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Football: Will schedule toughen or ruin Bears?

Will a treacherous nonconference schedule prepare the Cal football team for rough waters in the Pac-12 Conference or send its season into the rocks?

Cal fans will not like the answer history suggests.

The Golden Bears kick off their schedule Saturday night against No. 22 Northwestern in coach Sonny Dykes’ debut at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. for a game the nation will watch on ESPN2.

Another Big Ten heavyweight looms in two weeks when No. 2 Ohio State visits Berkeley. Then, after a week off, the Bears open conference play at No. 3 Oregon — the first of five ranked Pac-12 teams Cal will face.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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LOADING UP IN NONCONFERENCE

Cal is 2-19 in games played when it’s faced two (or more) Top-25 opponents during the nonconference portion of its schedule:

– 1953: lost 25-0 at home to No. 20 Baylor; lost 33-19 at home to No. 6 Ohio State; won 40-0 on the road vs. No. 20 Penn. Final season record: 4-4-2.

– 1954: lost 27-13 at home to No. 2 Oklahoma; lost 21-13 on the road to No. 14 Ohio State. Final season record: 5-5.

– 1959: lost 42-12 at home to No. 13 Iowa; lost 33-0 on the road to No. 10 Texas. Final season record: 2-8.

– 1961: lost 28-3 at home to No. 4 Texas; lost 28-7 on the road to No. 1 Iowa. Final season record: 1-8-1.

– 1965: lost 48-3 at home to No. 3 Notre Dame; lost 10-7 on the road to No. 4 Michigan. Final season record: 5-5.

– 1969: lost 17-0 at home to No. 4 Texas; won 17-14 on the road vs. No. 10 Indiana. Final season record: 5-5.

– 1971: lost 51-20 in Little Rock, Ark., to No. 7 Arkansas; lost 35-3 on the road to No. 14 Ohio State. Final season record: 6-5.

– 1972: lost 20-10 on the road to No. 2 Colorado; lost 35-18 at home to No. 3 Ohio State. Final season record: 3-8.

– 1976: lost 36-24 on the road to No. 16 Georgia; lost 28-17 on the road to No. 4 Oklahoma. Final season record: 5-6. 

– 1999: lost 45-0 on the road vs. No. 5 Nebraska; lost 38-28 on the rod vs. No. 24 BYU. Final season record: 4-7 (later changed to 0-11 after forfeits).

 

Posted on Friday, August 30th, 2013
Under: Football, Scheduling | 8 Comments »
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Football: 2014 Big Game stays at Berkeley

Greeted in recent days by a firestorm of opposition from its fans, Cal announced the 2014 Big Game against Stanford will remain at Memorial Stadium and would not be moved to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour announced the decision in a letter to fans and supporters.

Barbour said all aspects of the proposal were considered, but that the athletic department reached out to alumni, students, donors and ticket holders to solicit feedback.

“We listened to — and are grateful for — what they told us,” she wrote.

Jeffrey Warren, who broke the story last Friday that the game might be move through his blog, “A Cal Fan’s View,” was pleased.

“I”m excited. I’m happy for the kids,” said Warren, suggesting most of them wouldn’t have made the trip from Berkeley to Santa Clara. “The students would be playing beer pong in the fraternities and watching the game on TV.”

*** Click here to read Sandy Barbour’s entire letter.

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Posted on Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Under: Football, Scheduling | 6 Comments »
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Football: 49ers propose Cal, Stanford play 2014 Big Game at Levi Stadium — no deal set yet

The 49ers and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority have proposed to Cal and Stanford that the 2014 Big Game be played at the new Levi Stadium, a Cal athletic department official confirmed Friday.

No deal has been agreed upon and both schools would have to sign on. The move to Santa Clara would be a one-time arrangement.

The 2014 Big Game currently is scheduled to be played at Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium. If it’s moved to the 49ers’ new facility, it would be designated a neutral-site game, and the series would resume in 2015 at Berkeley.

There is no date yet for the 2014 Big Game. The Bears and Cardinal square off in this year’s Big Game on Nov. 23 at Stanford Stadium.

 

Posted on Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Under: Football, Scheduling | 15 Comments »
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Football: Bears’ schedule looking very tough

Need more evidence that Cal is about to embark on one of the nation’s most rigorous schedules?

The USA Today’s coaches poll was released Thursday, and Cal faces three teams ranked in the top four and seven in the top-25.

Whoa!

Previously, Phil Steele ranked Cal’s schedule the nation’s third-toughest and The Sporting News placed it as No. 4.

Here’s how the gauntlet unfolds:

– Aug. 31: vs. No. 22 Northwestern

– Sept. 14 vs. No. 2 Ohio State

– Sept. 28 at No. 3 Oregon

– Oct. 12 at No. 21 UCLA

– Oct. 19 vs. No. 25 Oregon State

– Nov. 9 vs. No. 24 USC

– Nov. 23 at No. 4 Stanford

 

 

Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013
Under: Football, Rankings, Scheduling | 8 Comments »
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Football: Sporting News ranks Bears’ non-conference schedule sixth-best in the country

We all know Cal’s non-conference football schedule is good — maybe too good — and The Sporting News ranks it as the sixth-best in the country.

Here’s how TSN rates the best and worst schedules in the land: 

Top 10

1. SMU: Texas Tech, Montana State, at Texas A&M, at TCU

2. Arizona State: Sacramento State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame (Arlington, Texas)

3. Florida: Toledo, at Miami, Georgia Southern, Florida State

4. Oklahoma: Louisiana-Monroe, Tulsa, at Notre Dame

5. Clemson: Georgia, South Carolina State, Citadel, at South Carolina.

6. California: Northwestern, Portland State, Ohio State

7. Georgia: at Clemson, North Texas, Appalachian State, at Georgia Tech.

8. South Carolina: North Carolina, at UCF, Coastal Carolina, Clemson

9. Purdue: at Cincinnati, Indiana State, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois

10. Virginia: BYU, Oregon, VMI, Ball State

By conference: SEC (3), Pac-12 (2), ACC (2), Big Ten (1), Big 12 (1), AAC (1).

Bottom 10

1. Kansas State: North Dakota State, Louisiana-Lafayette, UMass

2. Baylor: Wofford, Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe

3. Texas Tech: at SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State

4. Kansas: South Dakota, at Rice, Louisiana Tech

5. Duke: NC-Central, at Memphis, Troy, Navy

6. Vanderbilt: Austin Peay, at UMass, UAB, Wake Forest

7. Louisville: Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, at Kentucky, FIU

8. Arizona: Northern Arizona, at UNLV, at Texas-San Antonio

9. Texas A&M: Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, UTEP

10. NC State: Louisiana Tech, Richmond, Central Michigan, ECU

By conference: Big 12 (4), SEC (2), ACC (2), Pac-12 (1), AAC (1).

Posted on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Under: Football, Scheduling | 3 Comments »
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Football: From Aug. 29 through Dec. 7 — the complete 2013 Pac-12 Conference schedule

2013 Pac-12 Conference Football Schedule

Thurs., Aug 29
USC at Hawai’i
Utah State at UTAH

Sat., Aug 31
Northern Arizona at ARIZONA
Nevada at UCLA
Colorado State vs. COLORADO (1)
Nicholls State at OREGON
Eastern Washington at OREGON STATE
Boise State at WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON STATE at Auburn
Northwestern at CALIFORNIA

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Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Under: Football, Pac-12 news, Scheduling | 3 Comments »
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Football: An analysis of Cal’s 2013 schedule

Lots to like about the Bears’ 2013 schedule, starting with a bye between the nonconference and Pac-12 games, which the 2012 team did not get.

And, of course, the Big Game will end the regular season on Nov. 23, returning to its traditional spot on the schedule. Everyone should like that a year after Cal hosted Stanford on Oct. 20 and suffered a 21-3 loss that triggered a five-game, season-ending skid that left the Bears 3-9 and led to coach Jeff Tedford’s firing.

But . . .

New coach Sonny Dykes won’t have it easy.

First of all, as previously announced, the Bears open Aug. 31 at home against a Northwestern team that was 10-3 last season and won the Gator Bowl. Cal has scheduled the Wildcats during what one day may be regarded as the golden era of Northwestern football. A tough opener.

OK, then a win over an FCS Portland State squad that was 3-8 and lost to Washington 52-13.

Then a third straight home game, against Ohio State, 12-0 a year ago, now free of NCAA sanctions and 6-1 all-time vs. Cal. The Bears’ most recent win over the Buckeyes: 28-0 in the Jan. 1, 1921 Rose Bowl.

Cal jumps right into the deep end of the Pac-12 schedule with a Sept. 28 game at Oregon. The Bears also face challenging road conference matchups against UCLA, Washington and Stanford.

The only Pac-12 road game that appears favorable for the Bears is a Nov. 16 game at Colorado and new coach Mike MacIntyre. And Cal struggled to a 36-33 overtime win at CU when the teams last played in 2011.

So, five conference road games — four of them very difficult.

The conference home schedule is not particularly sexy, with games against WSU, OSU and Arizona before USC visits on Nov. 9. The Bears lost to the Beavers and Trojans last fall and did not face the Wildcats.

It’s the dawn of a new era at Berkeley with Dykes running the show. But the Bears will be challenged in 2013.

Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Under: Football, Scheduling | 3 Comments »
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Football: Big Game set for Nov. 23 at Stanford

The Big Game is back where it’s supposed to be — in late November.

Click here for my story.

The 2013 Pac-12 Conference football schedule was announced Thursday, and Cal will visit Stanford on Nov. 23.

The Bears get a Sept. 21 bye before the start of a nine-game conference run. They play Oct. 28 at Oregon to open their Pac-12 schedule.

Cal plays only Saturday games in 2013 and skips Arizona and Utah. Game times will be announced at a later date.

Here are the official news releases from Cal and the Pac-12.

2013 Cal Football Schedule

Saturday, Aug. 31 vs. Northwestern
Saturday, Sept. 7 vs. Portland State
Saturday, Sept. 14 vs. Ohio State
Saturday, Sept. 21 bye
Saturday, Sept. 28 at Oregon
Saturday, Oct. 5 vs. Washington State
Saturday, Oct 12 at UCLA
Saturday, Oct. 19 vs. Oregon State
Saturday, Oct. 26 at Washington
Saturday, Nov. 2 vs. Arizona
Saturday, Nov. 9 vs. USC
Saturday, Nov. 16 at Colorado
Saturday, Nov. 23 at Stanford

 

Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Under: Football, Scheduling | 4 Comments »
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Football: Bears’ 2013 non-conference schedule set — new coach will open with 3 straight at home

Cal’s new football coach will make his debut Aug. 31 at Memorial Stadium against Northwestern and will be on the home sidelines for at least the Bears’ first three games next season.

Cal announced the non-conference portion of its 2013 schedule on Thursday, and the Bears will play Portland State on Sept. 7, then Ohio State on Sept. 14, both at home. The Northwestern and Ohio State games were announced previously.
 
The Bears are in the midst of a coach search after firing Jeff Tedford on Nov. 20 after 11 seasons.
 
Pac-12 home games next season will feature Arizona, Oregon State, USC and Washington State, giving Cal a total of seven games in Berkeley. The Bears will face Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Washington on the road.
 
Dates for the Pac-12 schedule will be announced in January.
 
Cal misses Arizona State and Utah State next season.
 
The school also announced a home-and-home series with San Diego State in 2015 and ’16, with the Aztecs visiting Berkeley on Sept. 12, 2015, and Cal traveling to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016.
 
Cal previously announced a home-and-home series with Texas in 2015 and ’16.
 

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Under: Football, Scheduling | 8 Comments »
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Football: Cal-Utah game set for 6:45 p.m. kickoff

Cal’s game at Utah on Oct. 27 will kick off at 6:45 p.m. PDT on the Pac-12 Networks, the conference announced.

 

Posted on Monday, October 15th, 2012
Under: Football, Scheduling | 2 Comments »
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