Feb. 3, 2004
BERKELEY - The University of California has signed agreements for home-and-home football games with Tennessee, Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado and Navy, series which will begin within the next six years, Cal Executive Associate Athletic Director for Revenue Sports, Dan Coonan, announced today. Four of the five new opponents (excluding Colorado) played in postseason bowl games this past season.
The Golden Bears, considered one of the rising college football programs in the nation, will launch their home-and-home series with Tennessee on Sept. 2, 2006, when they face the perennial Top 10 ranked Volunteers in 102,854-seat Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. The Volunteers return the favor the following year, opening Cal's 2007 season in Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Sept. 1, 2007.
It will mark the first time that Tennessee has ever made an appearance in the Bay Area. Tennessee, which finished the 2003 regular season with a 10-2 record and No. 6 national ranking by Associated Press, has played in 28 New Year's bowl games during its storied history, including a 23-16 victory over Florida State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl that clinched the Vols' first national championship in 48 years.
In 2006, the Bears also christen a home-and-home arrangement with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, hosting the Big 10 Conference school in Berkeley Sept. 16. California will then travel to Minneapolis three years later to play Minnesota on the road Sept. 19, 2009. The Gophers, which finished 10-3 and ranked among the nation's Top 20 (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) following their stirring 31-30 victory over Oregon in the 2003 Sun Bowl, has made postseason bowl appearances in three of the past five seasons.
Maryland, another traditional football power, squares off against Cal in College Park, Md. on Sept. 13, 2008, then opens the 2009 campaign with a Sept. 5 return trip to the West Coast. The Terrapins, who bowled over West Virginia, 41-7, in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day, concluded this season with a 10-3 mark and No. 3 ranking behind co-national champion USC and LSU in the New York Times computer rankings. The Gator Bowl marked the third straight season that Maryland has played in a bowl game, also appearing in the 2002 Peach Bowl and 2002 Orange Bowl.
Colorado, which missed going to a postseason bowl game this year for only the second time in the last 14 seasons, will play Cal in a home-and-home set in 2010 and 2011. The Buffaloes have posted one of the nation's best records since 1989. During that 14-year period, the Buffs have produced a .702 winning percentage (125-53). As Big 12 Conference champions in 2001, Colorado lost in the Fiesta Bowl (38-16) to an Oregon team that featured Cal Head Coach Jeff Tedford as the Ducks' offensive coordinator.
Navy, which appeared in the 2003 Houston Bowl, hosts the Golden Bears in Annapolis, Md. on Sept. 15, 2007. The Midshipmen then visit Memorial Stadium in Berkeley the following season, appearing Sept. 6, 2008. Head coach Paul Johnson guided the Mids to an 8-5 record this past year, a remarkable turnaround for a program that endured a 3-30 mark from 2000-2002, the worst three-year stretch in the 122-year history of Navy football. Prior to this year, Navy's last bowl appearance came in 1996, when the Midshipmen edged California in a come-from-behind, 42-38 victory in the 1996 Aloha Bowl.
"Today's announcement is just another sign that California is committed to elevating its football program to the very highest level," said Coonan. "As coach (Jeff) Tedford has said before, you need to play the best in order to be the best. With the addition of these nationally-respected opponents to our already challenging Pac-10 schools, we believe our schedule will be comparable to any program in the country over the next several years, and will provide a first-rate experience for our student-athletes."
In addition to the five home-and-home series added today, Cal also will face two other high-profile schools in Ohio State and Michigan State on future schedules. The Golden Bears had previously announced a home-and-home arrangement with the Buckeyes in 2012 and 2013, while Michigan State will open the 2008 season in Berkeley to complete a home-and-home series that began in 2002, when the Bears upset the then-No. 15 ranked Spartans, 46-22, in East Lansing, Mich.
Future Cal schedules: