On right now: Cotton Bowl, Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss
5 ET/2 PT: Liberty Bowl, East Carolina vs Kentucky
8 ET/5 PT: Sugar Bowl, Alabama vs Utah
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This is not another line about USC against the Big Ten; I respect the Big Ten and I respect Penn State's near-perfect run through it, which is what makes SC's routine dominance so impressive in that context. Since 2003, the Trojans are 19-1 against teams from the other BCS conferences (including Notre Dame) by an average margin of 25.1 points per game, and since the '06 Rose Bowl loss to Texas have taken 12 straight non-conference games by at least two touchdowns. At least as impressive as the Pac-10's 5-0 bowl record is the fact that random teams from the conference are able to actually beat USC every now and then, because nobody else comes close.
Rodgers played well this season. He played hurt. He played in the blinding light of the post-Favre era and did so with poise and heart. If he stays healthy (he played much of the season with a shoulder injury), the Packers have themselves a quarterback.
But Favre played well, too -- not as often as Rodgers did, but well enough that the Jets were 8-3 after beating the then-undefeated Tennessee Titans on the road. You remember: That was the same week the Packers got beat 51-29 by New Orleans to drop to 5-6 and start a five-game losing streak. Weird. I don't remember getting any "Favre's washed up" e-mails then.
Turns out Favre played hurt, too. No surprise there. But a now-diagnosed torn biceps tendon affected his arm strength down the stretch.
His critics say he looked old. Duh -- he's 39. But isn't there the possibility that he simply looked injured? Big difference.
The mistake people make is trying to compare Rodgers' season with Favre's. Rodgers had more passing yards, more touchdowns, fewer interceptions, more rushing yards and a higher passer rating -- so he's clearly the better quarterback.
But do wins count for anything? Favre's Jets had nine compared to the Packers' six. They beat three playoff-bound teams; the Packers defeated one. Favre's Jets gagged away their division lead in the last month, but they still had a chance at the playoffs. The Packers were officially eliminated with two weeks remaining in the season.
This is the third extension Tedford has received since signing his original contract when he arrived in Berkeley before the 2002 season. Tedford has long been rumored to be a desirable candidate for various college and NFL jobs.
But Tedford stressed Thursday that he has no desire to coach anywhere but Cal, that his desire for an extension simply was for stability's
sake. He said he also saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to Cal, a commitment that was further bolstered when the Student-Athlete High-Performance Center project finally got going in the fall.
"We are here for the long haul," Tedford said. "We're not interested in going some place else. I think this answers the question that I feel good about how they feel about our future here and we obviously feel good about the school as well as the program here. We want to make sure the school knows what my commitment is here, that there's no place I'd rather be."
Tedford's base salary remains $225,000 and his talent fee still stands at $1,575,000 annually. Next Thursday, Tedford will receive a $1 million bonus for his continual employment at Cal through the end of the 2008 season.
Various incentives can push Tedford's income even higher. Barbour said some of the incentives have been tweaked, most significantly the addition of a bonus based on the team's graduation rate. Bonuses remain in place if the Bears reach certain benchmarks such as a Pac-10 title or berths in Bowl Championship Series games.
Dump away or watch away.