Cal Begins Season Ranked No. 12 According to ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches' Poll

Aug. 3, 2007

Berkeley - For a second consecutive year, the California Golden Bears are ranked No. 12 to begin the season, according to the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches' Top 25 poll released this afternoon.

USC tops the poll, collecting 45 out of the possible 60 first-place votes, followed by LSU, Florida, Texas and Michigan. Cal's season-opening opponent, Tennessee, is ranked 15th.

This marks the fourth straight year under head coach Jeff Tedford that Cal has begun a season ranked in the coaches' top 25 (the Bears received votes in the 2003 preseason poll). Since taking over the Cal program in 2002, Tedford has built the Bears into one of the top programs in the nation, leading California to four straight bowl appearances and top 10 national rankings in each of the last three years. Cal's 36 wins over the last four years are the most in any four-year stretch in over 50 years for the Bears.

Cal returns eight offensive starters, including junior quarterback Nate Longshore and arguably the best wide receiving corps in the nation - junior DeSean Jackson and seniors Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears return five defensive starters, including junior Worrell Williams and sophomore Syd'Quan Thompson. Williams tallied 51 tackles in 12 starts last season, while Thompson registered 60 tackles and an interception his redshirt freshman campaign. Cal also returns a pair of All-American candidates in senior place kicker Tom Schneider and senior punter Andrew Larson.

The Bears officially begin fall practice on Monday, Aug. 6 in Memorial Stadium with a brief walk through. ALL PRACTICES ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.

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