May 18, 2006
BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears continue to garner preseason awards with the 2006 football opener still more than three months away.
Cal is ranked No. 8 by Athlon Sports in the magazine's season preview edition, the publication revealed Thursday. The Athlon poll is the second to rank the Bears eighth nationally, joining Sports Illustrated's SI.com. That web site placed the Bears No. 8 in America in its post-spring rankings.
Athlon also selected Cal's defensive linemen as the best unit in the country when considering individual talent and depth. The California running backs corps is listed No. 2 as a group and the Bears' secondary was voted the 10th best defensive back unit in the country.
Mebane has now been named a preseason All-America by two publications with The Sporting News also placing the Los Angeles senior on its first-team All-America list. Lynch was named a first-team All-American by The Sporting News and Playboy Magazine earlier announced that defensive back Daymeion Hughes had been selected a first-team All-American by that publication.
Two of California' first four opponents in 2006 have also made the Athlon preseason Top 25. California opens the season Sept. 2 at Tennessee and the Volunteers check in at No. 20 and Arizona State, which visits Berkeley on Sept. 23, is ranked No. 23 by Athlon.
The Bears are coming off an 8-4 season that included a win in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl. California ended the 2005 season ranked No. 25 in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls.