On Tour

Coach Jeff Tedford, along with basketball coach Mike Montgomery and athletic director Sandy Barbour, kicked off their 2008 Coaches Tour on Monday with an event at Back Forty BBQ in Pleasant Hill. It’s the first of seven stops — four in Northern California and three in Southern California — over the next couple of weeks.

I stopped by the event last night and it was estimated that there were 450 Cal fans on hand, which is expected to be the biggest turnout. I’ll talk just about Tedford and football because that is the parameter for this forum, but those who attended will confirm that Montgomery stole the show with his wit and insight.

After Tedford made his prepared remarks, it was Montgomery’s turn. Before he said anything about the basketball team, he said “Let’s cut to the chase and ask Jeff about the quarterback situation.” It drew a roar from the crowd.

After Tedford, Montgomery and Barbour addressed the crowd, it was time for the question-and-answer session. Emcee Ed Kleinhans, who some of you might know better as the public address announcer at basketball games, got the questions started by jokingly asking Tedford who the starting….center would be?

Tedford took the hint and addressed the quarterback situation. He didn’t break too much new ground, except for one nugget: He hinted that the competition might not just run through the fall, but the season-opener against Michigan State.

“It may be the evaluation needs to go into the games,” Tedford said. “Both played very, very well in the springtime. They will compete through the summer, they will compete through the fall, and possibly both play in the Michigan State game and see where we are.”

Tedford reiterated what he’s said all along, that he’s not a fan of the two-quarterback system. He repeated his plea to support Nate Longshore if he is indeed the quarterback.

“We’re blessed. We probably have the best 1-2 quarterback combination in the conference,” Tedford said. “We have to keep their confidence high, both of them. We can not draw lines. We can not pick sides, we can’t cheer for one and not the other. They both have to have extreme confidence when they hit the football field. That’s what I’m asking for. Support them both. They are both going to play their hearts out.”

Tedford also had an interesting update on running back Jahvid Best. The training staff recently put him through two weeks of simulated two-a-day practices to test his hip. Tedford said they “put him through all kinds of things, threw him on the ground, everything you could imagine.” Best apparently passed with flying colors.

Tedford said there was still a chance Best could have underwent surgery, and that he needed to go through that kind of test now to make a decision. If Best was going to have surgery, he would have had to do it right around now to be back for the start of the season.

Tedford said in addition to the bruised hip Best suffered last season against USC, he also has a hip impingement that potentially can cause some pain. But Best reportedly feels great, and the two weeks of simulated two-a-days demonstrated that there is no cause for concern.

“He feels great and he’s ready to go,” Tedford said. “He will not have to have surgery, so we’re really, really excited about that because as you saw, he’s a difference-maker. I feel great that he’s going to be back in the fold.”



A commitment

scout.com reports that the Bears received a 2009 oral commitment from Mission Viejo High School quarterback Allan Bridgford, who received offers from a couple of other Pac-10 schools as well as Texas Tech.


Good standing

Cal’s football program had a pretty good showing in the Academic Progress Rate report released Tuesday by the NCAA. The Bears ranked in the 80-90th percentile and 50-60th percentile among all sports. Click here to see the NCAA’s official report on Cal.


Cal on TV

The Pac-10 announced today that Cal’s season-opener against Michigan State on Aug. 30 and its Nov. 8 game at USC will be televised by ABC and kick off at 5 p.m.

The disappointing second half of the Bears’ 2007 season didn’t seem to dissuade ABC from putting them on prime time. This is no different than last season, when Cal also had two games selected for the 5 p.m. time slot during the spring — the season-opener against Tennessee and the game against USC.

Other TV information and kickoff times will be announced in the coming months. The Bears could still be on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 a handful of other times when the network selects games in its six-day and 12-day window.


Talking point

I know this isn’t exactly a cutting edge issue, but it’s worth discussion now that it appears there won’t be any change to the NCAA Division I football playoff format for awhile. BCS officials announced Thursday that it will not change the way it crowns its annual national champion as it prepares to negotiate TV contracts through 2014.

The one-plus format is the lastest proposal to get some momentum, but it was ultimately shot down. Under one-plus, the top four teams in the final BCS standings would play semifinals and then a championship game.

I still think there should be a playoff system, and it should be more than four teams. If it’s OK for the other divisions of college football, it should be OK with Division I. And I don’t buy the argument that it will take the luster off the regular season. Just because a team loses one or two games doesn’t meant it isn’t the best team in the country. A team loses a game in September and it’s almost as though its season is over. Let them decide it on the field.

Now, your thoughts?