It’s finally here. It’s game week. It’s the opening week of meaningful football. I get giddy for NFL Preseason football if for no other reason than that football is actually being played, but after about the third week, it starts to suck too because no one cares about the outcomes of the games. But now, comes the first of the meaningful games in the best of any type of “football,” COLLEGE FOOTBALL.
This first week of action sees the Vols take on California in the biggest game of the weekend. Slated by many as a “revenge game” for Cal, in a sense, the game has become a “revenge game” for UT as well due to being slighted in the polls and by broadcasters as a Cal win before the game is even played. Hopefully this all sounds familiar to you, because it is eerily similar to what happened last year. Also hopefully, the results will be about the same as last year.
Without further ado, check the jump for the Opponent preview for Cal. (Complete with FOOTNOTES!)
Cal, or more officially, The University of California at Berkeley has fielded a football team since 1882 where they played a game more similar to rugby than football.1 The Bears football team has recorded 2 National Chapmionships in 1920 and 1937 as well as 14 conference titles.2 Recent history has shown the Bears to have their most success with their self-proclaimed Diety, Jeff Tedford at the helm posting a 43-20 record in that time span.3
Tedford however, has been somewhat criticized for not being able to win big games (not “THE Big Game,” posting a 5-0 record vs. Juggernaut Stanford) pulling an 0′fer in the city of Los Angeles (vs. USC and UCLA) as well as dropping last year’s contest to Tennessee. It should be said that Cal was one of the few teams to beat USC during their unbelievable run over the past 3-4 years.
The Bears’ mascot is the, um… well, Bears. They are probably named after the Bear on the flag of the State of California, which was a mistake to begin with. If the flag had been properly constructed, no doubt, Tennessee would be looking to prepare for an epic battle against the “Sturdy Golden Pears.” Talk about intimidating.
Image credit: Snopes.com
The Bears’ venue of choice is California Memorial Stadium which was voted by the Sporting News as one of the 40 best stadiums in the country. Consequently, Neyland Stadium was rated by the Sporting News as the #1 best stadium in the country. Not rubbing it in, just saying.. Actually, yeah, rubbing it in. Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 75,662, although apparently they don’t really sell out, because as of this writing, there are still tickets available for the Tennessee game. “Revenge game” my ass.
Memorial Stadium is also built over the Hayward fault line, a strike-slip fault. Due to this, sections of the stadium are actually pulling away from the rest of the stadium. There has been some seismic retrofitting done, but apparently it’s not really a huge deal because the crowd doesn’t really get rowdy enough to say, set off seismographs on campus a la, LSU.
Holy crap that’s scary.
As a future visitor to the stadium (on Saturday), I am not really encouraged by the fact that the stadium I am attending could fall away at any given moment. Although a similar risk does exist at Neyland, it’s more from the crowd collapsing the stadium, and well, you can sort of see it coming.
In 2006, after dropping the first contest to the Vols, Cal rebounded to win 8 straight games as well as going on to play in the Holiday Bowl defeating Texas A&M by the score of 45-10.
The Bears (or Yogis as coined by A Sea of Blue) are no doubt looking for some measure of redemption after being wide-eyed in their season opener in Knoxville, and with the Vols now the ones making the cross country trek to play in the game, will try to even the score.
We’re excited, and you should be too. See you Saturday at Memorial Stadium or on ABC at 8pm Eastern 5pm Pacific. Be there!
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Golden_Bears_football#History [back]
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Golden_Bears#Football [back]
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Tedford#Record_as_a_Head_Coach [back]
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