SportsProf

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Remember the Names: Jeff Tedford and Aaron Rodgers

It's a bit early for college football stories (unless, of course, you're such a college football fan that you believe in 2 sports, football and spring football). It's just that there's a compelling story out of Northern California that is worth noting in this blog.

The Cal Bears. Perennial also-rans in the Pac-10, alma mater of some solid NFL players, but clearly the weak sister to its Pac-10 counterparts in the Golden State, especially USC, but also UCLA and Stanford.

Except that a funny thing happened to Matt Leinart and the USC Trojans on their way to an undisputed #1 national ranking last year. They lost to. . . drumroll please -- the Cal Bears, in Berkeley.

And Cal has lots of good players back. And, perhaps most importantly, their coach, Jeff Tedford (who has stamped out quite a few college QBs in the past 5 or so years). Tedford, according to ABC's Beano Cook, should have been the choice at Nebraska, and, in my book, he should have been the choice for many openings last year. He is to college football offenses what Mike Martz has been to NFL offenses -- extremely innovative.

Rodgers, of course, will be a dark-horse Heisman candidate, a strong-armed QB who has blossomed under Tedford's tutelage.

Cal is picked to be #2 in the Pac-10, no small feat. Rodgers in all likelihood will be a #1 pick in the NFL draft. Perhaps top 10.

And Tedford? He might be the first college coach in a while to make the jump to the NFL successfully.

Or to a school where he could have a bona fide chance to win a national title.

Remember the names.

And remember the Cal Bears this year.

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