Cal Game: Facts and Factors

The Cal Bears are reeling after three straight losses, and there are rumblings that Coach Jeff Tedford is on the hot seat...

• UCLA goes on the road for a second straight week, traveling to Berkeley to take on the Golden Bears Saturday, at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson and Glenn Parker in the booth, and former UCLA linebacker Ryan Nece on the sidelines.

• The Bruins are 4-1, and ranked #25 in the AP Poll.

• The Bears are 1-4, having lost its last three games to Arizona State (27-17), USC (27-9) and Ohio State (35-28). Cal won its second game of the season against FCS Southern Utah (50-31), but lost its season opener to Nevada (31-24).

• It's Cal's fourth week in a row facing a team that received top-25 notes. Ohio State and USC were top 15, Arizona State received top-25 votes, and UCLA is ranked 25th by AP.

• This week marks the first time since 2002 that the conference has six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll. It's also only happened four times since 1989 (when the poll expanded from 20 to 25 teams). The six teams are: Oregon (#2), USC (#12), Oregon State (#14), Stanford (#18), Washington (#23) and UCLA (#25).

• It's Cal's worst start since the 2001 season, when it went 1-10, which resulted in the firing of its beleaguered coach, Tom Holmoe.

• Cal looked like it was on the right track in its performance against then-#12 Ohio State on the road a couple of weeks ago, out-playing the Buckeyes only to lose in the last few minutes on a 72-yard touchdown pass and an interception. It then played USC relatively tough on the road, which was not indicative of the score, to then lose last week in Berkeley to surprising Arizona State.

• The all-time series dates back to 1933, when the two schools played to a 0-0 tie. UCLA leads the series overall, 50-31-1, punctuated by an 18-year UCLA winning streak between 1972 and 1989. Cal then won the next five meetings and, since 1989, overall, is 13-5 against the Bruins.

• UCLA has not beaten the Bears in Berkeley since 1998. It's the longest Pac-10 road losing streak for UCLA other than to USC (last win at the Coliseum in 1997).

• That win in 1998 enabled UCLA, ranked #2 in the country at the time, to start the season 6-0, and it was the Bruins' 16th-straight win. The 1998 squad ended the season 10-2, finishing first in the Pac-10 and ranked 8th in the nation.

• Last season UCLA won the game against Cal at the Rose Bowl, 31-14, with Tevin McDonald picking off three passes and Datone Jones getting two sacks.

• Before last week's loss to Arizona State, Cal had beaten the Sun Devils four straight times and had not lost to ASU at home since 1997.

• Cal is coached by Jeff Tedford, in his 11th season in Berkeley, the second-longest tenure of any conference coach (Oregon State's Mike Riley is in his 12th season). Tedford is 80-52 at Cal, which makes him Cal's all-time winningest coach. Since he's been the head coach at Cal, the program is tied for third among conference teams in victories in that period. He's 6-4 against UCLA, and 5-0 at home. When Tedford took over the Cal program it was in dismal shape, having not had a winning season in 8 years. In its three previous seasons before Tedford took over, Cal went 0-11, 3-8 and 1-10. In 1997, in his first season, Tedford posted a 7-5 record, and started Cal's most successful era in its football history since the early 1950s. He led the Bears to seven straight bowl games, finishing the 2004 season 10-2 and ranked 9th in the country, and 10-3 in 2006 and ranked 14th. Since the 2007 season, however, Cal has started to decline, posting records of 7-6, 9-4, 8-5, 5-7, 7-6 and now, to start the 2012 season, 1-4. The 1-4 start is Tedford's worst at Cal. The Cal faithful, now that they have had a taste of success, have higher expectations and, after the 1-4 start, there are rumblings about Tedford being on the hot seat. The Cal admin tried to assuage hot-seat talk before the season, and Tedford was actually given a contract extension to 2015 -- without a buyout. He currently makes a base salary of $2.3 million, which is the fourth highest in the league, but his buyout would approach $6.9 million. Taxpayers, though, should be at ease, since no state money is used to pay his salary or would be used for the buyout. The San Francisco Chronicle asserted that Cal's wealthy alumni are so frustrated with the football program that they would willingly cover the buyout to fire Tedford. The thought is if Tedford finishes under .500 he'll be gone. And, at this point, the prospects don't look good, having to face #25 UCLA, #18 Stanford, #23 Washington, #2 Oregon, #14 Oregon State -- while also playing Washington State and Utah on the road.

• No Cal team has recovered from a 1-4 start to play in a bowl game in Cal history. It will have to win five of its last seven games to be bowl eligible.

• Cal essentially doesn't have a bye week during the 12-game regular-season schedule, because its bye comes the week after the regular season finale.

• If UCLA wins Saturday, it would be the first time UCLA won three road games in a season since 2005. The Bruins, before 2005, routinely did at least that, winning 3 road games in 2004, 5 road games in 2002 and 3 in 2001.

• UCLA tops the Pac-12 and is fourth in the nation in turnover margin, being +14.

• UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin is in second place on UCLA's all-time career rushing list, at 3,366 career yards. He's just 365 yards behind the current career leader, Gaston Green, who has 3,731. Franklin averages 139 yards per game (which ranks him fourth in the nation), and if he continued to average that for the 12-game season he would break the single-season rushing record set by Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1995 of 1,571.

• The weather calls for a very pleasant high of 68 degrees in Berkeley Saturday, with a game-time temperature in the low-60s to high-50s.


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