Football: Tuesday practice update and some interesting reading

Not all that much to share as far as Cal news from today’s practice. Here’s a story worth checking out if you haven’t seen it yet. My co-worker, Jon Wilner, provided a nice breakdown of the bowl scenarios for both Cal and Stanford based on what happens in Saturday’s Big Game.

–This espn.com blog takes a look at Stanford’s need to bounce back from its poor effort against Oregon. And that brings up an interesting point to ponder. One school of thought says that Stanford will come out sharper and more fired up than ever against the Bears after absorbing their first defeat last week. Do you subscribe to the theory that Cal might have been better off had the Cardinal beaten Oregon and still been undefeated for the Big Game? I really don’t think Stanford was going to overlook Cal no matter what it did against Oregon. But it’s food for thought.

–If you want to jump ahead and study up on Arizona State, which Cal visits for its regular season finale on the day after Thanksgiving, you might be interested in this blog entry.

–No word yet on the availability of outside linebackers Chris McCain and David Wilkerson for the Big Game. If we get any clarity on that in the coming days, I’ll be passing it along …

Joe Stiglich

  • Kent Wilson

    An interesting stat: After going 8-6 as an underdog during his first two years at Cal. Tedford’s record is 2-16 as an underdog since 2003.

  • discdude

    In other news, most underdogs don’t win games for a reason. Wow, what great analysis Kent. Another interesting stat is that as a underdog from 1997 to 2001, Cal lost about 40 games. No one is happy with the current record, but let’s try to at least be reasonable.

  • robert

    I know practices are closed. Is there any way to give out more information about the practice week. How the team is doing, the spirit, anything?


  • Kyle

    Here is an interesting fact…did you know that since 2003 cal has never won a game that they didn’t score more points than the other team. SHOCKING!! Let the final 2 games play out. You can already see this team is getting better. So young at almost every position. Next year becomes the test for all the youngsters to step up. Stop the hate no big name coach is coming to Berkely. Id still take tedford over any coordinator that they would get to replace him. Go Bears!

  • Kent Wilson

    Discodude…you should actually do some analysis before commenting…8-6 as an underdog is remarkably strong…2-16 is actually rather poor.

    Since you think you a 0.111 winning percentage as an underdog is quite normal…what do you think an acceptable winning percentage is as a favorite? I suppose using your logic…then Tedford should have a .889 winning percentage as a favorite…do you have a clue on what the actual performance has been?

    You can’t have it both ways…since you think its satisfactory to lose 90% of the times as an underdog…then the logic should be you would expect 90% victories as a favorite…clearly Tedford has not achieved 90% winning perctage as a favorite.

  • ScottyBear

    Agree with you Kent

  • Bob

    Without verifying your facts, I’m amazed that we were underdogs 14 times in 2 seasons (what, 25 games?) and underdogs in only 18 games in the next 8 seasons (over 100 games)! Impressive, if true, that we have been favored that percentage of the time.

  • CalBearister99

    I think Kent’s point – which is a good one – is that Tedford’s teams went from overachievers to underachievers after his first few seasons.

    On the bright side, at least we’re not UCLA Basketball.

  • Rollonubears

    Thanks to reggie bush, I think we DID win a few games in which we scored fewer points.

  • Rollonubears

    Or ucla football!

  • discdude

    Wow, real Cal grad geniuses. There’s a reason they were underdogs the first few years…no one expected them to win. They were 1-11 in 2001, what do you expect? They were underdogs in a lot of games in 2002 until the oddsmakers finally figured it out. What happened back then means NOTHING now. Wow, that 2003 USC win really helped this year, didn’t it? What is important right now is that they aren’t a great team. Seriously, who the F cares if they beat teams they *shouldn’t* have beaten?

    I’m not sunshine pumping, just noting that it doesn’t matter whether you are an underdog or not, you have to win the game on the field. All the rest is fodder.

  • discdude

    And Kent to answer your question about winning games as a favorite, I agree, that’s much more telling than being an underdog. But again, it’s about expectations. This year, they’ve really only lost 1 game they shouldn’t have lost, that’s UCLA. I think the UW game was a toss-up and Price out-played Cal. Even so, they had a chance to win at the end. Otherwise, this team has been on-par. I think there’s a good chance to steal one back though against ASU.

  • H8sRed

    +1 twice Discdude.

    Kent, you do realize that favorites and point spreads are made up by oddsmakers who are trying to get people to bet on the games, don’t you? They also want approximately the same amount of money bet on each team. That way they don’t take a bath if a hugely disparate amount of money is bet on the eventual winner. The change in the point spread during the week is simply the casinos’ method of balancing out the betting.

    Of course Cal was often an underdog in Tedford’s first two seasons. The team was 1-10 in 2001, and no one would have bet on them as the favorite. Then after Tedford’s stunning early successes the pendulum swung too far the other way, and oddsmakers almost always made them the favorite. In an age when most teams have closed practices and are very tight-lipped about injuries, it’s almost impossible for oddsmakers to make accurate predictions. And it’s not their job to be objective about it; it’s their job to try to generate maximum betting.

    I think the real problem is that after those early successes, OUR expectations as Cal fans skyrocketed, and unfortunately we set ourselves up for a bigger disappointment when they didn’t reach the goals which have all waited for. Hence the verbal lynch-mob mentality on the Cal blogs.

  • rollonubears

    So, how are we against the spread over these timeframes? That might be interesting to look at. Still not too significant, though.

  • Some of you guys are starting to see my point…Tedford’s first 3 years (2002 – 2004) were outstanding! The team either met or exceeded expectations (as evidenced by their 8-6 record when the team was an underdog).

    2004 was also an amazing year, even though Cal was an underdog only once….Cal won every regular season game in which they were favored! Despite raised expectations, Tedford’s team met the challenge.

    In large part of his first 3 years as coach, Tedford has had two contract extenstion….his current contract puts him in the top 10 highest paid coaches in all of college football (* this figure was for the 2010 season…I don’t know Tedford’s rank for 2011).

    Since 2004, the on field performance of Tedford team’s have been CONSISTENTLY below EXPECTATIONS…as evidenced of only a 74% winning percentage when Cal enters the game as a favorite by 3+ pts…coupled with a 2-16 record when Cal enterst the game as an underdog.

    Clearly Tedford deserves Kudos for raising the expectation of the Cal football program, through the on field performance during his first 3 seasons and his ability to consistently attract a top 25 recruiting classes in each year as head coach (except 2008 and 2009).

    HOWEVER, my criticism of Tedford, which has been lost on the majority of fans and local media, is: given the signifcant influx of top talent to the program, given the raised expectations of being favored in 10 of 12 regular season games, and given the superior level of compensation that Tedford is now receiving…Winning 8 games a season and being Bowl eligible is NOT living up to those expectations. (see 2005 – 2010)

    I believe the day the Cal Administration made Tedford the 10th highest paid coach in the nation, was the end of being satisfied with “just being competitive” and beating Stanford. Competiting for conference Championship is the new measuring stick…and acutally winning one championship over a 3 to 4 year period should be expected.

    Since Tedford has raised the talent level of the program, he has only had one year (2004) in which he met expectations. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 were all seasons in which the Cal football program fell below on-field expectations!

    So what do we do now? Fire him? Not necessarily…the Adminstration has to figure out the prioritization of the football program. Is Cal prepared to honestly try to compete for championships as a stated goal…like it was under Tien as Chancellor? If so, then Tedford is probably not the guy to get it done…we should move on. We’ve had 10 years and the final analysis is he is good enough to recruit top talent, but not good enough to maximize the talent so it translates to on-field winning performances.

    If the adminstration believes that simply being competitive is all that is required from the football program…(like it has been under every other Chancellor (except Tien)…Tedford is the guy…however, the adminstration should force him to take a significant pay cut to hover around $750K or seek a new coach that would be willing to coach for less than $500K.

  • kyle: dude are you kidding me? JT is a joke. he hasn’t been able to identify or develop a QB for 6 strait years. The 2007 team was 1 win from being #1 in the nation. They collapsed and JT being the coward that he is blames former players. He blamed Tosh for the fake injuries. He is NOT a good coach. I read other pac-12 team blogs..almost all of them say no coach does less with more than Jeff Tedford.

    How can paul wullf have a 3rd string QB who is better than the QB Guru’s choice Zach Maynard. It is beyond explainable that some fans still support tedford. I guess they are content with mediocrity. just sad.

  • Discodude,

    I agree with your expecations point…its the same point I am trying to make.

    As for the 2011 season, I conclude that Tedford has met expectation this season becuase the team has only 1 loss as a favorite (UCLA). If Cal can beat ASU (beating Stanford is not likely), then I would conisder 2011 season a year in which Tedford EXCEEDED expectations.

    My point has been for the past 6 years (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) that Tedford team have performance BELOW EXPECTATIONS! What I find as odd, is that the local media, Cal Adminstration, and many fans, have actually applauded Tedford during these years, despite the on-field performance levels being conistently below expectation!

    It’s only since Cal did not make a Bowl game last season, did finally some in the local media start to question Tedford on-field performance….after 6 consective years, I feel this questioning should have started sooner.

    I am not some crazy fan who has unrealistic expectations. My expectations are just based on who is favored to win each game. I don’t even count games in which Cal is favored by only 1 or 2 points, because these games are “toss ups”. My analysis has focused on games in which Cal is at least a 3pt favorite…and the record speaks for itself.

  • Caladan

    Ted Miller will be glad to see that his point regarding long-winded dissertations from Cal fans continues to be verified.

  • discdude

    Good one, Caladan!

    I hate disco, Kent. I like your longer analysis, I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. I just don’t think the point spread has anything to do with it. Expectations match salary, I agree. Also, I don’t think Tedford’s going anywhere in 2012, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.

    The biggest problem, in fact the only reason Cal hasn’t met or exceeded expectations, is the lack of ability to develop a great QB. This would look a lot different had a great QB been playing. Tedford has whiffed on his ability to evaluate recruits and to develop the QB once he is on the team. Riley and Longshore were average, but not nearly at the level a they needed to be to get 10 wins. Mansion (unfortunately) hasn’t panned out. Maynard may get better, but he doesn’t look like 10 win material at this point. As the QB play goes, so does Cal.

  • Kent Wilson

    No disrespect Discdude…my eyesight is not as good as it used to be. (I thought your handle was discodude)…sorry about that.

    What amazes me about Tedford his how the QBs have not developed in recent years. Boller was a disaster until Tedford….and Rogers flourished under Tedford. But, Ayoob, Longshore and Riley were disappointing. Ayoob was highly recruited out of JC, I believe Longshore and Riley were Elite 11 QBs out of HS….and they all seemed to get worse the more they practiced under Tedford. Each peaked during the 1st year at the helm….the all got worse the more they played. Go figure

  • Kent Wilson

    Caladan…as you know…”the devil is in the details”.

  • Steve W.

    ZM is NOT going to improve. He was a 50 percent passer at Buffalo with 16 td passes and 13 interceptions. He is a 50 percent passer at Cal with 13 td passes and 11 picks. The quarterback position is by far the most intuitive on the field. Some things you can coach up, some things you can’t. ZM’s flaws are not correctable because he is hard wired to make mistakes in pressure packed moments. That’s my take. I would love to hear a rebuttal.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Reed = disaster under Tedfurd
    Mansion = disaster under Tedfurd

    Both were Elite 11

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Pete Carroll was truly the greatest QB coach

    Matt Cassel didn’t even start but has had a good pro career

    Carson Palmer = Heisman winner and thankfully he is now the starting QB of the Raiders. Without him they had no QB

    Matt Leinart = Heisman winner and one of the most successful QBs in college history

    Mark Sanchez = would have been a Heisman winner if he stayed around

    Matt Barkley = will win the Heisman if he sticks around next year but will be the second QB drafted. A true star and a PC recruited and coached player

  • ScottyBear

    Leinart = absolute bust in the NFL

    Booty = absolute bust in the NFL

    Sanchez, Palmer and Cassel = how many Super Bowl MVP’s?

    All good in college because of the talent that was purchased to support them.

    Aaron Rodgers = Super Bowl MVP. Bo back to sleep Moren!

  • ScottyBear

    Matt Leinart = Complete bust in the NFL

    JD Booty = complete bust in the NFL

    Cassel, Palmer, Sanchez = zero Super Bowl MVP’s

    Aaron Rodgers = Super Bowl MVP and pending league MVP

  • DelthaForce

    Not to detract from the never-ending JT discussions, but anyone think we can beat Stanford? A week ago, it seemed like such a long shot, but the Cardinal did not look good last week. A victory is still something of a long shot maybe, but there are cards we can play. We have more speed. We have better WRs. We have a good D. All you need is a chip and a chair.

  • eric

    @Delthaforce – in big games, there is always a chance, and I’ve not been impressed with Furd’s coach, so if he makes the same mistake that Harbaugh made in 2009, we have a chance. If coaching isn’t an issue, Cal still has fantastic talent at many positions (outside of QE, TE, and arguably RB, I think Cal has better talent), so if our weaker positions step up, then, yes, we have a chance.

    But it has been so long since we beat a team that was heavily favored, with Furd still playing for a BCS spot with Luck still trying make a Heisman statement, and undisputed poor in-game coaching and coaching adjustments, I think we lose by 3 TDs.

  • eric

    @kent – your analysis is welcome, and even the kool aid supporters should at least address the numbers (arguing irrelevancy of point spreads is liek Fox News – a great way to limit the debate to facts only one your side).

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    No chance of a win and if StanFORD looked bad against Oregon then just think how poorly you guys looked. It busts me up that during this Big Game week that guy over at the SF Chronicle has got nothing better to write about but your PK who has missed a bunch of extra points.

  • DelthaForce

    @Eric – Agree re the talent point. Also, Stanford’s only good win is against a mediocre USC team, and that one just barely, enabled by that bone-headed penalty on SC’s DB late in the game. Stanford got blown out by a team with superior speed in Oregon. I know we don’t have the same level of speed and the same tempo as Oregon, but I feel like we do have a speed advantage vis a vis Stanford. There has to be something we can use there. As one of my law school professors once told me: “For every move, there’s a counter move.” Keep sleepin’ in that office, JT. Win, win, win.

  • rollonubears

    It’s Big Game week, and a post from 2 nights ago is the only info we have about cal football on this blog. That’s really pathetic. At least don’t make me look at ads if you’re not going to put any product on display.