Football: Cal-UCLA preview

How big is Cal’s game Saturday night against UCLA?

“This is the biggest game of the year,” offensive tackle Matt Summers-Gavin said.

Actually, it may be bigger than that.

It’s big for Jeff Tedford. Big for the future of the football program. Even big for the well-being of the athletic department, given the financial ramifications if the team performs poorly and ticket sales/ESP sales fall off the cliff.

No. 25 UCLA won’t be easy. Under new coach Jim Mora Jr., the Bruins appear stronger than Arizona State, which came into Berkeley last weekend and beat the Bears by 10 points. They have an experienced secondary. An aggressive defensive line. A dynamite running back. A better-than-anyone imagined redshirt freshman quarterback.

And the motivation to end a long drought in Berkeley.

Let’s face it, the Pac-12 South is strong, but up for grabs because USC has a loss and it’s hard to imagine ASU will run the table in conference play. So the Bruins are thinking they can play Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. And maybe they can.

I have no good feel for how the Bears will respond Saturday. I thought they’d rise up and beat ASU, and they played perhaps their poorest game of the season.

Tedford told us the team had a good week of practice, and I believe him. But I recall him saying much the same thing a week ago.

Here’s what I do know: The Bears cannot win if they follow this script:

   — Allow six sacks

   — Let UCLA run 94 plays

   — Total 119 yards on 12 penalties

   — Convert only 4 of 15 third-down chances

Those numbers come directly from Cal’s loss to ASU, and they were ghastly.

Ghastly won’t work against UCLA. Or probably anyone else left on the schedule.


Here is my story that will appear in Saturday’s edition, with reaction from Brendan Bigelow on the news that he will (we’re told) carry the ball on Saturday.


RECORDS: Cal 1-4, 0-2 in Pac-12; UCLA 4-1, 1-1

KICKOFF: 7 p.m., Memorial Stadium

TV: Pac-12 Networks


SERIES HISTORY: UCLA leads 50-31-1. Cal has won the past six meetings at Berkeley, but lost 31-14 last season at the Rose Bowl.

STORYLINES: The Bears are desperate for a victory to halt a three-game losing streak and breathe some life into a disappointing season. The Bears have never lost four games in a row under coach Jeff Tedford. Cal has yet to defeat a FBS opponent in 2012 . . . Cal’s defense will take its best shot against its fourth opponent to play some variation of the spread offense, although the Bruins no longer are employing the Pistol formation under new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. QB Brett Hundley has thrown 11 touchdowns — tied for most by any freshman in the nation. Senior RB Johnathan Franklin is No. 4 nationally at 139.4 rushing yards per game and gets 7.5 yards per carry.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal — TE Spencer Hagan (knee), ILB David Wilkerson (ankle), ILB Khairi Fortt (knee), OG Dominic Galas (shoulder), CB Stefan McClure (knee) are out. UCLA — LB Jordan Zumwalt (motor-scooter accident) is probable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s offensive line vs. UCLA’s defensive front. The Bears are last in the nation in sacks allowed (25) and surrendering tackles for loss (43). UCLA plays fast and aggressive and is tied for fourth nationally with 41 TFL and second in the Pac-12 with 18 sacks. The Bruins also have choked 14 turnovers out of their first five opponents. The Bears’ line will need to better protect QB Zach Maynard to minimize sacks and giveaways.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal’s four losses have come to teams with a combined record of 17-3 . . . The Bears have started 1-5 (or worse) eight times in school history (all since 1957) and only one of those teams finished with as many as three victories . . . UCLA ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in rushing (243.4 ypg) and Cal is No. 12 against the rush (174.8).

Jeff Faraudo

  • 707 Bear

    Negativity Alert:

    “It’s big for Jeff Tedford. Big for the future of the football program. Even big for the well-being of the athletic department, given the financial ramifications if the team performs poorly and ticket sales/ESP sales fall off the cliff.”

    So one terrible year and we’re worried about the well-being of the athletic department?

    This is madness! Who signed-off on 321 million dollars and expected repayment from a football fan base that is a house of cards.

    I’ll be there tomorrow night with maybe 30,000 of my closest friends. The ESP section isn’t close to being sold; especially the Park Avenue seats. I couldn’t give away my tickets last week.

    Did anyone in the room ask a simple question: Over time–the good years and the bad–how many fans can we expect at Memorial? I would say the average would be 40,000.

    Go Bears!

  • milo

    Homecoming + UCLA + Joe Roth = 50k+

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Finally someone asked the right question. This thread shows that “We are the No. 1 Public University” mantra is baloney.


  • 707 Bear

    Milo: I hope you’re right, but…..

    Giants playoff game at 6:30

    + 7:30 game start (7 PM starts have been poorly attended even with good teams)

    + scary traffic (fleet week, strickly bluegrass)

    + struggling team

    More Negativity: Called ticket office and asked if I could buy two tickets in the ESP to “test drive the experience.” No dice. Really!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

  • Woj

    Why would anyone waste $$ on Tedford’s slop? How much brutal football can you stand and then to pay to wathc it live – that’s got to be some fetish. 🙂

    No thanks. I’ll be watching the disciplined, inspired, exciting play of the San Francisco Giants on my satellite TV package. If I can find Cal on TV, I’ll watch it during commercials. When Cal gets down by 2TD or more probably in the first half, I’ll start tuning into other Pac12 games where good quality football and well coached teams can be found.

  • Larry

    I’ll be there. I don’t expect a win, but I’ll be there.

  • Larry

    Go A’s!

  • covinared

    driving up from LA. will it be hard to find a parking spot w/in walking distance of campus, or should I take bart?

  • ConcordBear

    I’m going to the California football game.
    Go Bears!

  • I’ve never been to a Giants playoff game in my life and my mom scored to tix last week. I will be in SF, rooting on one of my beloved teams during a championship run. Go Giants!

    And I hope to be doing the same again soon in Berkeley. But with the current head coach, there is no championship, much less inspired play, in sight… Regardless…Go Bears!

  • calbearclaw

    Let’s Go A’s!!!!

    Not on to my Bears. Here’s my question for the crew here that springs from Faraudo’s article: Does Bigelow get – God forbid – double digit carries today?

  • covinared

    all this talk about Bigelow. Apparently he has trouble reading the signs and doesn’t like to block.

  • rob bear

    Go Bears, Giants and A’s!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Interesting article in Sac Bee on UCB state football.

    San Jose State – 4-1
    UCB state – 1-4

    Keep Jeff Teevans!

  • Juancho

    Go A’s

  • 707 Bear

    These posts help prove my point about the thin fan base for Cal football.

    It’s always something:

    1. there are too many other things in the Bay Area to do
    2. the parking around Memorial is difficult
    3. my kid has a soccer game
    4. my sports dollars go to the pro sports teams
    5. the team isn’t exciting

    I get it.

    My point has always been: Why did they expect this fan base to pay-off the 321 million dollar renovation of Memorial?

    A true college football fan base builds its fall calendar around college football.

    I’ll be there (unless I get stuck on the 80).

    Go Bears!

  • BlueNGold

    #3- moron lies yet again. That thread from BI does nothing of the sort that you state. Did you even bother to read it? Are you really that stupid and clueless, or just a chronic and pathological liar?

    By the way, do you notice how often moron posts stuff from BI on this blog, but never posts anything there itself? Know why? Can you say “banned”? HAHAHAHAHA What a lying loser you are moron!!

  • wehofx

    I’m putting over/under on Bigelow’s carries at 9.

    I’m taking the over. Bounceback Saturday.

    Go Bears!

  • MoreNCsarecoming


    Here is the 2012 line on UCB state. On a national level, UCB state can be found near the bottom of the 120 FBS schools in several statistical categories:

    — Last in the nation – the nation! – in sacks allowed with 25, for minus-174 yards.

    — Also last in allowing tackles for losses with 44, for a negative 221 yards.

    — Ranked 106th in penalties allowed with 42, resulting in nearly 75 backward yards per game.

    — Ranked 104th in time of possession at 27 minutes, 24 seconds, meaning opponents are on the field longer and run more plays, as in the 94 racked up by Arizona State last week, the most Tedford could recall a team ever running against him.

    Wonder why fans don’t want to go in person?

  • Juancho

    Wehofx im taking under.

    Sacks on maynard at 4.

    Keenan allen slips at 1.

    Sebastian tackles at 10.

  • Easy Ed

    Oh Moron! Now I see why you hate Cal football (other than the fact that the University rejected your pathetic application for admission). I got the article and the sorry state of Cal football but what you missed is the description of the conduct of that sleaze Sarkisian and his lap dog Tosh Lupoi, The Shaq Thompson visit is really a chicken _hit act. I don’t care of Tedfprd is fired and 20 years go by but that scumbag Lupoi should be persona non grata at Cal forever. If Lupoi ever coaches at Cal again, that will be my last day as a Cal fan. Lupoi belongs with that Pete Carroll trained creep Sarkisian and when Sark leaves Washington for the NFL in a couple of years or if he’s fired I hope he takes that lapdog along for the ride. You see Moron being a Bear and bleeding Blue and Gold is something neither you of Tosh Lupoi will never understand.

  • Dan

    Easy Ed- with all due respect, re: Lupoi, you don’t know the whole story and there are two sides to every story. Actually more like 3 side. Each of theirs and the truth.

    There are many Cal fans that have gotten over their anger at Luopi. I’m sure he could probably handled with more class, but there is more there to his side than you know.

    I’d take him back in considering Wilcox as HC. The guy is one of the best Recruiters in the nation and we need the type of talent he can bring to compete for P12 championships.

    Having played at DeLa Salle, I have/want to believe there is morals there. If I knew the whole story, I might feel strongly either way. But I sure as heck would be willing to listen and learn.

  • Easy Ed

    I agree Dan, I don’t know the whole story, but what I do know about the Shaq Thompson situation there is no explanation which would have Tosh recruiting for Cal one day and then going back the next to recruit for UW. Additionally, what other than underhanded crap would have Tedford waiting for him at an airport while he was closing the deal with that sleaze Sarkisian? Like I said it’s one thing to move on for career and family reasons but the crap he pulled? There is no explanation other than he wanted to set the house on fire before he left it. No, I don’t want to see that scumbag in Blue and Gold as long as I live.