All those high hopes that California had at the beginning of the season have been erased by the two most lopsided losses in coach Jeff Tedford's eight seasons in charge of the Golden Bears. The Rose Bowl, a BCS bid, a Heisman Trophy campaign have all been put to the side. The focus for the Bears during their bye week is on making sure two bad losses don't turn into a lost season.
"I still have a lot of confidence in what they're doing," Tedford said this week. "We still have seven conference games left so there's a lot of football to be played. There's no shame in being knocked down. But if we don't get back up, there is in that. That's the deal. There's a lot of football left. We have a week here to improve." Cal (3-2, 0-2 Pac-10) plummeted from No. 6 in the nation to not receiving a single vote in the AP poll after being thrashed in a 42-3 loss at Oregon, followed by a 30-3 loss to Southern California to open the conference season. That ended any talk that this would be the year Cal would end a 51-year Rose Bowl drought.
Those performances also inevitably raised question about whether the Bears were headed to a repeat of the 2007 season. Two years ago this week, Cal was sent to move up to No. 1 in the county following an LSU loss to Kentucky. All Cal had to do was beat unranked Oregon State at home. What followed was the worst stretch of Tedford's tenure. The Bears lost 31-28 to the Beavers when Kevin Riley tried to run it in from the 14-yard line, allowing the clock to run out. The losses piled up after that as Cal dropped six of its final seven regular season games, barely even qualifying for a bowl.
"Everybody is thinking of the '07 team right now. It's not true. We're not going to have another '07 season," left tackle Mike Tepper said. "Our team chemistry is strong enough where don't have to be worried because we know we'll come back. I know we'll do well. It's different from the past."