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And now?

The Bears were reunited after three days off tonight for a full practice at Memorial Stadium. Usually, Sunday nights are reserved for a short conditioning practice, but Cal got a head start on the Big Game because of the bye week.

Coach Jeff Tedford has been generally pleased with his team’s attitude and morale since its disappointing loss at Washington. He said the team practiced very well before parting ways before Thanksgiving and it carried into today.

Of course, the big question is how the Bears will respond now, seeing as the stakes are no longer high. It might be a good thing that Cal is playing Stanford this week, because both teams usually are motivated to play the Big Game no matter how each team’s season is going.

Cal’s bowl possibilities became clearer over the weekend. The Armed Forces Bowl on New Year’s Even in Forth Worth, Texas is looking like the most likely scenario. There is no way the Bears can finish in the top five in the Pac-10, so the Emerald Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl are almost certainly out. The only exception is if two conference teams make it to a BCS game — for instance, USC goes to the Rose Bowl and Arizona State gets a bid to the Fiesta Bowl — that would move everyone else in the Pac-10 pecking order up a slot. In that case, it’s probably almost a certainty Cal would go to the Emerald Bowl (that’s if the Bears beat Stanford). But ASU is ranked 13th in the lastest BCS standings and a lot would have to likely happen for the Sun Devils to slip into a BCS game.

Cal currently is in seventh, but if it beats Stanford and Arizona loses to Arizona State, it will move into a tie for sixth and likely get the Armed Forces Bowl berth. If the Bears were to lose to Stanford, they would finish 6-6 and tied with Washington State for seventh in the Pac-10. That might make their chances to get an at-large berth to an out-of-conference bowl game a little more dicey.

A couple of notes from today’s practice:

–Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who suffered a thigh contusion against Washington and was held out of most action last week, practiced more Sunday. Tedford said Jackson should play Saturday.
–Defensive end Rulon Davis, who has missed the past three games with a sprained knee, has returned to practice and looks like he will play as well.
–Some of Cal’s seniors that don’t usually start are getting first reps in practice, meaning they will probably start against Stanford in their final regular season game.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • AC

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for the updates! Keep them coming. I read online somewhere that there is a rule that a team with a winning (overall) record must be picked ahead of a team with a .500 record. In this case, assuming USC defeats UCLA, we will be fifth in the conference when it comes to bowl selection (even if AZ wins). In that case, AZ and UCLA will have better conference records, but we’ll be selected before them in the bowl procedures. In the event that the Pac-10 gets two teams in, then we could even slide up in to the #4 bowl. Can you verify this rule?

  • jethro mayham

    By what does the old coach mean? The new coach better understand Cornhusker Culture?

    It sounds like a threat. Geeze he just took the enjoymnet out of life. He deflated the ball before anyone even had a chance of taking over.

    Screw you Osburne or Osborne. You did your insane part now let someone else take over. All you need to do is sit in a wheelchair and wait for the caretaker.

    Maybe when it’s time to wheel you away, they can also bring all your rewards
    so they can go with you also.

    “Meat and eggs”. You can have it. Day in and day out with maybe a few corn sticks throwin in.

  • http://www.i5nomads.com SeanYoda

    AC, here’s the rule from page 9 of the NCAA 2007-2008 Postseason Football Handbook

    Per NCAA Bylaw 30.9.2.1 an institution with a record of six wins and six losses may be selected for participation in a bowl game if 1) the institution or its conference has a primary contractual affiliation, which existed prior to the first contest of the applicable season, with the sponsoring bowl organization. In the case of a conference contractual affiliation, all conference teams with winning records must be placed in one of the contracted bowl games before any institution with a record of six wins and six losses may be placed in a contracted bowl game; and 2) all contratual affiliations have been fulfilled and all institutions with winning records have received bowl invitations (either through a contractual affiliation or as an at-large selection).

    In the case of a conference contractual affiliation, all conference teams with winning records must be placed in one of the contracted bowl games before any institution with a record of six wins and six losses may be placed in a contracted bowl game. There shall be no contingency agreements with other sponsoring bowl organizations intended to enable an institution with a record of six wins and six losses to become eligible for those contests.

  • Robert

    J.O. any update on Ezeff? Have they found anything with Best yet?

  • wearecb4life

    Don’t the top 14 BCS teams qualify for the BCS bowls? Why is it so hard to believe that ASU, the local team for the Fiesta Bowl, would go to the bowl right next door if they are eligible?

    Meanwhile, since OSU already went to the Sun Bowl last year, I believe Sun Bowl rules are such that they cannot go there again. Therefore, if Oregon beats OSU and Cal wins the Big Game, the Bowls would look like this:

    Rose: $C
    Fiesta: ASU
    Holiday: Oregon
    Sun: CAL
    Emerald: OSU
    Vegas: UCLA

    Ta da…..

  • TC

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here people. First, Cal has to win against Stanfurd. Then we can see where Cal will go. I hope that Gregory and his defensive staff will make some adjustments. I would like to see more pressure on the QB, take more chances…because Cal really has nothing to lose. Does it really matter which Stanford QB starts? I don’t think either Ostrander or Pritchard are Vince Young types. I want to see our linebackers plug up and charge up the holes and make tackles. Occasional corner blitzes would be nice to see. I really hope the defense steps up big.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    AC and Sean, it is true that a 7-5 team would get a bid over a 6-6 team, but that’s just getting a bid. For instance, if there was only one spot left between UCLA and Cal, the Bears would get a bid and the Bruins would be left out. But since there are spots for both teams, it goes back to the conference standings. So UCLA would still be higher in the bowl picking order.
    If Arizona beats Arizona State on Saturday, it wouldn’t get a bid over Cal even though it is ahead of the Bears in the standings (assuming Cal wins). Arizona would only be 6-6 and Cal would be 7-5.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Robert,

    Ezeff was close to playing against Washington and he’s practicing so I imagine he’ll be available. Best is out for the season. They don’t have an official diagnosis but the injury might require surgery. His MRIs are being examined by experts before they determine the next course of action.

  • John

    Any news about Matt Malele?

  • Jonathan Okanes

    John, Matt hasn’t been practicing. The goal was to hold him out so he could start practicing tomorrow. We’ll see.

  • Steve Nguyen

    I definitely don’t think it would be hard to believe that the Pac-10 will place two teams in BCS bowls. 1) The top-14 rule has now become top-18. 2) I believe there’s a rule that no more than two teams from any conference can be represented in a BCS bowl game. So, I would think that as long as ASU beats Arizona, ASU has a very good shot at a BCS game (the Fiesta in all likelihood based on geography). Thus, if Cal beats Stanford, it should get the Sun Bowl because I would imagine that the Sun Bowl committee would invoke the clause that allows them to deny an OSU team that played in the game last year. I would think it’s better to have Cal in a bowl game than OSU (based strictly on fan support, size of school, etc.), provided the teams are next to each other in the standings.