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Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason report: California

By Ted Miller

California

Record: 3-4, 2-2

California started the season horribly, but it has rallied the past two weeks as coach Jeff Tedford tries to fight off his naysayers in Berkeley.

Tedford started the season on the hot seat, and an opening loss to Nevada in newly remodeled Memorial Stadium created a crisis situation. An unimpressive win over woeful Southern Utah didn't help, but a strong performance in a close loss at Ohio State hinted that the Bears could play with anyone if they showed up with their A game.

Still, talent and having the ability to compete at a high level on any given weekend hasn't been the issue for Tedford. It's been consistency. And, of course, that's been the main problem for QB Zach Maynard, whose uneven performances often make or break the Bears.

After the close call at Ohio State, the Bears were soundly beaten by USC and Arizona State. At that point, some were starting to write off Tedford, despite an expensive buyout.

But an impressive 43-17 victory at home over UCLA and a yeoman-like win at Washington State repositioned the Bears. Bowl chances are not so nearly as slim as they were during a 1-4 start.

A key date comes at an odd time: The Big Game on Saturday against Stanford. If the Bears can even their record with a win over their Bay Area rival, Tedford and his team may get a second wind.

Offensive MVP, WR Keenan Allen: While Allen only ranks sixth in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game, he's caught 40 percent of the Bears' completions and half of their touchdown passes. He's the offense's first, second and sometimes third option in the passing game. He's caught 52 passes for 633 yards with five touchdowns.

Defensive MVP, CB Steve Williams: Williams ranks second on the Bears with 46 tackles. He also has 3.5 tackles for a loss, three interceptions and seven pass breakups.