By “Mr. Football” Greg Hansen
Dear Mr. Football: How does Cal's Memorial Stadium rank in college football's places or lore?
A: In the 30 years I've traveled the Pac-10 football road, I would rank the league's bottom three this way: 10-Stanford, 9-Cal, 8-Wazzu. Memorial Stadium is chilly, dark and so antiquated you expect to see helmets sans facemasks.
Arizona's 13 appearances in Berkeley have drawn an average of 37,018, but that is probably a generous over-estimate by about 5,000 per game. Cal drew as few as 26,222 against Arizona in 2001 and 28,808 there a year later.
That has all changed. Big winners now, the Bears averaged 64,318 at home last year and now routinely draw capacity crowds (72,516). How else would they be able to pay Jeff Tedford's $1.8 million (including incentives) salary?
Dear Mr. Football: Who gets the credit for hiring Tedford? Was he available when Arizona hired John Mackovic?
A: When Jim Livengood hired Mackovic in December 2000, Tedford was Oregon's offensive coordinator, earning about $125,000 annually. Not that he was an unknown: The Ducks were coming off 10-2 and 9-3 seasons.
If only, right? Tedford was discovered a year later by Cal's first-year AD, Steve Gladstone, who did not know much about football (he had been Cal's crew coach, of all things), but he did have a good instinct about coaches. Cal's hierarchy was so indebted to Gladstone it essentially demoted him three years later.