Realistic Expectations for the Bears

Naturally, when a team wins one game they want to win another. Fans become accustomed to the wins and expect winning ways to continue. The California Golden Bears have gone to five straight bowls and have a 4-1 record in those games under Head Coach Jeff Tedford. Should fans expect a bowl appearance year in and year out?

Every university should want to be successful in the classroom and in athletics as well. California has a great academic reputation. Where should the bar be placed for the football program?

When a team starts to win, they begin to enjoy what victory feels like. The Bears went to four total bowl games in the 1990s. The first bowl game in that decade was a 17-15 victory over Wyoming in the 1990 Copper Bowl. The last bowl game of the 90s was a 42-38 loss to Navy in 1996 Aloha Bowl. In between, Cal knocked off Clemson, 37-13, on New Years Day of 1992 in the Florida Citrus Bowl and blew out Iowa, 37-3, in the 1993 Alamo Bowl.

Before 1990, the last post-season game for the Bears was the 1979 Garden State Bowl versus Temple, which the Bears lost 28-17. In fact, from1959 to 1990, the 1979 Garden State Bowl was the only bowl game Cal was invited to play in. During that stretch, a bowl invitation was appreciated. Are Bear fans today content with an invitation to any bowl or do they have their eyes set on a particular game at the end of the year?

The Holiday Bowl has traditionally been a very good postseason game. Cal lost to Texas Tech 45-31 in that game in 2004. However, that loss could have been attributed to the fact the Bears were snubbed by the Bowl Championship Series for Texas. In short, Cal deserved to play in the BCS and had to settle for the Holiday Bowl.

After a 35-28 win over BYU in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl, the Bears returned to the Holiday Bowl in 2006. They defeated Texas A&M 45-10. Usually, an appearance in the Holiday Bowl means the Bears finished second or third in the Pac-10. But in 2006, Cal shared the Pac-10 title. Is the average Golden Bear fan grateful to go to San Diego or do they occasionally want another bowl game?

In 2004, Cal warranted an invite to the Rose Bowl. The Bears automatically qualify for a BCS game if they win the Pac-10 conference title outright or finish in the top five in the final BCS standings of the regular season. Is a BCS appearance the next step for the Bears?

Over the last five plus years, the Bears have built a lot of national respect. If the Bears make it to a BCS game, people will not be shocked. Most people that follow college football would be able to lean back in their chairs and say they saw it coming.

Some have the opinion that Cal should be a definite top 25 team every year.

Last season, 9-4 Oregon State finished No. 25 in the final AP poll. Cal finished 7-6 and unranked after starting the season 5-0. Coincidently, the Beavers upset the 5-0 No. 2 Bears in a week where a Cal win would have put the Bears atop both major polls. Based off last seasons final AP poll is it far fetched to believe that year in and year out the Bears should be a better team than the Beavers? Is a random Pac-10 bowl game enough to appease Bear fans? On the other hand, will it take a Rose Bowl/BCS game to do so?

What are your expectations for Cal?

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