California Plays at USC on Saturday in Showdown for Pac-10 Title, Rose Bowl Bid
Nov. 12, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 11: Saturday, November 18; 5 p.m. (PT)
No. 17 Cal (8-2, 6-1) vs. USC (8-1, 6-1)
Los Angeles, Calif. - Los Angeles Memorial Stadium
TELEVISION: Live on ESPN on ABC (nation-wide). Brad Nessler handles play-by-play with Bob Griese and Paul Maguire providing analysis and Erin Andrews reporting from the sidelines.
RADIO: Live on the Golden Bear Radio Network (flagship KGO AM 810 San Francisco) with Joe Starkey (play-by-play), Troy Taylor (color) and Todd McKim (sideline).
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 8-2 (6-1)
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: 41-19/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 93
Series Record: Cal trails, 58-30-5
First Meeting: 10/23/15, Loss, 28-10
Last Meeting: 11/12/05, Loss, 35-10
at USC: 16-28-4
Current Streak: USC win 4 of 5
Tedford vs. USC: 1-3
The Golden Bears, currently ranked No. 17 in the nation, battle No.4 USC on Saturday evening at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The winner will clinch at least a share of the Pac-10 Championship and the winner will also own the tiebreaker over the loser, therefore guaranteeing itself the Pac-10's automatic berth in the BCS - either the National Championship game or the Rose Bowl.
California came up against a tough Arizona defense on Saturday in Tucson and the Golden Bears found themselves in need of a break late in the game, but none came. Cal had a pair of late-game interceptions erased by penalties and also had a dazzling dash to the end zone returned by replay, as the Bears lost 24-20. With the Bears holding a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter, a Bernard Hicks interception was called back and then a Daymeion Hughes pick in the end zone also came back due to penalty, allowing Arizona to knot the game at 17. On the final drive of the game and Cal trailing 24-20, Nate Longshore found DeSean Jackson seemingly for 63 yards and the go-ahead TD, however, it was ruled that Jackson was bumped out of bounds at the Arizona 41 and the Bears could not convert. Jackson was the unquestionable star of the game as the sophomore returned a punt return 95 yards for a touchdown - his fifth career punt return TD (a Pac-10 record). He also snared a career-long 62-yard touchdown pass from Longshore, finishing with six catches for 131 yards. Marshawn Lynch registered his school-record 16th 100-yard rushing game (102) and also had a potential 79-yard scoring run called back 23 yards due to penalty in the first quarter (the Bears settled for a field goal). Tom Schneider remained perfect inside of 50 yards by nailing 46- and 20-yard field goals.
Bits on the Bears
DeSean Jackson ranks first in the nation in punt return average and is leading the nation with four punt-return touchdowns ... Jackson set season (4) and career (5) Pac-10 records for punt return TDs with his 95-yard return on Saturday... Marshawn Lynch has 1,090 rushing yards to become just the second player in Cal history with two 1,000-yard seasons ... Lynch and Jackson are tied for the Pac-10 lead in touchdowns with 13 each ... Lynch has 33 touchdowns in 32 career games and Jackson has 21 touchdowns in 21 career games ... Daymeion Hughes is tied for the national lead with eight interceptions while Cal as a team is tied for third in the nation with 20 interceptions ... the Golden Bears lead the Pac-10 in turnover margin at +8 ... Nate Longshore leads the Pac-10 in touchdowns, passing yards and passing efficiency ... Desmond Bishop ranks second in the Pac-10 with 9.1 tackles per game ... Tom Schneider is a perfect 9-of-9 on field goals inside the 50 ... the Golden Bear offensive line leads the Pac-10 with just 10 sacks allowed this year ... Cal has had five eight-game winning streaks against collegiate opponents (single season) in history ... this year marked the first time since 1949 that Cal opened 6-0 in conference play ... despite missing the entire second halves of two games due to injury, Lynch still leads the Pac-10 in rushing ... Cal has had 23 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 40 of 60 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 lost its season opener each of the last two years it won the conference championship (1958 and 1975).
A Look at the Trojans
USC comes into this week's meeting with Cal with an 8-1 record. The Trojans have the top scoring defense in the Pac-10 (14.8) and the No. 3 scoring offense (32.0). They are allowing just 290.1 total yards per game, tops in the league. USC is extra-effective in the red zone, having scored 40 times in 45 visits (including 32 TDs). The Trojans lone loss came on Oct. 28 when Oregon State held on for a 33-31 victory in Corvallis. USC trailed by 23 points late in the third quarter, but roared back, only to fall short at the end. Junior quarterback John David Booty ranks second in the Pac-10 with 238.0 passing yards per game and a 150.5 passer rating. He has thrown for 20 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Booty's favorite targets are senior Steve Smith (6-0, 200) and junior Dwayne Jarrett (6-5, 215), who have 87.3 and 63.4 receiving yards per game, respectively. The Trojan running game is anchored by junior tailback Chauncey Washington (74.9 yards per game) and true freshman tailback Emmanuel Moody (51.0 yards per game). Defensively, sophomore linebacker Rey Maualuga has a team-best 62 tackles while junior cornerback Terrell Thomas has 11 passes defended.
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 four punt return touchdowns this year and five in his career (both 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 23 career punt returns, meaning he has scored on 21.7 percent of his returns. Jackson now leads the nation with 20.7 yards per return, but in Pac-10 games only, he is averaging an amazing 30.9 yards per punt return. In addition, he has recorded 45 catches for 811 yards and nine touchdowns (tops in the Pac-10), all tops on the team. For his career, he has scored 21 touchdowns (16 receiving, five returns) in 21 games.
Jackson's TDs on Punt Returns (Quarter; Score after return)
Nov. 11, 2006: 95 yards vs. Arizona (1st; 7-0)
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)
Lynch Hits 1,000Lynch Highlight Video
With 102 yards against Arizona, Marshawn Lynch joined Russell White as the only Cal players to have multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. It was also Lynch's 16th 100-yard game to set another Golden Bear record. The running back is averaging a Pac-10 best 109.0 yards per game (10th 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 four games. 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 seven 100-yard games this year, 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 (145.6 per game, 10th in the nation).
Hughes Cornering the Market - Hughes highlight video
Senior Daymeion Hughes simply keeps on building on his reputation as the top cornerback in the nation. The Los Angeles product had interceptions in three straight games and appeared to add a fourth against Arizona in the end zone, but it was called back due to a flag. He still 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 second in the Pac-10 with 9.1 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 Nov. 4 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 12.5 tackles for loss.
Loooong-shore - Longshore highlight video
Nate Longshore and the Golden Bears have been especially deadly with the long ball this year. California has 49 pass plays of 20 yards or more while its opponents have just 29. Forty-two of those deep ball have been thrown by Longshore, including 16 to sophomore DeSean Jackson. In addition to passing the ball, the Golden Bears have 44 other plays (rushing, punt returns, kickoff returns and interception returns) of over 20 yards. Opponents have 28 other long plays.
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 73 points for the Golden Bears. The Las Lomas High School graduate is 10-of-12 on field-goal attempts, including a perfect 9-of-9 inside 50 yards. He is also a perfect 43-of-43 on extra points.
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 38 receptions for 613 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 23 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 four punt returns for touchdowns.
Protecting the QB
Despite losing three 2005 starters to the NFL and having three current starters miss games due to injury, the California offensive line has developed 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 nine games (none on Saturday at Arizona).
Longshore Atop Pac-10 in TDs, Efficiency
Quarterback Nate Longshore had a very impressive performance on Nov. 4 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), yards per game (239.3) and passing touchdowns (21). For the season, Longshore has completed 177-of-284 passes for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns. In Pac-10 games only, he has completed 129-of-210 passes for 1,783 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Golden Bears lead the Pac-10 in scoring (34.7), pass efficiency (146.7), passing (266.4), turnover margin (+8), sacks allowed (10), punt returns (19.4) and net punting (37.2), while ranking second in total offense (430.8). USC leads the league in scorign defense (14.8), total defense (290.1) and third-down conversions (48.4%) while ranking third in scoring (32.0). Individually, Marshawn Lynch leads the Pac-10 in rushing (109.0), all-purpose yards (145.6). and touchdowns (13, tie). Nate Longshore is atop the league in pass efficiency (150.5), passing yards (239.3) and passing touchdowns (21). DeSean Jackson leads the conference in punt-return average (20.7) and touchdowns (13) and is fourth in receiving yards per game (81.1). Tom Schneider is tops in PATs (43-of-43). Daymeion Hughes leads the league in interceptions (8) and in passes defended (18). Desmond Bishop ranks second in the league in tackles per game (9.1), fourth in tackles for loss (12.5) and fifth in interceptions (5).
The Golden Bears are currently tied for third in the nation with 20 interceptions. The Arizona game was just the second game this season that Cal did not have an interception. Against Washington, the Bears picked off five Husky passes, the first time they 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 91 tackles this season, sophomore Worrell Williams has 47 tackles, senior Mickey Pimentel has 46 tackles and sophomore Zack Follett has 43. 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.
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 39 times for 1,636 yards - an impressive average of 41.9 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just 16 punts for a total of 124 yards, giving Cal a Pac-10 best net-punting mark of 37.2 yards. Last season, with veteran David Lonie handling punting duties, the Bears had a net average of 36.7 yards per punt.
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. This year, opponents have just 16 punt returns for 124 yards (an average of 7.8 per return). In the six games prior to the Arizona game, Bear opponents had just six punt returns for 24 yards. The Wildcats managed five returns for 59 yards, including a 28-yarder, the longest against Cal this season.
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. He has 43 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss this year. 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.
First 6-0 Since 1949
California opened the Pac-10 season with a 6-0 mark for the first time 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 eight-game winning streak was 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
Nate Longshore narrowly missed the California record for completion percentage in the Nov. 4 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 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 41-19 (.683) 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): 41-19 (.683) - Three bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
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 785 carries, 5,134 yards (6.54 yards per carry), 44 touchdowns and 23 100-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 1,470 rushing yards on 241 carries for an impressive 6.10 yards per carry.
Big Hits from B.H. & B.H.
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 six games, the pair have 59 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 52. Hicks, who made his first career start against Oregon State in place of the injured Thomas DeCoud, is fourth on the squad with 48 tackles. Both safeties have a pair of interceptions this year.
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).
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.
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 Arizona game was Cal's third 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 two remaining regular season games - USC (ESPN on ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) - will also 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