We all know that the end is near, and barring a miracle on par with hologram Andy Smith inspiring the Bears to three straight wins, Coach Jeff Tedford will be fired after this season. Fired. It sounds so harsh for a coach who singlehandedly provided a decades worth of thrills, chills, and yes, disappointments. Yes, the past half dozen years have been mediocre, but they were only mediocre in comparison to over fifty years of pretty dismal football. In essence, Jeff Tedford made California football matter. And for that, he's going to leave a solid foundation that hopefully the next coach will be able to take to eleven: A Pac-12 championship, a Rose Bowl appearance, and competing for a national championship.
As Old Blues, we like to wax poetic about the Jackie Jensons, the Brick Muellers, and even Andre Carters of the Cal football past, but to the high school recruits of today, Cal has become their childhood favorite, the school hat they rock to be cool, because of the Desean Jacksons, Marshawn Lynchs, and Jahvid Bests of the world. That's Jeff Tedford's doing. He reversed a trend where the Bay Area's best would regularly head to UCLA, USC, and Washington, and started recruiting in places that previous Cal coaches ignored, like a little town called Oakland. Coach Tedford made Cal football matter, created a brand, and once here, coached them up so that we nearly have as many Cal players in the NFL as traditional power USC.
And we all know that before Coach Tedford, Cal had the worst football facilities in Division One. It wasn't Coach Tedford's wins and losses that helped build the new athletic center, it was the possibilities that Coach Tedford showed a campus and administration about how football could be both an important part of college life, and a revenue source to for our other sports.
So yes, Coach Tedford needs to be replaced. But in our zeal for change, let's not get bogged down in the tactical issues of this season. Instead, let's look at the strategic positioning of Cal football, and how Coach Jeff Tedford had a large hand in putting us there. And as we think about that, let's treat Coach Tedford with the respect and honor he deserves, and not the juvenile disrespect that comes from an ungrateful fan base usually seen from fan bases who couldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as the University of California.