwards then left his post to take over as Baldwin’s offensive coordinator at Cal Poly.

Tuesday, Cal announced that Justin Wilcox has hired Aristotle Thompson would replace Edwards as running backs coach.  Thompson’s last job?  As the running backs coach at Cal Poly.

“I know first-hand the type of coach and person Aristotle is,” the Cal Bears football head coach said. “He joins our program after spending more than a decade coaching and teaching at a strong academic institution like Cal Poly, and understanding that type of strong academic environment is important. He also has a long track record of developing running backs, and he is well-known and well-liked in recruiting circles, particularly on the West Coast.”

Thompson spent the past 11 seasons at the FCS school.  This will mark the 41-year-old’s first on-field job at the FBS level.

“I am excited to become part of a tremendous coaching staff at Cal,” Thompson said. “This is a program that has established a great culture over the last three years and I’ll do everything I can to contribute to it.”

Bill Musgrave takes over as OC/QBs coach at Cal

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The college hiring season is in full swing, with Bill Musgrave now in officially in place at Cal.

Last month, Beau Baldwin left Cal after three seasons to take the head job at FCS Cal Poly.  A month later, it’s been confirmed by the program that Bill Musgrave has been hired by Justin Wilcox as the new offensive coordinator at Cal.

Musgraves will also be responsible for the Golden Bears’ quarterbacks.

“Bill Musgrave has a brilliant offensive mind and is one of top teachers of offensive football and quarterbacks,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Bill has incredible football knowledge and has been extremely versatile in the offensive systems he has run throughout his career, which is important. He also has a strong desire to coach again at the collegiate level, where he can help develop young football players at a formative stage of their careers. His competitiveness and humility stood out during the hiring process. Everyone that I talked to about Bill that I know and trust had tremendous things to say. He will be a great fit at Cal.”

Musgrave, who played his college football at Oregon, has spent the vast majority of his 20-year-plus coaching career in the NFL.  His last job at the collegiate level?  as the coordinator/quarterbacks/tight ends coach at Virginia in 2001-02.  In fact, that is Musgrave’s only coaching job in college football.

Musgrave has served as the coordinator at five different NFL stops — Denver (2018), Oakland (2015-16), Minnesota (2011-13), Jacksonville (2003-04) and Carolina (2000).

This past season, Musgrave was on the sidelines at both levels of football.

“I am thrilled to join a Cal program that has exciting days ahead,” Musgrave said. “I want to continue building upon what has already been started, which on the offensive side of the ball is a young group that showed tremendous progress last season and was playing its best football at the end of the year. Coach Wilcox and his staff have done a tremendous job of creating an outstanding culture and environment that is focused on teaching football, and one of the most enjoyable and satisfying parts of this job is to be able to play a key role in the development of young players. There is a tremendous opportunity to do that right now at Cal, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Baldwin joined Wilcox in Berkeley in January of 2017 as the Golden Bears’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach, while also carrying the title of assistant head coach.  In January of last year, he moved from running backs to quarterbacks as Wilcox looked to shake up the worst offense in the Pac-12.

The shuffling didn’t help much as the Bears were again dead-last in the conference in scoring at 21.2 points per game (they were at 21.5 ppg a year ago).  Their yards per game dipped from 344 a year ago to 328.5 in 2019.  They are last in the league in that category as well.