Dec. 5, 2004
Below are selected quotes from Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour and quarterback Aaron Rodgers following Cal's invitation to the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. The Bears will play Texas Tech at 5 p.m. Dec. 30 in San Diego.
Head Coach Jeff Tedford
What were your emotions when you found out the news that Cal would not be going to the Rose Bowl?
Obviously, we're very disappointed. We knew we would get the decision today. We had our fingers crossed and I was hoping for the best situation for the kids. I really believed that they deserved it. It was very unfortunate and they were very disappointed today.
What did your gut tell you when you woke up this morning?
Watching TV last night at about 4, 4:45 this morning, it seemed like they were very apprehensive on TV that it may not work out. We were very cautious as we woke up and didn't have my hopes up high. I don't know how all of this works. We were still No. 4 in the coaches poll and AP poll and the computer kicks in. All I know is that I'm very proud of our young men. They've accomplished many, many things this year. Obviously, their sights were set on the Rose Bowl. As a program, we were set on the Rose Bowl. I felt like we did enough to be able to earn that. Unfortunately, it didn't go our way. We're going to regroup and we're going to play in the Holiday Bowl. As of now, the players are disappointed. As we get through the next couple days, they'll have tremendous passion to go play in a great bowl game like the Holiday Bowl. I've been there before and we're looking forward to going there.
There's no use in sitting here whining about it or crying about. Now we move forward. As I told the team, being disappointed is OK, but don't be dejected. They've done a lot of great things and we have a great opportunity to play Texas Tech in a great bowl game like the Holiday Bowl. We're going to set our sights on that and we're going to work hard and I have 100 percent trust that our leadership will surface and we're going to be fine.
What did you tell your players when the Holiday Bowl announcement was made?
You have to understand, as soon as you walk out of a room where they've just been told the news, obviously, there are many emotions that run true to players. They have so much invested in the program and season. Of course, right now, they're feeling frustrated and angry. But I'm sure as we get going in preparation, things will settle in and it will be another game.
Did you feel any anger, initially, when the news broke?
I didn't feel any anger. I don't know what to say about it. Sometimes things aren't fair. Like (Texas head coach) Mack Brown said in the past, they were 10-1 last year and they were No. 5 in the country and they didn't go. When you're fourth in the country and the only team you've lost to is the No. 1 team in the country, there seems to be some injustice there. But I don't have the answer for it. Until we come up with a better answer, we have to live with what it is.
Would it have mattered if your margin of victory against Southern Miss had been greater?
I don't know. We had a couple opportunities early in the game: we missed a field goal, we jumped offsides down on the 1-yard line once. It was a very hostile environment to play in. I'm not sure people can really appreciate the atmosphere at Southern Miss and the way that they play at home. Getting the touchdown called back at the end, I'm not sure if that would have changed anyone's opinion. With 12 seconds to play, to throw the ball into the end zone, what's that going to do to change anyone's mind? It was what it was. I'm not sure if we win by 21 if that would have made much of a difference.
When you were at Oregon, you had a similar experience where you were second in the polls and didn't make it into the title game. Did you learn from that not to get your hopes up?
There's only so much you can control, that's the reality of it. You can control preparation and go play in games and that's what we did. We're 10-1. Some things are out of our control. Back then, at Oregon, I remember taking a stand and saying if we had won all our games, we wouldn't have had to worry about it. Which is the same way here. If we would have beat USC, then we wouldn't have to worry about it. We did as much as we can do with the one defeat. We have to feel good about our team's accomplishments: where they rank in the nation, where they rank in the Pac-10. We're the only team in Division I-A that's in the top six in scoring offense and defense. These guys have done a great job. Our margin of victory is 24 points. So, they've done a lot of great things. Maybe we're just not on the map yet and maybe we need to continue to work hard, which we will, to gain the respect as a football program when it comes down to these types of situations.
If the Southern Miss game had been played when originally scheduled and you had finished the lopsided victory against Stanford, do you think things may have worked out different?
I don't know; who knows? Everything is so up in the air. I don't know if yesterday's game was the game that turned everyone's head, then that's a pretty sad statement. It's about a season. We played great football all year long. I don't think it's about a single game. That seems to be what it's all about. It seems like it was, `This is the one game to show who you are.' It's not that one game, in my opinion. We played a lot of good football all year long. Unfortunately, that seems like what it comes down to is the last game. If the Stanford game was the last game, maybe it would have been different. I don't know.
Athletic Director Sandy Barbour
Reaction to the announcement:
We're certainly disappointed that the calculations came out the way they did. What cannot get lost in this is the exceptional season that our football program had and the job that Jeff Tedford and his staff and those young men did. 10-1, you've heard it before, speaks for itself. What a fabulous, fabulous season. The Holiday Bowl is a great bowl and we'll go down there and play a phenomenal opponent and have a good football game.
Would you like to have a playoff now?
It doesn't sound good. A playoff has its own problems. I've obviously thought a lot about this in the course of the last few hours, and, in reality the course of the last few weeks. Until I or any of us come up with the perfect solution, I think we have to go with what we have.
On how the BCS system could be amended:
The BCS system has been changed every year. Its formulas have been altered and we've tried to tweak things to make it better and address some of the issues and I don't know whether those tweaks have been helpful or not. Two tweaks ago, is Cal in? Maybe we are. The fact of the matter remains that there is no perfect solution, and this is the system we're in this year and the calculations didn't fall our way.
Does it bother you that you fill all this criteria and you get the rug pulled out from under you?
I believe that this team deserved to go. That bothers me, yes. There are other teams that have arguments the other way, too. What is important is to honor this team for their accomplishments. It's been absolutely phenomenal. I talked to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau this morning, and we're just so proud of this team and these young men and what they've done. Not only on the football field, but off it and how they represented this institution. My greatest fear is that this takes away from their accomplishments and you can't let that happen.
On possible imperfections of the BCS system:
It is what it is. Until I or someone else can come up with a perfect system, there will be flaws. Does this look flawed? Yes, it does.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
On Saturday's 26-16 defeat of Southern Mississippi:
I thought we went down there and played well. We got the win. There was no reason to believe we wouldn't go to the Rose Bowl.
What are your emotions right now?
I'm frustrated, not surprised. I've been a college football fan all my life, and I've seen the BCS. There's been controversy every year, so I think it shows it's a faulty system. We need to do something to change it up so there's not discrepancy every year. Auburn's probably pretty ticked off, too. Put the top eight teams in a playoff system. We have three weeks between the end of the season and bowl games. Make a playoff system so there can be a clear-cut winner. Division I-AA, II, III - they all have a playoff system. Why not Division I-A football? It doesn't make any sense.
On how he found out Cal's bowl destination:
I checked the polls when I woke up this morning and I had a bad feeling when I saw how (Texas) gained votes in both the AP poll and ESPN poll. So I figured it might not work out for us.
Are their any positives from this season?
We were 10-1. The only game we lost was to the top team in the country. Anyone who watched that game knows that we dominated that game in yards and first downs in a hostile environment. We just couldn't get the job done in the last two possessions, and we had some special teams miscues. It's just too bad that not only are we underrated as a team, but as individuals. I just hope USC represents us well in the national championship game.
Do you think that if the Southern Miss game was played when it was originally scheduled for and you finish with the 41-6 win against Stanford, that you might be in a different situation?
I don't know, because after the Stanford game we lost votes in both polls. We won 41-6 and Texas was off and we lose votes in both polls. That doesn't make any sense to me. I knew we had to have a convincing win last night. (Southern Miss) is good team and they play well against ranked teams when they come into their house. We played good enough to win, but we didn't run the score up. I guess it wasn't good enough for the voters.
What are your thoughts on the Holiday Bowl?
It's going to be fun. The bowl experience, as a whole, is a great time. I love the city of San Diego. I'm excited about going down there. Texas Tech is a pretty good team. I talked to my buddy, Jason White of Oklahoma, and he said they're one of the best teams they played this year. He said they have a great defense. We can't wait to go down there and show the nation what we're all about. It's going to be a statement game for us. We do feel like we got snubbed, so we have to go down there and make a statement.