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Mailbag: Tedford's warming seat

10/14/2011

Happy Friday.

Join me on my Twitter journey to exotic lands.

To the notes.

Joe from San Jose writes: what are the ACTUAL chances of Tedford being on the HOT SEAT? I was a Ted-Head, but ever since they were moments away from being ranked #1, they really haven't performed - which says a lot for a team which is recruiting in the top 15 the last couple of years.

Bill from Danville, Calif., writes: Ted, Its official - Tedford's seat is warm. Tonight was a pathetic display of offensive ineptitude. Maynard should have sat down at the half yet Tedford stuck with him while every bear fan at AT&T knew he gave us little or no chance to win. Sorriest display in several years of mediocre football.

Gary from Berkeley writes: Tedford has to be on the hot seat after that game against SC, right? If we win less than 6 games this year (no bowl game), do you think he should be fired??

Ted Miller: It's clear that California fans frustration is bubbling over, and Jeff Tedford's equity based on transforming the Bears from laughingstock to contender is running out. And an 0-3 start in Pac-12 play, including blowout losses to Oregon and USC -- teams the Cal used to battle atop the conference -- makes that frustration understandable, as does the declining play of QB Zach Maynard.

So, yes, I think it's fair to put Tedford on the proverbial hotseat. And, yes, I think if Cal has another losing, bowless season, it's fair to ask hard questions about whether it's time for a change.

The schedule softens up the next four weeks: Utah, UCLA, Washington State and Oregon State. As Jon Wilner pointed out, if the Bears win three of four, they would head into tough games with Stanford and Arizona State at 6-4, already bowl eligible.

Tedford has recruited well -- particularly of late -- and will be playing in a renovated stadium and will have fancy new facilities next year, projects his early success in large part paid for. I'd think if Cal reaches a bowl game, it would be hard not to let him coach into 2012, knowing that it's "win-or-else."

And, by the way, Tedford has no buyout in his contract. According to Wilner, it would cost Cal "approximately $10 million" to fire Tedford after this season.

So the Old Blues will need to be really motivated to dispatch Tedford. And more than a few will have to open their wallets and prove their motivation.


Eric from Portland writes: With the release of the NCAA investigation regarding Auburn, what the NCAA is telling us; as long as no one talks your school won't be found guilty. So using that logic, Oregon should have paid another $25K to Mr. Lyles with a contract to keep silent and USC should have paid off the marketing company that sunk Reggie. Just seems like they are telling colleges to be more secretive.

Ted Miller: Yes, that is what the NCAA is telling you, though here's a guess they would phrase it differently.

In almost every major violations case, there's a self-interested whistle-blower who feels like he was wronged and wants revenge. USC probably wouldn't be yoked with NCAA sanctions if Reggie Bush had paid off would-be agent Lloyd Lake (not USC, that would have been really, really bad).

And, yes, Oregon's position would have been safer if Willie Lyles had no grudge against the football program.

But the cases aren't exactly parallel. Lyles was a person of interest for the NCAA for a while because it was looking into alleged street agents. Oregon was going to be connected to him no matter what. Only now Lyles appears to be a far more eager witness.


Jason from Seattle writes: No, we're not giving Utah a break. For years now, you and other sports writers have been beating us over the head with the nonsense that these non-AQ schools deserve BCS games for beating one or two BCS teams all year and then getting fat off of cupcakes. Well...you've all been exposed. Utah is getting THRASHED in the P12. Don't make excuses. Look at ASU, they've suffered far more injuries than Utah and they have found a way to win. This is what life is like in a legit BCS conference (I'm looking at you Big East). You want to claim that Utah will catch up with good recruiting in a few years? Absolutely irrelevant to the question of whether these past non-AQ darlings deserved their BCS games. We've been telling you these non-AQ schools wouldn't survive BCS schedules and now we've got a data point to back it up.

Ted Miller: I don't agree with this, but this is a position held by many mailbag writers, so Jason gets his moment to vent. As I did.


Liberal Duck from Eugene writes: Your article makes me think you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Did you get some cloud cover today in Scottsdale that has got you down? If so, welcome to my world! Vitamin D supplements should help. I, personally, haven't seen too many comments stating that Utah doesn't belong in the PAC. I do think some people are, perhaps, a little giddy that both Colorado and Utah are feeling a little pain their first year in the conference. It kind of validates for us that the PAC-12 Conference is good. We need that validation, perhaps, because the PAC doesn't get the recognition it deserves from the idiot national media (You, of course, excluded).

Ted Miller: Also a valid position. More than a few Pac-12 fans were worried that if Utah and Colorado rolled this year, it would be widely viewed as evidence the conference was soft. Their struggles mean that at least one trash talk position isn't available to Pac-12 critics.


Kevin from Houston writes: Thinking about the Stoops situation, I realize, it's not so much about his 10 game fbs losing streak, or his sideline demeanor, it's about Oregon State. Stoops' record vs Oregon State, 2-6, including losing at home last year that broke the unbeaten streak. Let's say the cats win those 2 games, last year, and last week, Stoops would certainly still have his job at this moment, another key loss to OSU was in 2006, which would have meant a first bowl game for Stoops, all else being equal. These 2 programs have been so similar over the past 8 years, and OSU has gotten the best of Arizona most of the time. While Stoops for the most part has beaten the teams he has supposed to, Oregon State has usually been the exception.

Ted Miller: An interesting observation. And true in many ways. Those pesky Beavers gave Stoops trouble.

Of course, if Arizona hadn't lost to Oregon State last year, and it had gone to Stanford as an unbeaten, top-10 team and then began a five-game losing streak, well, that collapse might have been viewed with even more negative emotion.

But it's probably fair to say that if the Wildcats had won at Oregon State last weekend, Greg Byrne probably wouldn't have pulled the trigger on Monday.


Dan from Sacramento writes: For the purpose of determining who plays in the Pac-12 championship game, what does the league look at- overall Pac-12 won-loss record or record within the division (North or South). For example, if UCLA has a better record than ASU in Pac-12 South play, but ASU has a better overall Pac-12 record (due to more games won against the North)- does ASU play in the championship game? Or would UCLA? I presume overall Pac-12 record takes precedence, then who won the head-to-head (between UCLA & ASU).

Ted Miller: Each division is decided by overall conference record, not division record. And then, if tied, head-to-head.