California Takes Eight-Game Winning Streak and No. 8 Ranking to Arizona
Nov. 6, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 10: Saturday, November 11; 12:30 p.m. (PT)
No. 8 Cal (8-1, 6-0) vs. Arizona (4-5, 2-4)
Tucson, Ariz. - Arizona Stadium
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 8-1 (6-0)
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: 41-18/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 25
Series Record: Cal leads, 12-11-2
First Meeting: 10/14/78, Win, 33-20
Last Meeting: 10/1/05, Win, 28-0
at Tucson: 7-5
Current Streak: Win 3
Tedford vs. Arizona: 3-1
California has climbed to No. 8 in the AP poll, its highest ranking of the year, as the Golden Bears are currently in the midst of an eight-game winning streak. Cal returned from its bye week to defeat UCLA, 38-24, on Saturday and how the Bears travel to Arizona to face the WIldcats, who have heated up, winning two of their last three games. The game will be televised regionally by ESPN on ABC.
California received stellar performance from its star playmakers in all three phases of the game to overwhelm UCLA, 38-24, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. as the Golden Bears upended UCLA, 38-24. Marshawn Lynch had a 24-yard receiving touchdown and a four-yard rushing TD. DeSean Jackson registered a 72-yard punt return touchdown (school and Pac-10 record fourth of his career). Nate Longshore completed 20-of-24 passes for 266 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. Daymeion Hughes snagged his nation-leading eighth interception of the season to go with three pass break-ups and 10 tackles. Desmond Bishop recorded eight more tackles and another interception. Andrew Larson had just one punt, but it was downed at the 11. Robert Jordan tallied a pair of receiving TDs, including a season-best 44-yarder. Longshore hooked up with Jordan to open the scoring in the first quarter, then found Lynch in the second quarter and Jordan in the third to lift the Bears to a 21-10 advantage. Jackson put the game out of reach in the third quarter, receiving a punishing block from Thomas DeCoud and dashing up the sideline for his third punt return TD of the year. Down the stretch, Cal turned to Lynch and Justin Forsett to grind out the game on the ground and Tom Schneider wrapped up the scoring with a late 40-yard field goal.
Bits on the Bears
Cal now has five eight-game winning streaks against collegiate opponents in history ... this year marks the first time since 1949 that Cal has opened 6-0 in conference play ... Daymeion Hughes is tied for the national lead with eight interceptions while Cal as a team is also tied for first in the nation with 20 interceptions this year ... the Golden Bears lead the Pac-10 in turnover margin at +11 ... Marshawn Lynch leads the Pac-10 and is tied for seventh in the nation with 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving); he needs just 12 rushing yards for 1,000 this season ... DeSean Jackson ranks third in the nation in punt return average and is tied for the national lead with three punt-return touchdowns ... in Pac-10 action, Nate Longshore has completed 112-of-174 (64.4%) passes for 1,533 yards and 14 touchdowns ... Desmond Bishop ranks third in the Pac-10 with 9.2 tackles per game ... despite missing the entire second halves of the Oregon and Portland State games due to injury, Lynch still leads the Pac-10 in rushing ... Lynch has 33 touchdowns in 31 career games and Jackson has 19 touchdowns in 20 career games ... the Golden Bear offensive line has allowed just seven sacks in the last eight games ... Cal has had 22 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 39 of 59 games under Tedford, meanwhile, its opponents have had just 15 games with 100-yard rushers ... Cal has two sellouts in a season for the first time in over 50 years - the Bears have been over 50,000 fans for 17 straight home games ... Cal's trio of tailbacks has combined for 22 100-yard rushing days in their careers ... Cal lost its season opener each of the last two years it won the conference championship (1958 and 1975).
A Look at the Wildcats
After struggling to start the season, Arizona has settled down behind a strong defense to win two of its last three games, including a road upset of No. 25 Washington State on Saturday. The Wildcats rank fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (19.7) and total defense (309.3). Offensively, Arizona is averaging just 13.8 points per game, however, they tallied 27 points against WSU. Quarterback Willie Tuitama returned to the lineup this past weekend after missing two games due to a concussion. Tuitama was an honorable mention freshman All-America last year. The running game is led by junior Chris Henry (6-0, 215) and juco-transfer Chris Jennings (5-10, 220). Senior Syndric Steptoe has a team-best 43 catches for 458 yards. On the defensive side of the field, junior linebacker Spencer Larsen has a team-best 65 tackles (eighth in the Pac-10). Cornerback Antoine Cason has 50 tackles and a pair of interceptions. The Wildcat defense has shown a 100-yard improvement over last year, holding foes to 105.8 yards on the ground after allowing 183.7 last year. The Wildcats have just 11 seniors on their two-deep, with just two listed as starters.
Mighty Marshawn - 12 for 1,000
Marshawn Lynch needs just 12 rushing yards to hit 1,000 for the second time (only Russell White has multiple 1,000-yard seasons at Cal). The running back is averaging a Pac-10 best 109.8 yards per game (11th in the nation), but more impressive are his scoring stats. The junior leads the Pac-10 with 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving), including six touchdowns in his last three games. On Saturday, against UCLA, he had a 24-yard reception for a second-quarter score and a four-yard rushing TD in the fourth quarter. Lynch's most impressive performance of the year may have come on Oct. 21 against Washington, when he took over the game in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Oakland product had 102 second-half rushing yards against the Huskies. In the final 6:50 of regulation and overtime, Lynch rushed for 38 yards and two touchdowns while catching two passes for 32 yards to lead the Bears to the victory. Lynch has six 100-yard games this year and 15 in his career, tying a Bear record. Despite missing the second halves of both the Oregon and Portland State games due to injury, he also leads the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (150.0 per game, eighth in the nation).
Daunting Daymeion - Hughes highlight video
Senior Daymeion Hughes simply keeps on building on his reputation as the top cornerback in the nation. The Los Angeles product has interceptions in three straight games and now has a nation-leading eight pickoffs this season. In addition to an interception against UCLA, Hughes had three pass break-ups and 10 tackles. His eight interceptions this season are the second-most in a season at Cal while his 15 career thefts rank second as well in Golden Bear history. In addition, he has returned four of those interceptions for touchdowns.
Darkside Desmond - Bishop highlight video
Desmond Bishop, who talks about 'sucking the life out of opposing offenses,' has been piling up huge numbers this season. The senior from Fairfield, Calif., ranks third in the Pac-10 with 9.2 tackles per game, including a career-high 16 in the overtime victory against Washington. Bishop's biggest play of the UW game came on the final play of the game as he intercepted the Husky pass on the goal line to clinch the Golden Bear victory. He added his third interception of the year on Saturday against UCLA, picking off a Bruin pass on the Cal 10-yard line with 14 seconds to go in the first half. A second-team All-Pac-10 selection last year, Bishop has registered double figures in tackles three times this year and also has a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss.
Go DJ- Jackson highlight video
DeSean Jackson continues to prove himself as one of the most exciting players in the country. The sophomore now has three punt return touchdowns this year and four in his career (both tying school and Pac-10 marks). The NCAA record for punt return TDs is eight by Wes Welker (Texas Tech, 2000-03) and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma, 2001-04). Amazingly, the Long Beach product has just 21 career punt returns, meaning he has scored on 19 percent of his returns. Jackson now leads the Pac-10 with 17.2 yards per return, but in Pac-10 games only, he is averaging an amazing 27.4 yards per punt return. In addition, he has recorded 39 catches for 680 yards and eight touchdowns (tops in the Pac-10), all tops on the team. For his career, he has scored 19 touchdowns (15 receiving, four returns) in 20 games.
Jackson's TDs on Punt Returns (Quarter; Score after return)
Nov. 4, 2006: 72 yards vs. UCLA (3rd; 28-10)
Oct. 7, 2006: 65 yards vs. Oregon (2nd, 28-3)
Sept. 23, 2006: 80 yards vs. Arizona State (2nd, 21-7)
Sept. 3, 2005: 49 yards vs. Sacramento State (4th, 41-3)
Liking Longshore - Longshore highlight video
Quarterback Nate Longshore had a very impressive performance on Saturday against UCLA. The sophomore completed 20-of-24 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The Canyon Country, Calif, product leads the Pac-10 in efficiency (158.1) and passing touchdowns (20). For the season, Longshore has completed 160-of-248 passes for 2,143 yards and 20 touchdowns with seven interceptions. In Pac-10 games only, he has completed 112-of-174 (64.4%) passes for 1,533 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has thrown 60 straight passes without an interception (ninth-best streak in the nation).
The Golden Bears have intercepted seven passes in their last two outings to move into a tie for first in the nation with 20 interceptions (with Western Michigan). Against Washington, Cal picked off five Husky passes, the first time the Bears had five pickoffs since Oct. 31, 1987 in a 20-6 victory over Oregon. Senior cornerback Daymeion Hughes leads the team and the country with eight interceptions while linebacker Desmond Bishop has three and safeties Brandon Hampton and Bernard Hicks each have two INTs.
Linebacker Legion of Doom
While Desmond Bishop has been piling up impressive numbers, he is just the leader of one of the best linebacking corps in the country. Against Washington, Cal's backers had 43 tackles, including seven for losses to go with three interceptions. In addition to Bishop's 83 tackles this season, sophomore Zack Follett has 43 tackles, followed by sophomore Worrell Williams and senior Mickey Pimentel with 41 takedowns each. Juniors Justin Moye and Greg Van Hoesen and sophomore Anthony Felder are also in double digits in tackles. The linebackers have also combined for six interceptions, including one returned for a TD by Pimentel. The talent at the position has led linebackers coach Bob Foster to say that he does not have starters, he just has players.
First 6-0 Since 1949
California is now 6-0 in Pac-10 play; it is the first time the Golden Bears have opened league play at 6-0 since the 1949 season, the second of three straight undefeated conference seasons - as well as the second of three straight Rose Bowl appearances. The Bears have won more than six conference games just twice in school history (7-0 in 1949 and 7-1 in 2004).
Cal's current winning streak is one of just five in school history of eight games or more (same season against collegiate opponents).
Year: Streak - Final Record/Other
1948: 10 wins - 10-1/Pacific Coast Conference Co-Champs, Rose Bowl
1949: 10 wins - 10-1/Pacific Coast Conference Champs, Rose Bowl
1935: 9 wins - 9-1/Pacific Coast Conference Co-Champs
1950: 9 wins - 9-1-1/Pacific Coast Conference Champs, Rose Bowl
2006: 8 wins
The Golden Bears lead the Pac-10 in scoring (36.3), pass efficiency (152.8), passing (268.2), turnover margin (+11), punt returns (16.1) and net punting (38.6), while ranking second in total offense (439.1), punt returns (13.4) and sacks allowed (10). Arizona leads the league in kickoff coverage (43.0) and fourth-down conversions (8-of-11) and is tied for third in scoring defense. Individually, Marshawn Lynch leads the Pac-10 in rushing (109.8), all-purpose yards (150.0) and touchdowns (13). Nate Longshore is atop the league in pass efficiency (158.1) and passing touchdowns (20). DeSean Jackson leads the conference in punt-return average (17.2) and is second in touchdowns (11) and and fourth in receiving yards per game (75.6). Tom Schneider is tops in PATs (41-of-41). Daymeion Hughes leads the league in interceptions (8) and in passes defended (17). Desmond Bishop ranks third in the league in tackles per game (9.2 per game), fourth in tackles for loss (11.5) and fifth in intercpetions (5).
Nate Longshore narrowly missed the California record for completion percentage in last week's game against UCLA. The Cal record is 85.3 percent (29-of-34) by Aaron Rodgers at USC in 2004. Longshore was at 87.0 percent (20-of-23) before an incompletion on his last pass dropped him to 83.3 percent, third-best in a game at Cal. Gale Gilbert completed 23-of-27 passes (85.2) against Oregon State in 1983.
The Leg From Las Lomas
California placekicker Tom Schneider is another quiet stat sheet standout for the Golden Bears. Without drawing much attention, Schneider has scored 65 points for the Golden Bears. The Las Lomas High School graduate is eight-of-10 on field-goal attempts, including a perfect 7-of-7 inside 50 yards. He is also a perfect 41-of-41 on extra points.
It's Pronounced FALL-ett
Sophomore Zack Follett may be one of the few non-starters in the nation who will contend for all-conference honors this season. A freshman All-American last season, Follett is one of a group of play-making linebackers for the Golden Bears. In the last six games, the sophomore has 37 tackles, including six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Against Washington, he piled up eight tackles and his first career interception. Perhaps the best game of his young career came against Arizona State when he recorded 10 tackles, including a pair of sacks, to go with a pair of forced fumbles. For the season, the Clovis, Calif., product has 43 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss.
The Washington game was just the ninth overtime game in California football history and the Golden Bears now have a 5-4 mark in those contests. The victory evened Jeff Tedford's record in overtime games at 2-2. He also guided the Bears to an unforgettable 34-31 win over USC in three overtimes in 2003.
Nate Longshore and the Golden Bears have been especially deadly with the long ball this year. California has 46 pass plays of 20 yards or more while its opponents have just 26. Thirty-nine of those deep ball have been thrown by Longshore, including 14 to sophomore DeSean Jackson. In addition to passing the ball, the Golden Bears have 38 other plays (rushing, punt returns, kickoff returns and interception returns) of over 20 yards. Opponents have 26 other long plays.
Wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, a product of Stockton, Calif., had a solid season in his 2005 debut with the Golden Bears by snaring 18 passes for 171 yards. However, with his strong showing thus far in 2006, Hawkins' 2005 stats look like small change. The 5-11 junior now has 36 receptions for 558 yards in 2006. His top performances have come against Minnesota (9 catches for 125 yards), at Oregon State (6 catches for 128 yards) and against Washington (6 catches for 99 yards).
Cal has 22 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes. The Golden Bears have had 16 scoring drives that have lasted less than 2:00 as well as three interception returns and three punt returns for touchdowns.
O-Line Likes Longshore
Despite losing three 2005 starters to the NFL and having two current starters miss games due to injury, the California offensive line is developing into a true strength for the Golden Bears. Both Washington State and Arizona State came into their games against Cal as the national leader in sacks, while UCLA had two of the top 10 sack men in the nation. All three teams managed just one sack against the Golden Bears. The Bears have allowed just 10 sacks all season (second in the Pac-10), including only seven in the last eight games.
The Tedford Era
Jeff Tedford, now in his fifth year at the helm of the Bears, has quickly brought the program into another 'Golden' Age. The Bears' current four-plus year record of 38-18 (.673) is among the best-ever at California.
Era (Years): Record (Pct.) - Highlights
The Wonder Teams (1920-24): 44-0-4 (.958) - Three National Titles
The Thunder Teams (1937-38): 20-1-1 (.932) - One Championship
Pappy's Boys (1947-52): 53-9 (.855) - Three Rose Bowls
The Tedford Era (2002-current): 40-18 (.690) - Three bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
Punt Return Defense
While DeSean Jackson has been deadly on punt returns, the Cal punt coverage team, and more directly, punter Andrew Larson have taken punt returns away from opponents recently. In the last six games, Bear opponents have just six punt returns for 24 yards.
Tailback Triple Threat
While Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett give the Golden Bears a potent one-two punch at running back, senior Marcus O'Keith might give the Bears the top running back trio in the nation. California's 'Tailback Triple Threat' has combined for 766 carries, 5,018 yards (6.55 yards per carry), 44 touchdowns and 22 100-yard rushing days. As the prominent Lynch said in the San Francisco Chronicle, 'There's no shadow here. We all are the front-runner, and I would hate for anyone to feel like any of my teammates were in my shadow. It's just not true.'
Ready to Run - Justin Forsett
Junior Justin Forsett is always ready to run for the Golden Bears. On Oct. 7 against Oregon with Marshawn Lynch hampered by an injured ankle, Forsett galloped for 163 yards on 27 carries - the fifth 100-yard effort of his career. Last season, Forsett finished the year with exactly 999 rushing yards, including a career-high 235 yards against New Mexico State. For his career, Forsett has 1,456 rushing yards on 238 carries for an impressive 6.12 yards per carry.
The Killer B's
California safeties Brandon Hampton and Bernard Hicks are forming a formidable duo for the Golden Bears. On Oct. 7 against Oregon, both safeties had interceptions and they combined for 14 tackles. Over the last five games, the pair have 56 tackles and the three interceptions. Hampton had a career-high 10 takedowns against Oregon State while Hicks had a career-high eight stops against Oregon and against UCLA. Hampton, a former walk-on, is now third on the team in tackles with 50. Hicks, who made his first career start against Oregon State in place of the injured Thomas DeCoud, is fourth on the squad with 47 tackles. Both safeties have a pair of interceptions this year.
Junior-college transfer Andrew Larson has stepped right into the Division I game and shown some serious punting ability for California. The newcomer has punted 33 times for 1,398 yards - an impressive average of 42.4 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just 11 punts for a total of 65 yards, giving Cal a Pac-10 best net-punting mark of 38.6 yards. Last season, with veteran David Lonie handling punting duties, the Bears had a net average of 36.7 yards per punt.
California has now sold out two games this year (Oregon and UCLA); it is the first time in over fifty years that Cal has sold out multiple games in the same season. This year's sellouts are also just the fourth and fifth non-Big Game sellouts in the last 50 years. The other three sellouts all came against USC (1977, 1979 and 2005). The Golden Bears have sold out the Big Game against Stanford 14 times in the last 50 years.
50,000 Fans Again
The sellout against UCLA marked Cal's 17th straight home game with over 50,000 fans. That streak includes every home game in 2004 and 2005 and is even more impressive when compared to the days before the current streak. In the first 13 home games under head coach Jeff Tedford (in 2002 and 2003), Cal attracted over 50,000 fans just twice. The UCLA game was also the ninth game of 60,000+ fans under Tedford, matching the total of nine from the 11 years prior to Tedford's arrival.
Since the arrival of Jeff Tedford, California's season ticket count has been on a steady climb. The Bears sold 16,200 season passes 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. Last year, California set another mark with 40,134 season tickets sold and again this season, the record has been broken. The official season ticket number for 2006 is 40,262.
Forty for Five Is Enough
For the first time in California football history, the Golden Bears scored 40 or more points in five straight games. However, on Saturday at Washington State, the Bears turned to defense instead, holding the Cougars without a touchdown in the 21-3 victory. Prior to this season, the Bears had broken 40 points in four straight games on two other occasions. During the 1993 season Cal piled up wins over San Diego State (45-25), Temple (58-0), San Jose State (46-13) and Oregon (42-41). Back in 1920's undefeated season, Cal cruised to victories over the Mare Island Marines (88-0), St. Mary's (127-0), Nevada (79-7) and Utah (63-0).
Spread the Wealth
The Golden Bears have had 16 different players catch passes this season and 12 different players score touchdowns. Last year for the entire season, the Bears had just 14 players with receptions. The last time Cal had as many as 16 men with catches was 2004 when 18 had receptions. In the Portland State victory alone, Cal had 12 different players catch passes. Dating back to 1997, Cal has had just one game with as many as 10 different receivers catching passes.
Defense Goes on the Offensive
The Golden Bears had a pair of interception returns for touchdowns on Sept. 23 against Arizona State. Late in the first half, senior cornerback Daymeion Hughes picked off a Rudy Carpenter offering and returned it 47 yards to the end zone. Then in the fourth quarter, Golden Bear senior linebacker Mickey Pimentel put the exclamation point on the win with a 20-yard INT return for paydirt. It is the first time Cal has had two pickoffs returned for TDs since Aug. 31, 2002 against Baylor in the first game of the Jeff Tedford era at California.
More on Longshore
Nate Longshore's totals in the Minnesota game surpassed his career totals entering the game (19-of-31 for 216 yards and one touchdown). In fact, his stats through the first play of the second quarter (9-of-13, 134 yards, 2 TD) had already qualified as his best career game. His first touchdown of the game (to junior Robert Jordan) was his first TD delivery in 371 days and his 300 passing yards marked the first 300-yard game by a Bear QB since Aaron Rodgers threw for 394 yards vs. Virginia Tech in 2003.
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.
While California does not have any players on the team who have already earned their undergraduate degrees from Cal, 12 players are expected to earn degrees in December: Eric Beegun, Randy Bundy, Andrew Cameron, David Gray, Steve Kelly, Taylor Kunzi, Abu Ma'afala, Tim Mixon, Marcus O'Keith, Erik Robertson, Scott Smith and Byron Storer. Tyler Krieg has his undergraduate degree from Duke and is currently pursuing his master's degree at Cal.
More TV Time
The UCLA game was Cal's second as part of the ESPN on ABC package. Five different network have televised the Bears this year (ESPN, ESPN on ABC, TBS, Comcast Sports,Fox Sports Net). The three remaining California games - Arizona (ESPN on ABC), USC (ESPN on ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) will be televised.
Despite opening the season with a loss, history has shown success can still follow. The last two conference championship teams at California lost their season openers. In 1975, the Golden Bears fell to Colorado on the road in their opener, but rebounded to finish 8-3 and share the Pac-8 Championship in 1975 behind star running back Chuck Muncie. In 1958, Cal lost to Pacific at home in the opener, but went 6-1 in league play to win the title and advance to the 1959 Rose Bowl behind star Joe Kapp.
Start Me Up
Fourteen different Golden Bears have earned their first career starts in the first four games this year. Redshirt freshmen Cameron Morrah (TE) and Syd'Quan Thompson (CB) were both starters in their first collegiate games at Tennessee, while sophomore Alex Mack (C), senior Bryan Deemer (OG), junior Justin Moye (LB), junior Brandon Hampton (ROV) and junior Thomas DeCoud (FS) also had starting debuts against the Volunteers. In the Minnesota game, redshirt freshman Cody Jones (DL) started at defensive end for the first time. Sophomore offensive tackle Mike Tepper made his starting debut against Portland State. Against Arizona State, junior-college transfer Mike Gibson and senior Mickey Pimentel both made their first career starts, while sophomore Bernard Hicks and true freshman Tyson Alualu each made their starting debuts against Oregon State. Brian De La Puente debuted in the starting lineup last weekend against Washington State.
Cal Corrals Fifth Straight Winning Season
Since posting the worst record at Cal in 104 years (1-10) in 2001, the Golden Bears have rolled to five straight winning seasons since the arrival of head coach Jeff Tedford. In Tedford's first season (2002), he guided the Bears to a 7-5 mark - the school's first winning record in nine years. The 2004 club climbed as high as No. 4 in the nation and finished 10-2. Last year, Cal won eight games and so far in 2006, the Bears are 7-1, marking the first time the Golden Bears have had five straight winning seasons in over 50 years (Pappy Waldorf's juggernaut teams reeled off six straight winning marks from 1947-52).
Bears No. 9 Preseason AP Ranking is Highest Since 1952
California's No. 9 ranking in the 2006 Associated Press Preseason College Football Poll was its highest preseason ranking 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 Players on Preseason Watch Lists
Bednarik Award (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Butkus Award (Top Linebacker): Desmond Bishop
Doak Walker Award (Top Running Back): Marshawn Lynch
Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End): Nu'u Tafisi
Lott Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Manning Award (Top Quarterback): Nate Longshore
Maxwell Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
Nagurski Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Outland Trophy (Top Lineman): Brandon Mebane
Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back): Daymeion Hughes
Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch