Football: Big Game activity schedule

Cal’s Big Game activity schedule:

11 am – Cable Car Rally Begins (Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco)
Noon – Cable Car Rally Ends (Union Square, San Francisco)
7 p.m. – Inside The Locker Room Radio Show (Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, 200 Marina Boulevard, Berkeley)

11:30 am – The Big Sail (St. Francis Yacht Club, 99 Yacht Road, San Francisco)
Noon – Tree Chopping Rally (Sproul Hall, Berkeley)

#11 a.m. – Guardsmen Big Game Luncheon (Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco)
7:30 p.m. – The Big Sing (Wheeler Auditorium, Berkeley)

All Day – Big Give (online at BigGive.berkeley.edu)
8 p.m. – Night Rally (Starts at Bowles Hall, runs thru campus and City of Berkeley ending at Sproul Plaza)

6 p.m. (Doors)/Approximately 7 p.m. (Rally) – Bonfire Rally (The Greek Theatre, Berkeley)

#1 p.m. – The 117th Big Game, Stanford at Memorial Stadium


Football: Mediocrity on both sides of Big Game

Saturday’s 117th Big Game will be the first in 11 years where neither Cal nor Stanford enters with a winning record.

Both teams are 5-5 and in need of one more victory to become bowl eligible.

Not since 2003 has neither team in the rivalry had a winning record entering the Big Game. Cal was 6-6 going in that year, Stanford 4-5. The Bears won 28-16 and went on to beat Virginia Tech 52-49 at the Insight Bowl to finish 8-6.

The Bears want to reclaim The Axe after four straight wins by Stanford. The Cardinal routed Cal 63-13 last season and has outscored the Bears 163 to 58 the past four years.

Also at stake Saturday in Berkeley is second place in the Pac-12 North. A victory would lift the Bears to 4-5 in the conference, assuring them no worse than a tie for second. Stanford, which is 3-4, plays one more Pac-12 game the following week, at home against UCLA.

Cal’s season finale on Nov. 29 is at home against BYU, a nonconference foe.

The Big Game kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be televised on FoxSports1.


Football: Big Game set for 1 p.m. kickoff

Saturday’s Big Game at Memorial Stadium has been set for a 1 p.m. kickoff, Cal announced Saturday night.

The game will be aired on FoxSports 1.

Both Cal and Stanford will enter the game still needing one more victory to become eligible. Cal is 5-5 overall, 3-5 in the Pac-12 after its 38-30 loss at USC on Thursday night. Stanford is 5-5, 3-4 in conference play following a 20-17 double-overtime loss on Saturday to Utah.


Football: Cal-USC game thread

Bowl eligibility for the Cal football team will have to wait for another day.

The Golden Bears were no match for USC when it mattered Thursday night, losing 38-30 in front of 64,615 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and a nationwide ESPN audience.

Cal was hoping for a sixth win and the chance to play in the postseason for the first time in three years. Instead, the Trojans prevailed for the 11th straight time – matching their longest win streak in the century-old series.

The Bears trailed 31-2 late in the first half before making things briefly interesting late. Jared Goff’s third touchdown pass of the game, a 29-yarder to Stephen Anderson with 1:36 left, got Cal within eight points.

USC averted further drama by recovering Cal’s onside kick try. The Trojans then ran out the clock.

“It’s discouraging because we lost,” Goff said. “We played well at times and probably worse at more times.

“If you’re going to beat a team like USC, or any good team in this conference, you can’t shoot yourself in the foot,” he said of the Bears’ poor start. ”It put us too far behind.”

Nothing worked for Cal early in this one. Not only was the Bears’ beleaguered defense once more taken apart, but their high-scoring offense was stifled by the Trojans.

Goff was hounded much of the night and running back Daniel Lasco often found nowhere to run. Goff finished with 279 passing yards, but had just 96 at halftime. Lasco ran for 53 of his 86 yards after halftime when the Trojans were content to protect a lead.

“It shows that we’re still not there,” Lasco said.

The Bears (5-5, 3-5 Pac-12) have two more chances to secure bowl eligibility, beginning a week from Saturday against a Stanford team that beat them 63-13 a year ago. Cal closes its season a week after that with a home game against BYU.

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Football: Cal vs. USC facts


RECORDS: Cal 5-4, 3-4 in Pac-12; USC 6-3, 5-2.

KICKOFF: 6 p.m. Thursday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.


SERIES HISTORY: USC leads 66-30-5. USC won 62-28 last season and has won 10 straight in the series. Cal’s most recent victory in Los Angeles was in 2000.

STORYLINES: Cal needs one win in its final three games to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. A victory over USC would accomplish that and prevent the Trojans from matching their longest-ever wins streak of 11 games (1959-69) over the Bears. . . . Cal hopes to continue a conference-wide trend of success by visiting teams in Pac-12 games. Road teams are 26-13 in conference games, including Cal’s 2-1 record. . . . The Bears expect to have their receiving corps intact for the first time in three weeks with the likely return of Kenny Lawler and Trevor Davis. . . . This is only the second non-Thanksgiving, regular-season game the Trojans have played on a Thursday at the L.A. Coliseum.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – DE Brennan Scarlett (knee) is out. S Avery Sebastian (quadriceps), WR Trevor Davis (neck) and WR Kenny Lawler (ankle) will play. USC – S John Plattenburg (thigh) is doubtful. FB Soma Vainuku (hamstring) and S Leon McQuay III (shoulder) are probable. LB Su’a Cravens (ankle) will play.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal cornerbacks Cedric Dozier and Cam Walker vs. USC receivers Nelson Agholor and JuJu Smith. The Bears — allowing NCAA-worst marks of 376.4 passing yards per game and 33 touchdown passes — will be challenged by the size and skill of Cody Kessler’s primary targets. Agholor, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, and freshman Smith, 6-2, 210, have combined for 104 catches for 1,364 yards and 13 touchdowns. That will be a stiff test for Dozier and Walker, neither of them 6 feet tall.

STATS THAT MATTER: Jared Goff, with 27 touchdown passes this season, needs one to move even with Kyle Boller (2002) for second on Cal’s single-season list. Pat Barnes (1996) holds the school record with 31. . . . Junior RB Daniel Lasco has scored at least one touchdown in each of Cal’s past eight games. . . . USC junior RB Buck Allen, the Pac-12′s leading rusher with 1,124 yards, has a streak of six consecutive 100-yard rushing performances. He had 135 yards and scored three touchdowns against Cal last year, and is on pace to become USC’s first conference rushing leader since 1989.


Football: It’s all on the line for Cal, USC

Cal’s struggles against USC — a current 10-game losing streak and only four road victories since 1958 — aren’t primarily the work of O.J. Simpson, Marcus Allen and Carson Palmer.

“The skill position players win the Heisman Trophies,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “But you look at their history and they’ve always had good offensive and defensive lines. That’s how they’ve built their program over the years.”

Those are the battles the Bears (5-4, 3-4 Pac-12) must win Thursday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum if they hope to topple the Trojans (6-3, 5-2) in a game that could earn Cal bowl eligibility for the first time in three seasons.

“We’ve got to bring the fight to them. It’s a big challenge for the offensive and defensive lines,” Cal defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil said. “I’m 100 percent confident in our team. We’re ready to come down and get some of that Trojan.”

It won’t be easy. It never is against the Trojans, who feed the NFL a consistent diet of talented linemen.

Eighteen USC alums are playing on NFL lines. Since 1970, the school has produced 26 linemen drafted in the first round.

The current Trojans measure up nicely to that legacy. Dykes called junior center Max Tuerk “one of the best linemen I’ve seen.” Junior defensive end Leonard Williams is projected by CBS Sports as the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

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Football: Will Cal play chicken in bowl season?

The San Francisco Bowl, formerly known as the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, has a new title sponsor and name: The Foster Farms Bowl.

In its 13th season overall, the Foster Farms Bowl is of potential interest to Cal fans because it will pair teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at Levi’s Stadium.

Cal needs one more victory to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.

Gary Cavalli, co-founder and executive director of the Foster Farms Bowl, said the game’s mission remains the same.

“Even though the game will no longer be called the ‘Fight Hunger Bowl’ we will continue our initiatives to fight hunger in the Bay Area,” Cavalli said. “Every ticket sold to the game is a ‘meal ticket’ for a hungry family in the Bay Area, generating donations to our partner organizations – Glide, St. Anthony’s, SF-Marin Food Bank, Alameda County Community Food Bank, and Second Harvest Food Bank.”

The previous 12 games in the bowl series all were played at AT&T Park.


Football: Ex-Cal star Mebane out for NFL season

Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane will miss the rest of the season for the Seattle Seahawks after being placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a hamstring injury.

The move was expected after coach Pete Carroll said Monday that the injury suffered in Seattle’s 38-17 win over the Giants was “legit.” The team had been waiting for additional results.

Fox Sports first reported that Mebane suffered a torn hamstring. The loss of the Cal product is a blow to Seattle’s run defense, which ranks fourth in the league at 79.8 yards per game. Mebane has also been in on the most snaps of any of Seattle’s defensive tackles.

Mebane appeared to have been hurt early in the second quarter while chasing down a wide receiver screen. Eli Manning completed a short pass for Reuben Randle and Mebane appeared to grab at the back of his right leg while running after him.


Football: Dykes chuckles at silly idea of the day

Sonny Dykes said after practice Tuesday he had not heard about Yahoo! columnist Pat Forde’s published speculation that Dykes might an interested candidate for the vacant Southern Methodist University job.

One year after talk that Dykes’ job at Cal was in jeopardy because of a 1-11 maiden season, he’s now being mentioned as a possible candidate elsewhere.

“That’s how it goes,” Dykes said. “You’re either on one list or the other.”

In defense of Forde, I guess when you’ve got to make 40 (Forde) points in your column, you’re bound to have a couple that don’t have much basis in reality.

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Football: No Big Game kickoff announced Monday

We normally learn Monday morning the start times and TV info for Pac-12 football games scheduled for the following week.

But we have no word on Nov. 22 when Cal and Stanford will wage the Big Game at Memorial Stadium.

TV is exercising its right to hold off on scheduling for that day until at least this Saturday night, after the completion of all Pac-12 games. It’s possible final word won’t come until Sunday, or even Monday.

Word is there are five possible time slots/TV affiliations for these three games: USC at UCLA, Arizona at Utah and Stanford at Cal.

They are 12:30 p.m. on ABC regional; 12:30 p.m. on ESPN; 1 p.m. on FoxSports1; 4 p.m. on ESPN2; 5 p.m. on ABC.

We do know that the Big Game will not be televised the Pac-12 Networks. They are taking three games that day: Washington State at Arizona State (10 a.m.), Oregon State at Washington (no time yet) and Colorado at Oregon (no time).

Stay tuned.