Aug. 5, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 1: Saturday, September 2; 2:30 p.m. (PT)
Cal (0-0) vs. Tennessee (0-0)
Knoxville, Tenn.; Neyland Stadium (104,047)
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 0-0
2005 Record: 8-4
2005 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 4-4/4th
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 33-17/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 2
Series Record: 1-1
First Meeting: Sept. 10, 1977, UC, 27-17
Last Meeting: Oct. 3, 1987, UT, 38-12
at Knoxville: 1-1
Current Streak: UT W1
Tedford vs. Tennessee: 0-0
The University of California will officially begin its 112th season of football on Sunday as players report to campus for the start of fall training camp. Players (veterans and newcomers) report throughout the day while the first team practice of the 2006 campaign kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Monday with a helmets-only session. The Golden Bears are scheduled to have 23 camp practice sessions, including five days of double-sessions.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
California was picked to finish second in the Pacific-10 Conference in a preseason poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league (full poll on page 3). It is the third consecutive year that the Golden Bears have been tabbed to finish second, which is the highest that Cal has ever been picked, dating back to 1961. Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC is the favorite to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support.
Cal by the Numbers
The University of California enters its 2006 preseason football camp with 18 starters from the 2005 football season back in the fold. Included in that total are seven starters on offense and eight on defense. Cal also returns its ranking place kicker, long snapper and holder, and its top return men.
The Bears have won 26 games over the past three seasons (26-12). It is the most victories by California over a three-year period since the 1949-1950-1951 teams combined to win 27 games. Nationally, Cal's 18 wins over the last two years rank 13th, and the 26 wins during the three-year period is No. 18 in the country.
California is getting plenty of attention from the preseason magazines. The Golden Bears are ranked in the Top 10 in five different football preview publications, including a No. 6 rating in Street & Smith's College Football 2006 Yearbook. In addition, seven different Cal players have been tabbed as preseason All-Americans: linebacker Desmond Bishop, cornerback Daymeion Hughes, tailback Marshawn Lynch, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Tim Mixon, tight end Craig Stevens and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Hughes is rated as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation by Phil Steele's College Football Preview and Lynch is ranked No. 2 among running backs by The Sporting News.
Cal fans and the media can keep up with all the highlights of Marshawn Lynch's junior season by visiting www.Marshawn10.com. The star tailback is a top candidate for numerous awards, including the 2006 Heisman Trophy. The website features highlight video from his first two seasons in Berkeley and will include highlights from each game of the 2006 campaign as the season progresses. Statistics, a complete bio and other information will offer fans and media the opportunity to get to know the running back. In addition, his honors and records and a list of quotes from college football experts, coaches and players from around the nation are available for perusal.
California finished the 2005 season ranked No. 25 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today football polls. It marked the first time since the 1950 and 1951 seasons that Cal had finished a season ranked in the national polls in consecutive years. The Bears were No. 9 in 2004.
Finishing in a Rush
As Marshawn Lynch became healthier in 2005, his productivity took off. Over the final four regular-season contests and the bowl game in Las Vegas, Lynch rushed for an average of 150.6 yards (753 yards over five games). His only game under 100 yards during that period came against top-ranked USC when the sophomore carried the ball just 13 times but still reached 87 yards.
California will return the nation's most productive running back tandem in Marshawn Lynch (1,246 yards) and Justin Forsett (999 yards). Lynch ended the 2005 season seventh in the NCAA rushing stats and Forsett was No. 50. The 2,245 combined yards by the Bear pair is 385 yards more than their closest competition returning from last year -- Rutgers' top two running backs had 1,860 rushing yards last season.
California's 2006 season starts with a bang on Labor Day Weekend. Cal opens the campaign on Sept. 2 in Knoxville against the Tennessee Volunteers. The two schools will also open the 2007 season against each other, when the Vols visit Berkeley on Sept. 1, 2007. The 2006 game at Tennessee will mark the first for Cal against an SEC opponent since 1987 when Cal also visited Knoxville. The game will be televised live by ESPN.
More TV Time
In addition to the Tennessee game, Minnesota (TBS), Portland State (Comcast SportsNet), Oregon (ABC), UCLA (ABC), USC (ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) will be televised. The remainder of the games could all be televised, as well, but full broadcast schedules have not been determined.
California's 2006 schedule will include five games against teams coming off of bowl appearances. The home opener is against Minnesota, which has participated in a school-record four consecutive bowl games. Cal, incidentally, is 3-0 vs. the Big Ten under Jeff Tedford with a win at Michigan State and pair of victories against Illinois. Along with Minnesota, Cal will face the Pac-10's 2005 bowl reps in Arizona State, USC, UCLA and Oregon. Tennessee did not appear in a bowl in 2005, but the Vols lost four of their six games to teams that finished among the nation's top dozen.
The 'All' Guys
California returns five players off of last year's All-Pac-10 squad. Returning first-teamers include cornerback Daymeion Hughes and defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. Second-team all-league choices that are back in the fold include linebacker Desmond Bishop, special teams standout Byron Storer and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Storer was also a second-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection.
Scoring Is Up...
California averaged 32.9 points per game during the 2005 season - the fourth-highest scoring average ever at Cal. In fact, of the top five scoring teams in Golden Bears history, four have been coached by Jeff Tedford. Each of Tedford's Cal teams have averaged at least 32 points per game.
...So Are Tickets
Since the arrival of Jeff Tedford, California's season ticket count has been on a steady climb. The Bears sold 16,200 tickets in 2002, Tedford's first year. His second season resulted in sales of 22,500. In 2004, the number again jumped substantially, up to a then-school-record 34,100. In 2005, California set another mark with 40,134 season tickets sold.
California enters 2006 with an excellent chance of recording its fifth consecutive winning season. That note is significant because Cal has not strung together five straight seasons over the .500 mark since 1948 through 1952. From 1967 through 1971, the Bears did not have a losing season, but two of those records were exactly .500 (5-5).
Mebane in the Middle
California's defense is anchored by one of the best defenders in the country. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, a first-team All-Pac-10 performer a year ago, is back to provide headaches for opposing offensive fronts. Despite facing constant double- and, at times, triple-teams, Mebane led the Bears last season with seven sacks. The extremely active defensive tackle figures to be a candidate for national honors.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC has been picked to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
1. USC (18) - 276
2. California (7) - 247
3. Oregon (3) - 229
4. Arizona State (1) - 204
5. UCLA - 145
6. Arizona - 133
7. Oregon State - 125
8. Washington State - 96
9. Stanford - 90
10. Washington - 50
POLL NOTES: Preseason media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 23 of 45 times and has been very accurate of late in correctly identifying the Conference champ the last six years in a row and six of the last seven. While USC was a unanimous pick to win the Pac-10 the last two seasons, this year's poll with four team registering first-place votes is more typical. Prior to the last two years of unanimous support for the Trojans, at least four team received first-place votes in four of the previous five years.
Cal Preseason All-Americans (first team unless noted)
Desmond Bishop - Street & Smith's
Daymeion Hughes - Blue Ribbon Defense, Playboy Magazine, Rivals.com, Phil Steele's, Lindy's Football Annual (second team), The Sporting News (second team), Street & Smith's (second team)
Marshawn Lynch - Lindy's Football Annual, Rivals.com, The Sporting News, Street & Smith's, Athlon Sports (second team), Phil Steele's (second team)
Brandon Mebane - Athlon Sports, Lindy's Football Annual, The Sporting News, Rivals.com (second team), Street & Smith's (third team), Phil Steele's (fourth team)
Tim Mixon - Street & Smith's (second team)
Craig Stevens - Street & Smith's (hon. mention)
Nu'u Tafisi - Street & Smith's (second team)