Mailbag: Tedford, OK State, Horns
Here is this week's mailbag. If you'd like to submit questions, send them to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.
From Grace in Knoxville, TN: Any chance Jeff Tedford (at Cal) is on a semi-hot seat out there? I mean, he doesn't really win big with talent, right?
I feel like Tedford is safe there. The program was a cellar-dweller before he took over. He put Cal back on the map and really raised expectations. Tedford took over a team that had gone 1-10 and in eight seasons at Cal, he's never had a losing year. The downside is the expectations have gotten to the point where the Bears have struggled to live up to them. His staff has recruited well, but for one reason or another, Cal really hasn't broken through. They haven't finished in the AP top 25 the past three years. The worst part of that is they opened their season ranked No. 12 in 2009, unranked in '08 and No. 12 in 2007.
The program has lost some momentum in the past three seasons; the Bears have gone 14-13 in Pac-10 play. A big problem has been the underwhelming QB play they've gotten, which is surprising since about five years ago Tedford was seen as one of the college game's top quarterback mentors. Kevin Riley is still their QB. Experience isn't a concern, as he's had 22 starts. The questions are: Can he become more accurate? And will he cope with the pressure better?
I don't expect Cal to finish in the top five of the Pac-10 this fall. There are too many holes on the D in a league that should have much-improved QB play. My hunch is even if Cal goes 7-5 or even 6-6, Tedford still is in good shape. In fact, I think even if the bottom drops out this year and the Bears go 4-8, the guy has done too much for the Cal brass to go in a different direction.
From Todd in New Britain, CT: How bad is Oklahoma State going to be this year?
I know the Cowboys have only four starters returning on both sides of the ball, but I think people might be surprised at how well OSU plays this fall. They have a good chance to open 5-1 before Nebraska comes to Stillwater.
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