The season has taken a grim turn for the worse in Berkeley.
California is 3-8 and coming off a 59-17 drubbing by Oregon heading into a season-ending game today at No. 15 Oregon State.
With the exception of back-to-back wins over UCLA and Washington State, the Golden Bears have showed little spark.
Injuries have ravaged the team. The Golden Bears have had 27 players miss time this season, including quarterback Zach Maynard in last week’s loss.
There will be no bowl game for the second time in the past three seasons for the Golden Bears, who finished 5-7 in 2010. They went 7-6 in 2011 but lost 21-10 to Texas in the Holiday Bowl.
It’s a wrong-way turn for a program under coach Jeff Tedford, who is a two-time Pac-12 coach of the year. He led the Golden Bears to a conference co-championship in 2006 and wound up winning the Holiday Bowl.
Rumors are swirling around the Bay Area that Tedford’s time at Cal is coming to an end.
Blame has been put on everything from coaching staff turnover to shaky quarterback play since Aaron Rodgers left to issues with chemistry.
Whatever the problems have been, the end result could be the end of Tedford’s Cal career on Saturday.
Will his team rally around him?
Bears go to the ground
Cal has run the ball well this season, averaging 182.4 yards a game.
It helps to have a trio of backs to carry the load.
Senior tailbacks C.J. Anderson (115 carries, 729 yards, four touchdowns) and Isi Sofele (128, 653, 3) get the bulk of the work.
Sophomore Brendan Bigelow gives the Golden Bears a big-play threat. He averages 10.6 yards on 39 attempts with three scores and a long of 81.
Cal has rushed for at least 200 yards in five games and went for 236 against Oregon. Sofele had 134 yards in that game.
If Sofele can get 109 yards or more against the Beavers, he will become in the No. 10 all-time rusher for Cal.
Running up against a wall?
Those numbers could take a hit today at Reser Stadium.
The Beavers are among the nation’s best — and second in the conference — at stopping the run, giving up 99.7 yards a game.
The Beavers are also second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense at 19.1 points a game.
“I think they have some experience there,” Tedford said. “They have a lot of guys who are playing very well.”
Impressed with OSU duo
One task facing the Golden Bears is stopping OSU receivers Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton.
Wheaton is currently tied with Cal’s Keenan Allen for second in the conference with 61 catches. Wheaton has 878 yards and nine touchdowns and Allen has 737 yards and six scores.
Cooks is fourth with 57 receptions for 988 yards and four TDs.
“They’re both big-play guys who are very fast and very good with the ball in their hands after the catch,” Tedford said.
Tedford said the two Beavers are comparable to the more-hyped Marqise Lee and Robert Woods of USC.
“As a tandem they are very similar to the USC receivers,” he said.
We’re probably going to see three points on the board a time or two today.
Cal and OSU have two of the leading place-kickers in the conference.
Vincenzo D’Amato leads the Pac-12 with 16 field goals made. OSU’s Trevor Romaine is second with 13.
Romaine is the most accurate in the conference, hitting 13 of 15, a sizzling 86.7 percent. D’Amato is fourth at 69.6.