The California Golden Bears football team currently plays in the Pac-12 conference of Division I college football. They are coached by Jeff Tedford, who is entering his seventh year as Cal head coach. They have made five consecutive bowl appearances under his tenure
Steve Mariucci would take over the program for one season, leading them to a 5-0 start, but would leave at the end of the season to take a head coaching job with the San Francisco 49ers. The pre-Tedford era would end on a bleak note, with a season where the Bears would only win one game in Rutgers in 2001 under maligned coach Tom Holmoe.
The Tedford eraEdit
Jeff Tedford, Oregon's former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, would replace the fired Holmoe after a 1-10 season. In his first year, he would lead Cal to a 70-22 victory over Baylor, surprise Michigan State on the road and conclude the season with a smashing of Stanford and won the Big Game for the first time in several seasons; because of the probations from the Holmoe era, they were not eligible for a bowl despite a 7-5 record.
In the 2003 season, Cal upset undefeated USC (a team that would go onto win the AP National Championship that season) 34-31 in triple overtime in Strawberry Canyon, and concluded the season with a 52-49 victory in the Insight Bowl versus Virginia Tech.
The 2004 season would begin with high hopes as the Bears started the season ranked and rolled through September at 4-0. They would come nine yards short at #1 USC, losing 23-17--Aaron Rodgers would set an NCAA record by completing 23 straight passes and brought the Golden Bears to the doorstep of #1. Despite not losing again that season (and crushing Stanford 41-6), the Bears would be passed over for an at-large bid by Texas, who gained the trip to Pasadena after they were passed over for a BCS bid the season previous. The season would finish with a loss in San Diego in the Holiday Bowl.
The 2005 season saw some uncertainty in quarterback play, but it would still feature the Bears's first 5-0 start since the Mariucci era. Although they would only finish the season 7-4, they would maintain the hold of the Axe and would win their bowl game in the Las Vegas Bowl, beating BYU 35-28.
The 2006 season started with high hopes and their best ranking in years, but a crushing loss in Rocky Top to the Tennessee Volunteers in the first game of the season would set those hopes back drastically. However, the Bears would recover and win their next 8 games in a row, and would finish the season 9-3 after being upset by Arizona and losing a close game to the Trojans in Los Angeles. They would win the Axe and share the Pac-10 title with USC, winning their first Pac-10 title since 1975, and would finish the season by destroying Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl, 45-10.
The 2007 season would also start the season with similar high hopes, and they would avenge their loss to Tennessee, winning the season opener 45-31. After Cal started the season 5-0 (including a tight victory in Autzen Stadium, the Bears's first victory in the stadium in decades), they would tumble and lose six of their next seven, including losing the Axe for the first time since 2001. The disappointing finish to the season would cause Tedford to reevaluate his decision making for the next season, including relinquishing playcalling duties.
The 2008 season would have more diminished expectations with so much offensive star power departing, but they would have a solid season and finish with an 8-4 season, including regaining the Axe. The Bears would also win their bowl game, beating the Miami Hurricanes 24-17 in the Emerald Bowl.