The effects of the new stadium have already worn off. It took just one week.
All the empty seats in Memorial Stadium told the story just seconds after the Bears fielded the opening kickoff against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Saturday.
It was disappointing. It was sad. It was pathetic. The fans that attended the game against Nevada had seen enough — of the stadium and the team.
And it could be a sign of things to come for coach Jeff Tedford.
Tedford’s Bears may have scored 50 points, but it was an unimpressive 50 points. And the defense gave up a staggering 31 points to a Division I-AA team.
You might want to close your eyes when Cal faces Ohio State and USC the next two weeks. It will get ugly.
During his post-game remarks, Tedford acknowledged his teams shortcomings:
“There is quite a bit of improvement to be made.
The mistakes we made, you have to improve. Each game is a lesson. The one that comes out of this was the penalties. You can’t continue to do that and expect to win close games. You have to clean that up.”
Cal piled up 12 penalties for 106 yards in a home game when the crowd really wasn’t into the game. It’s Tedford’s job to instill discipline in his players so that they avoid dumb penalties. The crowds at The Horseshoe and The Coliseum are going to be rowdy and unrelenting, so the Cal players better be ready.
Despite never having won the Pac-12 outright, the Cal administration continues to stand by Tedford. But if the Golden Bears don’t turn things around quickly, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour may have no choice but to relieve Tedford of his duties.
Three of their next four games are against ranked teams, and Arizona State is 2-0 and just on the outside of the Top 25 rankings. It would be nice if the Bears won one or two of the games, although it’s not likely. But they at least need to stay competitive in all the games.
Here’s an exercise for you: Look at Cal’s remaining schedule and find more than three wins.
Maybe Arizona State in three weeks. But will the Bears be so beat down from losses at Ohio State and USC that they won’t have any fight left? Maybe Washington State on October 13. But that game is in Pullman. Possibly Utah, but that’s always a tough place to play.
The way this team is playing, they’ll be lucky to go 4-8 this season.
The University spent $321 million to give the stadium and program a facelift. What we see on the outside of the stadium looks magnificent. What we see on the inside looks the same.
It’s not impressive. It’s mediocre. It’s not good enough. And if it doesn’t improve quickly, Tedford will be looking for a new job.