Cal came into the 2012 season looking to exceed expectations and have a successful season.
So far, not so good.
Cal fell to Nevada in their season opener and held off Southern Utah 50-31 in their second game of the season, and they now stand at 1-1. Even though Cal managed a win over the Thunderbirds, Bears fans shouldn't be impressed.
The Golden Bears weren't able to stop Nevada's pistol offense, and Southern Utah managed a good amount of points against them. The Thunderbirds scored on a Hail Mary, and Cal's secondary had some problems against a team that got blown out by Utah State in Week 1.
With Ohio State and USC coming up on the road, Cal certainly has a lot to do in practice. If they have the same philosophy, commit a million penalties a game and play sloppy football, both teams will blow them out and send them back to Berkeley with a record of 1-3.
And I can guarantee you Jeff Tedford and his team don't want that to happen.
Tedford has coached some decent teams, and with him as coach, Cal has won a share of the Pac-12 title and they almost made the Rose Bowl. In 2007, the Bears were ranked second overall. However, now, the Bears and their fans just have to accept being a mediocre team.
Cal won't be elite this year, and that's a guarantee. Their defense, which consists of lots of young talent, couldn't contain the pistol offense of Nevada and even the offense of Southern Utah. It will take awhile for them to get used to playing with each other, although they could dominate at the end of the year.
But for now, the Bears' defense will struggle. And, unfortunately, Ohio State has a great running quarterback.
Oh, and did I mention that Matt Barkley might be the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft?
The Golden Bears have to improve on a lot of things if they even want to reach a bowl game. Sure, they have talent on both sides of the ball. But if they're not coming up with key plays and not doing what it takes to beat good teams, they can kiss a bowl game goodbye.
Cal has to play Oregon, Washington, Ohio State, USC, Stanford, UCLA and other tough teams this year, and they'll all challenge and most likely beat Cal. Sure, the Bears have most of those teams at home, but they didn't exactly do too well at home in the first two weeks of the season.
If Cal can patch up their issues quickly, or if they can come up with a key win over Ohio State and USC, they'll be alright. However, Cal has committed an atrocious number of penalties so far, and that will cost them against better teams.
Jeff Tedford has done a nice job patching up issues in the past, but he has a lot to do this year. If he can't get a hold of his team and put a stop to those unforced and forced errors, Cal will be in for a long, long season.
And Tedford may not have a job.