After another competitive loss, but a loss nontheless, the California Golden Bears find themselves with only 1 win and 4 defeats, and it is likely that the team will end up with its first losing record in the Jeff Tedford era. If things get really ugly and the Bears end up somewhere in the 4-8 range, it could even cost Tedford his job. I'm told that the crowds at Berkeley Memorial Stadium are already calling for his head.
I hope it doesn't happen - even if the Bears end up staying home for the holidays with a losing record, I hope Tedford gets one more year. People have short memories, and maybe a lot of people have forgotten what things were like the year before he got there - only a win in the last game of the season against Rutgers (a game that had been postponed because of 9/11) allowed Cal to avoid an 0-11 season.
Yes, the Bears have been frustrating for a number of years now, seemingly always on the cusp of greatness but never quite crossing over to the other side. But it's hard to complain about 7-5, 8-4 and 9-3 records when the standard in the years leading up to Tedford's hire were more along the lines of
2-9 and 3-8 (and of course, that one 1-10). And of course, there was that one glorious year, 2004, when the Bears came within 3 yards of being undefeated in the regular season and perhaps playing for a national championship. Instead, USC got to share the title, and the Bears were jobbed out of a Rose Bowl appearance by Texas coach Mack Brown, who was more skilled at politicking than Tedford and got his Longhorns into the game (which in fairness, they did win).
It's not too late for the Bears to turn this season around and make it respectable. But even if they don't, and if Tedford pays for a losing record with his job, I hope his tenure is celebrated and that he leaves Berkeley with his head held high.
In the meantime...go Bears!