2012: Another referendum on Jeff Tedford

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2012: Another referendum on Jeff Tedford

Californias new football season, which begins Saturday against the Nevada Fighting Kaepernicks, is yet another referendum on Jeff Tedford. His ability to create a quarterback out of whole cloth, to steal 10 wins out of an eight-win schedule, to reprise his starting point 10 years ago.

What it is likely to be, though, is a celebration of new architecture. Memorial Stadium has been gussied up, even though it hasnt been fully paid for, and while that may mollify the fan base a bit, eventually it will come back to the central frustration in Berkeley.

Namely, that Oregon has overtaken it, Washington is closing fast, Stanfords most recent renaissance is not yet close to being done, and the window of opportunity without USC is closing again.

Tedfords regime has been by any measure a successful one, with the notable exception of the lack of a Rose Bowl appearance. In that way, he has matched the efforts of the previous nine coaches.

And while his true legacy at Cal is that he has been better at developing running backs, offensive and defensive linemen and defensive backs, he has annoyed some segments of the customer base by (a) promising too much too soon, and (b) watching as other conference schools developed new streams of income while his own has not.

Sure, wed like to humor those of you in the Anti-Tedford by saying he isnt a great play-caller, but since the chances of you knowing more about play-calling than him is essentially zero, well dismiss that one out of hand.

Nevertheless, Cals 11th version of TedfordBall is another strange one to comprehend based on such little evidence. There is still no Aaron Rodgers clone, the rest of the talent base is solid but not breathtaking, and there is the pretty new architecture to take into account.

Ultimately, though, Cals greatest challenge comes not by the identity of its coach, though, but as the new world order imposes itself on the Pac-12, the most traditionally hidebound of conferences.

The game hasnt changed, but the business has. All the new money that comes to Cal is the same money that goes to Washington State and Colorado and Arizona, and the same advantages that the schools with the flushest donors have remain the same advantages. The new TV money gets Cals athletic department out of debt, but the laws of supply and demand still are in force, and more stridently than ever.

First, everyone gets the same amount of TV money. Second, profit-making programs will always have an inherent advantage because that money doesnt stop coming in, and as the notions of revenue sharing with smaller schools become more and more objectionable to the financial powers, the pressure on mid-level programs like Cals will become that much greater.

And third, these are just plain volatile times in the business of squeezing money out of free labor.

These are athletic directors problems, true, but athletic directors can be loyal to their employees up to a point. The new money simply makes life more stressful.

As for Tedford, his task is to adjust to a wild new landscape in which coaches leashes are shorter because of the growing money, while waiting for new alums with open wallets come to Berkeley in hopes of keeping up with the heavy hitters elsewhere in the conference.

Even in a cyclical world like sports, the hierarchy in college football is pretty well set in concrete. His years at Cal have made the Bears a solid achiever competitively, but not a perennial power; these are the best times Cal has had in 60 years, but they remain an arms distance behind the ones who are.

Tedford represents surety, and continuity. He ranks 10th of the 124 FBS coaches in time served in one place, and he has watched 204 coaching changes occur in that time, not counting interims. In case youre wondering, those ahead of him remain:

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech (26 years)
Larry Blakeney, Troy (22 years)
Mack Brown, Texas (15)
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, and Bob Stoops, Oklahoma (14)
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest (12), Gary Patterson, TCU, Gary Pinkel, Missouri, and Mark Richt, Georgia (12).

And as much as college football is in flux, and the odds against a coaching getting into double digits at one place grow, this year referendum on Tedford will miss the point as much as all the others have. Cal needs to find out where it fits in the new world order well before it decides what to do about its most successful coach in six decades.

In the meantime, wont the stadium look pretty?

Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57

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Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57

PROVO, Utah — Saint Mary's knows all about the raucous atmosphere at BYU. The Gaels hadn't won in Provo since 2013 and had only come out on top in three of their previous 12 trips.

Make it four out of 13.

Calvin Hermanson scored 17 points and No. 22 Saint Mary's cruised to a 70-57 victory over BYU on Saturday night, snapping a three-game road losing streak to its West Coast Conference rival.

"It's definitely one of the tougher places to play for us," Hermanson said. "Coming in here we know it's a huge crowd and we know they can get riled up on any 3-point shot or any run they make. We wanted to try to limit their runs and their big plays.

"The second half was pretty unbelievable how quiet the crowd was. It felt great for us."

With two games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Gaels (24-3, 14-2) clinched a second-place finish in the conference standings behind top-ranked and undefeated Gonzaga.

Saint Mary's controlled the game most of the night, riding its staunch defense on one end and running efficient offense on the other. The Gaels were able to get to the rim consistently, but also knocked down 10 3-pointers.

BYU (19-10, 10-6) shot 39.7 percent from the field and connected on four 3s.

Evan Fitzner had 15 points for Saint Mary's, including 11 in the second half.

"We didn't turn the ball over and we shot the ball well," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said, "and were able to get some separation and then it made it tough on them. We kind of just wore them out after that.

"We're a little different team with Fitzner out there. He spaces the floor," Bennett added. "We just play a little different with Fitzner out there versus Jock (Landale). It's nice to have a Plan A and Plan B."

Saint Mary's took a 41-30 lead into halftime thanks to Hermanson's hot shooting and plenty of that trademark defense. The Gaels began the day ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, then held the Cougars to 37.9 percent shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes.

Saint Mary's shot 57.1 percent at the other end, including a 3-for-4 effort from Hermanson from behind the arc.

"I feel like we're better than we showed tonight," BYU guard TJ Haws said. "That team made a lot of runs on us. Tough defensive and offensive team. Very poised and disciplined.

"I want our team to just fight. When they punch us in the face, I want us to punch them right back."

BYU kept Landale under control in the half — and in foul trouble throughout — but Saint Mary's scored 22 of its 41 first-half points in the paint.

Eric Mika had 18 points for BYU, and Yoeli Childs added 13.

"The key to the game was that they were comfortable the entire time in our gym," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "That's on us. We need to be ahead. We need to get them to speed up a little bit because they're a little bit uncomfortable.

"But the game went pretty much exactly how they wanted it to go and we couldn't flip it. We couldn't get on top."

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary's: The Gaels will be the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament. No. 1 Gonzaga secured the regular-season title Saturday with a win over Pacific. An early December defeat to UT-Arlington is the Gaels' only bad loss this season, with the other two coming against Gonzaga.

BYU: The Cougars likely needed a win against the No. 22 team in the country to make an argument for the NCAA Tournament off their regular-season credentials. BYU has lost all three games against ranked opponents by double digits, including to Saint Mary's twice, and doesn't have a signature win. The Cougars get one last chance against Gonzaga next Saturday.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

No. 22 Saint Mary's might find itself moving up a bit after No. 17 Florida State and No. 21 South Carolina lost on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary's: Travel to face Pepperdine on Thursday.

BYU: Play at Portland on Thursday.

Pickens, Travis rally Stanford past rival Cal for upset win

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Pickens, Travis rally Stanford past rival Cal for upset win

BOX SCORE

STANFORD -- Dorian Pickens scored 23 points, Reid Travis had 19 with nine rebounds and Stanford held on to beat California 73-68 on Friday night.

Marcus Allen added 11 points for the Cardinal, who overcame an early 12-point deficit to beat their cross-bay rivals for the 21st time in the last 24 meetings between the two teams at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (13-13, 5-9 Pac-12) won for only the second time in seven games and split the season series with California.

Pickens had nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as part of a 20-5 run in the second half when the Cardinal pulled away.

After California closed within 62-56 on Grant Mullins' 3-pointer with 4:54 remaining, Allen made two free throws and Pickens scored on a jumper from the free-throw line as he was falling backward onto the court.

Jabari Bird scored 23 points and set a career-high with seven 3s for the Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5). Ivan Rabb added 16 points and 13 rebounds after being slowed by foul trouble in the first half.