Jeff Tedford is near the top of many coaching hot seat lists entering 2013, but it’s utterly insane.
Since Tedford enjoyed so much success early on in Berkeley that the expectations became too big and to unrealistic. It’s freaking Cal football, not Alabama.
Tedford is only 12-13 these past two years.
A little history lesson is needed for all of those who think Tedford should be shown the door if Cal doesn’t get to eight or more wins in 2013. In the 10 years prior to his arrival the Bears were a pedestrian 38-75.
But let’s not forget that Tedford is 79-48 since taking over the Cal program in 2002, and he’s had just one losing season.
Another key to determining if a coach is truly on the hot seat is how he is doing against the program’s biggest rival. Rich Rodriguez couldn’t beat Ohio State at Michigan. Well, Tedford is 7-2 against Stanford.
How about bowl performances? Tedford has delivered there as well with a 5-3 record, but he’s never led the Bears to a BCS Bowl.
So it would seem he’s a lock to be back in 2013 with the Bears, but he’s on shaky ground. If he only wins four or five games this year, he probably will be shown the door.
But that’s not going to happen. Cal and Tedford are going to get to eight or nine wins because of a few key reasons.
Quarterback development. Tedford is known as a QB guru and he has worked some of that magic with Zach Maynard. After an erratic start to last season the senior became a consistent thrower. He’ll improve on his 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions of last season and should eclipse 3,000 yards passing.
More talent. It starts with wide receiver Keenan Allen, who caught 98 passes or 1,343 yards. He’s arguably one of the nation’s best receivers and could be a serious difference maker. Running back Isi Sofele adds another skill player that defenses will have to game plan for throughout the season.
Renovated stadium. How much of a difference can a $321 million upgrade to Memorial Stadium really make on a team? The changes should mean more fannies in the seats, including an excited student section. This could mean one upset or even a win over hated Stanford.
Better defense. Let’s be honest here … the defense lost a number of key components from last year. But there’s a lot of young talent ready to prove something and sometimes that’s exactly what a program needs to experience a rebound season.
Manageable schedule. The Bears should be 2-0 when they travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State on Sept. 15. Depending on how the Urban Meyer indoctrination is taking hold, Cal could pull of an early season upset. That might be enough to get Tedford to eight wins, but a nine- or 10-win season might mean an upset of USC or Oregon.
Tedford isn’t safe. A lot has to go right, but it’s feasible. So Tedford is going to enjoy a renaissance of sorts this season and make Cal football relevant again.