Cal makes coaching change
After coach Jeff Tedford was fired by California on Tuesday, Oregon State's Mike Riley and Washington State's Mike Leach should feel fortunate. They're the only Pac-12 coaches who have lost to Utah during the past two seasons and kept their jobs.
Tedford's firing was surprising on two fronts: He was successful for a long time, and Cal owes him $6.9 million every dollar of the remaining three years of his contract.
In the wake of Cal's 1-10 season in 2001 under Tom Holmoe, now BYU's athletic director, Tedford did a remarkable rebuilding job. Ironically, his tenure basically ended because of renovation work. Cal needs to fill Memorial Stadium and drive donations, after committing $321 million to the facility.
Tedford went 82-57 in 11 seasons. That includes a 3-9 record in 2012, with a 49-27 loss at Utah, and a 15-22 mark over three years although Cal played in the Holiday Bowl last season.
Tedford beat BYU in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl and went 1-2 against Utah, including a loss in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl.
Utah State's Gary Andersen is among the primary names being mentioned for Cal's vacancy, along with Louisiana Tech's Sonny Dykes, San Jose State's Mike MacIntyre, Cincinnati Bengals assistant Hue jackson and Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, a Cal graduate.
The final Saturday of the regular season features two games Stanford at UCLA and Oregon at Oregon State that will determine the North division winner and the Pac-12 championship game site. UCLA has clinched the South title.
If Stanford wins, the Cardinal will host UCLA on Nov. 30, regardless of what happens in the other game. But if UCLA and Oregon win, Oregon will host the Bruins. If UCLA and OSU win, UCLA will host Stanford. That creates the potential for Stanford's playing three consecutive games in Pasadena, Calif.
The Pac-12 champion will earn a Rose Bowl berth. Even if Oregon is not in the conference title game, the Ducks almost certainly would receive an at-large BCS bid, probably to the Fiesta Bowl.
While each Pac-12 school annually meets the other five teams in its division, the schedule of opponents in the other division varies. In the rotation for 2011 and '12, Utah was the only team that didn't meet North powers Stanford and Oregon as the Utes will do the next two seasons, when they'll miss California and Washington.
Two-year conference records for South teams, and whether or not they've faced the Cardinal and Ducks:
Team Record Stanford/Oregon
USC 12-6 Both
UCLA 11-6 Stanford
Arizona State 8-9 Oregon
Utah 6-11 Neither
Arizona 6-11 Both
Colorado 3-14 Both
Dominating the awards
UCLA linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr have combined to give the Bruins the Pac-12 defensive player of the week award for three consecutive weeks. Kendricks claimed his second honor of November after making 10 tackles, forcing a fumble, intercepting a pass and blocking a punt in a 38-28 win over USC.
Allowing for the possibility that a Colorado player will be recognized, it is likely that BYU will have served as the opponent for a Pac-12 award winner more frequently than Utah in 2012. The Cougars enabled Utah punter Tom Hackett and Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz to earn awards. The only Utah opponent so honored is USC's Randall Telfer, cited on special teams for blocking a 48-yard field goal attempt.
Meanwhile, this week is Utah's last chance to have an offensive or defensive player honored, after Hackett and kickoff returner Reggie Dunn (twice) have received special teams awards.