What Now? Where Does Cal Go From Here

George DuryeaCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2009

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 03:  Kevin Riley #13 of the California Golden Bears sits on the bench during the final quarter of their game against the USC Trojans at California Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Anyone who follows Cal Football knows it's been a while since Cal smelled the Roses.  Much less, the team's struggles in the 80s and 90s are fresh in the minds of loyalists who suffered through them.

Jeff Tedford's tenure at Cal has led to a resurgence of Cal as a national name, or for more recent generations, an introduction.  But Cal still has not returned to Pasadena for the postseason.

After a disappointing start to the season, Cal's hopes of a BCS game are all but dashed and another season seems to be spiraling out of control.

Fans already have to look around and take stock of what is next for the Bears.  And at some point, the question has to be asked: Is Tedford the right man to lead the Bears to a New Year's Day Dance?

Now Tedford certainly changed the culture and brought about a team that seems like it might go places, which was a welcome change from the decade that preceded it, where the highlight was a win at the Alamo Bowl and a top 25 ranking in 1993.

But at what point do fans clamor for more? How much longer can anyone stomach a team that tends to flame out mid-season in spite of a promising start and national coverage?

In short: How long can Jeff Tedford keep this up?

Cal currently comes off as a team unable to make the transition to a top-flight program, which it will need to be as Pete Carroll looks to be content staying at USC for the foreseeable future.

Cal never step up in the big games, when everything is on the line.  It seems as though when expectations peak, the Bears' performance hits rock bottom.

It is hard to want to change course, because, frankly, things could be worse.  Far worse.  But there are many thorns on the stem of a rose, and I wonder if it is time to stop playing it safe and risk getting pricked.