Pressure's on Cal, Tedford against Southern Utah

Pressure's on Cal, Tedford against Southern Utah
September 5, 2012, 6:20 pm
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Southern Utah. That should be a W right?Cal gets a second chance to christen remodeled Memorial Stadium with a victory this coming Saturday. They take on the Thunderbirds, a team that lost its opener last week to Utah State and went 6-5 in 2011.That should be a W, right?But nothing feels certain though after the abysmal home opener against Nevada last Saturday. Even three days later, the post-game dissection has the aura of confusion and panic. Defensive players conceded that, as cornerback Steve Williams said, we got fatigued. We were just out of it.Coach Jeff Tedford said his players were not very happy theyre upset, mad about it. Theres no feeling sorry for ourselves. We cant keep looking back, but we cant forget about it. We have to learn from it and improve.REWIND: Pounded by the pistol: Nevada tallies up yards in 31-24 win at Cal
There are many questions in the wake of the 31-24 loss. Questions about learning. About preparation. About scheduling a team that crushed you in 2010 for the stadium opener. About expectations.Questions about Tedford.Make no mistake, Tedford the winningest coach in Cal history - has done more for Cal football than most anyone could have envisioned when he arrived in late 2001. He put the darkness of the Tom Holmoe era so far in the past, some people dont even remember that it ever happened and think its the Bears natural birthright to be considered a Pac-12 title contender. He did more to make the new stadium happen then any other single person. He raised the bar to previously inconceivable heights.But when you raise the bar that high, youre expected to clear it every year. And when you dont and when you open a season of high expectations with a loss to Nevada - people start talking about your job security.Thats happening right now, all around the Bay Area. It will happen on the Chronicle Live Blitz tonight. Is Tedford on the hot seat?The immediate answer is no. He signed a contract extension through 2015 and theres no way that Cal a public institution is in any position to buy him out of the contract three years early.But that doesnt mean Tedfords seat isnt getting warm enough to cause serious perspiration. A lot of powerful Old Blues donated to make the stadium happen and, darn it, it wasnt so they could see losses to Nevada. A lot of them look across the Bay to Stanford and say, We want what theyve had.Tedford is operating in a world of raised expectations, beyond the hopes and dreams he himself created within Cal. There are exterior expectations as well, with the power move of the Pac-12 conference, the pressure exerted by Stanford (though we will see with the exit of Andrew Luck how sustainable that is) and the overall heightened insanity of college football.The early schedule isnt kind to Cal. The rest of September includes back-to-back trips to Ohio State and USC. The Bears could easily be looking at a 1-3 start.But Southern Utah should be a W, right? Who thought it would come to that?

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