No. 9 Golden Bears Open 2006 Season at Tennessee on Saturday
Aug. 27, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 1: Saturday, September 2; 2:30 p.m. (PT)
Cal (0-0) vs. Tennessee (0-0)
Knoxville, Tenn.; Neyland Stadium (104,047)
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 0-0
2005 Record: 8-4
2005 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 4-4/4th
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 33-17/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 2
Series Record: 1-1
First Meeting: Sept. 10, 1977, UC, 27-17
Last Meeting: Oct. 3, 1987, UT, 38-12
at Knoxville: 1-1
Current Streak: UT W1
Tedford vs. Tennessee: 0-0
Bits on the Bears
Cal's No. 9 AP ranking is its highest preseason rank since 1952 ... Cal has not opened a season against a ranked opponent since 1979 when it defeated No. 18 Arizona State, 17-9, on the road ... the Bears had approximately 5,000 fans turn out for Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, Aug. 26 ... SI.com ranked Marshawn Lynch the top player in the Pac-10 and Brandon Mebane No. 4 ... Cal's running back combo of Lynch and Justin Forsett averaged 32 more yards-per-game than any other returning combo in the nation ... Lynch and Forsett are the only 1,000-yard rushers in the country who average more than 7.0 yards per carry ... the Golden Bears led the Pac-10 in scoring defense in 2005, allowing just 21.2 points per game ... as in the past under Jeff Tedford, Cal will select game captains this season ... the Bears have six freshman on the two-deep, including true freshman Tyson Alualu and Derrick Hill ... Tedford, now in his fifth year at Cal, ranks fourth in seniority among Pac-10 coaches ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 22 of its last 24 games ... the Bears have five different players on Watch Lists for eight different national awards ... Cals' last game in the South was Dec. 4, 2004, when it played at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss. - since the last Tennessee game in 1987, the Bears have also played at Miami (1990), at Houston (1997) and in the 1991 Citrus Bowl against Clemson.
Bears No. 9 Preseason AP Ranking is Highest Since 1952
The University of California is ranked No. 9 in the 2006 Associated Press Preseason College Football Poll. It is the highest ranking for the Golden Bears in the preseason poll since the 1952 team was ranked No. 8 in the nation. The No. 9 ranking is the third-highest overall preseason ranking for Cal behind Pappy Waldorf's 1951 and 1952 teams. The 1951 club was ranked No. 5 in the nation in the preseason. This season marks just the 10th year that Cal has held a preseason ranking from the AP, including the current stretch of three straight years. From 1955 to 2003, the Bears appeared just twice in the poll. Under head coach Jeff Tedford, California has been ranked No. 13 (2004), No. 19 (2005) and now No. 9 in AP Preseason Polls.
Cal in Preseason AP Poll
1950: No. 14
1951: No. 5
1952: No. 8
1953: No. 14
1954: No. 12
1976: No. 15
1992: No. 20
2004: No. 13
2005: No. 19
2006: No. 9
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
California was picked to finish second in the Pacific-10 Conference in a preseason poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. It is the third consecutive year that the Golden Bears have been tabbed to finish second, which is the highest that Cal has ever been picked, dating back to 1961. Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC is the favorite to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support.
Cal by the Numbers
The University of California enters its 2006 preseason football camp with 18 starters from the 2005 football season back in the fold. Included in that total are seven starters on offense and eight on defense. Cal also returns its ranking place kicker, long snapper and holder, and its top return men.
California's season-opening meeting with Tennessee will be the Golden Bears' first showdown with an SEC foe since the 1987 season when the Bears also visited Knoxville. Cal fell to the 10th-ranked Volunteers in that game, 38-12. The two schools are also scheduled to open the 2007 season against each other, as the Vols will visit Berkeley on Sept. 1, 2007.
Been Here Before
This is the Golden Bears' first trip to Neyland Stadium since the 1987 season, but it is not the first visit for everyone associated with the team. Offensive lineman Tyler Krieg, a transfer from Duke in his first year with the Bears, saw action off the bench for the Blue Devils against the Volunteers during the 2003 season. In 1977, current Cal rugby coach Jack Clark was a starting tackle for Cal in its 27-17 season-opening win over the Vols. Clark, who is scheduled to be in attendance on Sept. 2, has gone on to lead the powerhouse Golden Bear rugby team to 18 national championships in his 24 years at the helm of the program. Cal's only other meeting with Tennessee came during the 1987 season with Troy Taylor directing the Golden Bears from his QB position. Now Cal's color commentator for its radio broadcasts, Taylor still holds Cal records for career passing yardage and total offense.
California is getting plenty of attention from the preseason magazines. The Golden Bears are ranked in the Top 10 in five different football preview publications, including a No. 6 rating in Street & Smith's College Football 2006 Yearbook. In addition, seven different Cal players have been tabbed as preseason All-Americans:linebacker Desmond Bishop, cornerback Daymeion Hughes, tailback Marshawn Lynch, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Tim Mixon, tight end Craig Stevens and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Hughes is rated as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation by Phil Steele's College Football Preview and Lynch is ranked No. 2 among running backs by The Sporting News.
Cal fans and the media can keep up with all the highlights of Marshawn Lynch's junior season by visiting www.Marshawn10.com. The star tailback is a top candidate for numerous awards, including the 2006 Heisman Trophy. The website features highlight video from his first two seasons in Berkeley and will include highlights from each game of the 2006 campaign as the season progresses. Statistics, a complete bio and other information will offer fans and media the opportunity to get to know the running back. In addition, his honors and records and a list of quotes from college football experts, coaches and players from around the nation are available for perusal.
Tedford vs. The Top
Cal's opening game against Tennessee will mark the 12th AP Top 25 foe the Golden Bears have faced since the arrival of head coach Jeff Tedford for the 2002 campaign. In Tedford's first 11 meetings with ranked teams, Cal has posted a 5-6 record - however, in nine of those 11 games, Cal was either unranked or ranked below its top-25 opponent. It is also worth noting that three of those five wins over ranked foes have come on the road.
California finished the 2005 season ranked No. 25 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today football polls. It marked the first time since the 1950 and 1951 seasons that Cal had finished a season ranked in the national polls in consecutive years. The Bears were No. 9 in 2004.
Finishing in a Rush
As Marshawn Lynch became healthier in 2005, his productivity took off. Over the final four regular-season contests and the bowl game in Las Vegas, Lynch rushed for an average of 150.6 yards (753 yards over five games). His only game under 100 yards during that period came against top-ranked USC when the sophomore carried the ball just 13 times but still reached 87 yards.
The Bears have won 26 games over the past three seasons (26-12). It is the most victories by California over a three-year period since the 1949-1950-1951 teams combined to win 27 games. Nationally, Cal's 18 wins over the last two years rank 13th, and the 26 wins during the three-year period is No. 18 in the country.
In the four years under Jeff Tedford, the Golden Bears have averaged 34.4 points per game, by far the most in any four-year stretch in school history. In fact, Tedford-coached teams own four of the top five slots in single-season scoring in the modern era of football in Berkeley.
In Cal's football history, the Golden Bears have posted a 68-41-4 record in season-openers. Jeff Tedford has recorded a 3-1 mark in lid-lifters putting him 'just' six straight wins from matching Leonard 'Stub' Allison, who was far-and-away the most successful Cal coach in season-opening contests. During his 10-year tenure in Berkeley, Allison posted a 9-1 mark in contests that christened the season. Currently Cal is on a stretch of winning eight of its last 10 opening games.
Opening on the Road
This season will mark just the 29th time in California football history that the Bears have opened a season on the road. In the first 28 season-openers away from home, Cal has recorded a 12-16 mark. One of those wins came in the 1977 season-opener, a 27-17 victory over Tennessee. This will be the third time Tedford-coached Bears have opened on the road - in 2004, the Bears rolled to a 56-14 win at Air Force, but in 2003, Cal fell 42-28 to No. 7 ranked Kansas State.
Cal Players on Preseason Watch Lists
Bednarik Award (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Butkus Award (Top Linebacker): Desmond Bishop
Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End): Nu'u Tafisi
Lott Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Maxwell Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
Nagurski Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Outland Trophy (Top Lineman): Brandon Mebane
Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
California will return the nation's most productive running back tandem in Marshawn Lynch (1,246 yards in 2005) and Justin Forsett (999 yards). Lynch ended the 2005 season seventh in the NCAA rushing stats and Forsett was No. 50. The 2,245 combined yards by the Bear pair is 385 yards more than their closest competition returning from last year (Rutgers' top two running backs had 1,860 rushing yards last season).
Golden Bear Opening-Day Heroes
Many of the hallowed names of Cal football history appear among the school's all-time Top 10 performances in season openers. While All-Americans like Chuck Muncie, Joe Kapp, Sean Dawkins and Steve Bartkowski seized center stage in game ones, the ultimate efforts came from three others. Tarik Smith enjoyed the greatest opening-day rushing game in Cal history in 1996, when he shredded San Jose State's defense for 183 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. Rich Campbell set school single-game records for completions and passing yards when he threaded 43-of-53 for 421 yards and one TD in a 41-13 loss at Florida in the 1980 opener. Twenty-six years later, the 43 completions remain the Cal mark while the 421 yards still rank third in school annals. And Bobby Shaw christened his senior season with an unworldly 204 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches in Cal's 1997 debut win (35-3) at Houston.
More TV Time
In addition to the Tennessee game, Minnesota (TBS), Portland State (Comcast SportsNet), Oregon (ABC), UCLA (ABC), USC (ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) will be televised. The remainder of the games could all be televised, as well, but full broadcast schedules have not been determined.
California's 2006 schedule will include five games against teams coming off of bowl appearances. The home opener is against Minnesota, which hasparticipated in a school-record four consecutive bowl games. Cal, incidentally, is 3-0 vs. the Big Ten under Jeff Tedford with a win at Michigan State and pair of victories against Illinois. Along with Minnesota, Cal will face the Pac-10's 2005 bowl reps in Arizona State, USC, UCLA and Oregon. Tennessee did not appear in a bowl in 2005, but the Vols lost four of their six games to teams that finished among the nation's top dozen.
The 'All' Guys
California returns five players off of last year's All-Pac-10 squad. Returning first-teamers include cornerback Daymeion Hughes and defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. Second-team all-league choices that are back in the fold include linebacker Desmond Bishop, special teams standout Byron Storer and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Storer was also a second-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection.
Scoring Is Up...
California averaged 32.9 points per game during the 2005 season - the fourth-highest scoring average ever at Cal. In fact, of the top five scoring teams in Golden Bears history, four have been coached by Jeff Tedford. Each of Tedford's Cal teams have averaged at least 32 points per game.
...So Are Tickets
Since the arrival of Jeff Tedford, California's season ticket count has been on a steady climb. The Bears sold 16,200 tickets in 2002, Tedford's first year. His second season resulted in sales of 22,500. In 2004, the number again jumped substantially, up to a then-school-record 34,100. In 2005, California set another mark with 40,134 season tickets sold.
California enters 2006 with an excellent chance of recording its fifth consecutive winning season. That note is significant because Cal has not strung together five straight seasons over the .500 mark since 1948 through 1952. From 1967 through 1971, the Bears did not have a losing season, but two of those records were exactly .500 (5-5).
Mebane in the Middle
California's defense is anchored by one of the best defenders in the country. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, a first-team All-Pac-10 performer a year ago, is back to provide headaches for opposing offensive fronts. Despite facing constant double- and, at times, triple-teams, Mebane led the Bears last season with seven sacks. The extremely active defensive tackle figures to be a candidate for national honors.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC has been picked to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
1. USC (18) - 276
2. California (7) - 247
3. Oregon (3) - 229
4. Arizona State (1) - 204
5. UCLA - 145
6. Arizona - 133
7. Oregon State - 125
8. Washington State - 96
9. Stanford - 90
10. Washington - 50
POLL NOTES: Preseason media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 23 of 45 times and has been very accurate of late in correctly identifying the Conference champ the last six years in a row and six of the last seven. While USC was a unanimous pick to win the Pac-10 the last two seasons, this year's poll with four team registering first-place votes is more typical. Prior to the last two years of unanimous support for the Trojans, at least four team received first-place votes in four of the previous five years.
Cal Preseason All-Americans (first team unless noted)
Desmond Bishop - Street & Smith's
Daymeion Hughes - Blue Ribbon Defense, Playboy Magazine, Rivals.com, Phil Steele's, Lindy's Football Annual (second team), The Sporting News (second team), Street & Smith's (second team)
Marshawn Lynch - Lindy's Football Annual, Rivals.com, The Sporting News,Street & Smith's, Athlon Sports (second team), Phil Steele's (second team)
Brandon Mebane - Athlon Sports, Lindy's Football Annual, The Sporting News, Rivals.com (second team), Street & Smith's (third team), Phil Steele's (fourth team)
Tim Mixon - Street & Smith's (second team)
Craig Stevens - Street & Smith's (hon. mention)
Nu'u Tafisi - Street & Smith's (second team)