The Rose Bowl isn't on the line. First place isn't at stake. The game won't make or break Cal's chances for a bowl bid. But the outcome of Saturday's game at UCLA will shape the rest of coach Jeff Tedford's tenure in Berkeley, whether it lasts two years or 10. Following blowout losses to Oregon and USC, the once-soaring Bears are on the brink of a midseason collapse. Another midseason collapse.
Two years ago, they zoomed to a 5-0 start and were on the brink of a No. 1 ranking before splitting apart at the seams. They lost six of their final seven regular-season games and spent the winter searching for answers. Tedford determined that poor communication was to blame for the frayed locker room and took steps to correct the problem, going so far as to remove himself as offensive coordinator and take on more leadership responsibilities.
"Back then, I just focused on X's and O's," he said. "They were tough losses, and instead of spending time - looking for things in the locker room that were maybe getting us down, I spent all my time trying to come up with plays.