Bears eager to start season on the right foot

September 1, 2009 8:47:13 PM PDT
The Cal Bears open the season this Saturday night, at home against Maryland. The Bears are in the top 15 in most preseason polls and many Cal fans think this might be the year they take down mighty USC. ABC7's Larry Beil spoke with head coach Jeff Tedford about his team and expectations.

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Heading into his eighth year at Cal, coach Tedford wasn't surprised at all of the events that occurred at U.C. Berkeley, such as the tree sitter protest against a new athletic facility. He said he was simply "Surprised it is the eighth year. It seems to have gone by very quickly."

Tedford says he's happy he's at Cal.

"We've made a commitment here, to be here. We've had opportunities to be other places, the NFL and other colleges, but there's a lot of great things going on here at Cal," said Tedford.

Some say USC looks a little bit vulnerable this year. In the past, they've always been the team to beat in the conference. When asked if Tedford shared that perception, he said "They're a great program. They've set the bar high, no question. They're standard if you're going to win the Pac 10 Conference, you're going to have to go through USC and that's OK. We're up to that challenge."

Cal hasn't been to the Rose Bowl since 1959. In response to that Tedford said, "I know the fans are starved for the Rose Bowl. They would rather go to the Rose Bowl than the national championship game and we've been close a few times. We need to get over that hurdle, but I'll have to tell ya, it's keeping a lot of people alive because everywhere I go, they say, 'Can you please do that before we die?' So, I hear that all the time from everywhere."

ABC7 Sports will have the Cal highlights, plus Stanford and San Jose State as they kick off a new season of "After the Game." It will air Saturday night ABC7, following the Alabama-Virginia Tech opener, around 8:30 p.m.

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