Nick Kranz: Really, it's ironic looking back on that Tennessee game. Why? Because the dominant feeling at the time was that Cal football had arrived.
This was the big time. It was the biggest game of the week (only a national tragedy prevented College Game Day from coming to Berkeley). It was a revenge game against a marquee, name brand opponent. It felt like the eyes of the college football world were all staring at Berkeley. And the Bears delivered with an entertaining, controlling win with highlights in every phase of the game. This was the moment when the Tedford era officially went from 'rising upstart' to 'established power' - and games of this magnitude would happen every year.
Thus the irony. Rather than a new normal, Tennessee ended up being perhaps the high water mark of the Tedford era. Just a few weeks later Kevin Riley embarked on his ill-fated scramble against Oregon State, and the entire program has never really been the same since. That's why this game has that twinge of ever-so-slightly-bittersweet nostalgia, because it's something that hasn't been replicated since.
Ruey Yen: Unfortunately, my memory of the 2007 season and the big win over Tennessee is largely clouded by what happened later on the year. Still, I recall being mesmerized by the play of Desean Jackson in the win over Tennessee and had started to wonder if 2007 was the start of a Cal Football dynasty akin to the sustained recent success by that junior university neighbors of ours.
ragnarok: Good lord did that game feel cathartic, especially given the experience the year before. The DeSean punt return was just wild, but the whole game felt like it was making up for the year before, when Cal attempted to show they belonged with the Big Boys, and utterly failed in Knoxville. Of course, Cal's stay with the Big Boys would last only about another month after that, but I honestly can't remember what happened after the Oregon game that year. Just really slipped my mind, no memory whatsoever...
boomtho: I've mentioned this in a couple roundtables, but it was my first game as a Cal student, and it's the reason I'm hopelessly addicted to Cal football. What will stick with me forever is the energy in the stadium, the sheer swagger of the team, the explosive plays (DJax, Follett), and the pure optimism that followed. It felt like we could beat any team and ascend to being a truly national power. If only it had turned out that way...
atomsareenough: The memories that stand out are obviously Pain Train destroying poor Erik Ainge and Desean Jackson, the Wizard of Returns. Also that amazing Memorial Stadium crowd really showed what a peak Cal football experience can be like on national television. We had Brent and Herbie, but it's too bad that wasn't Gameday game.
Joseph Cooney: As a freshman in high school in 2007 who was in full-blown superfan mode over Cal football (thanks to some serious brainwashing from an alumni father), this game was magical. I wasn't able to attend the game in-person, but I can still remember getting HYPED in my living room when the game started. Coming off the loss in 2006, my 14 year old brain just wanted to obliterate the Vols. Oh man, was I in for an anxious rollercoaster.
To be completely honest, I still reference Zack Follett's monstrous tackle on Ainge resulting in a fumble as one of my favorite Cal football moments that I've witnessed. It felt like all the frustration from the previous year's game just got laid out with that hit.