Friday, December 26, 2008


December 27, 2008

5:00pm (PST)
San Francisco, CA
AT&T Park
Title Sponsor:
Diamond Foods/Emerald Premium Snacks
Pacific-10 vs. ACC
Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virgina, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State
$850,000 [Pacific-10], $750,000 [ACC]
Mailing Address:
AT&T Park24 Willie Mays PlazaSan Francisco, CA 94107
415.947.BOWL [2695]
Web site:


Dec. 7, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The Miami Hurricanes will face the California Golden Bears in the 2008 Emerald Bowl in a prime time, Saturday night pairing of notable East & West Coast programs.
The 7th Annual Emerald Bowl will kick off Saturday, December 27, at 5 p.m. at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
The announcement came this afternoon from Emerald Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli, in concert with University of Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt.
The Hurricanes' trip to San Francisco comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement that California would remain within 8.5 miles of its Berkeley home to play in the Emerald Bowl. ESPN will offer the game to a nationwide audience. It is the only game, college or pro, scheduled for television the evening of the 27th.
"We are thrilled to have Miami in our game," Cavalli said. "When you think of the great programs in college football, the truly dynamic teams with a long tradition, you immediately think of Miami. Over the years, Miami has won five national championships and produced dozens of NFL stars.
"The Hurricanes have a ton of young talent and are definitely on the rise under head coach Randy Shannon. We can't wait for them to come
to San Francisco.
With Cal vs. Miami, I think we have one of the top 10 matchups of the 2008 bowl season." The Hurricanes bring a 7-5 record into the contest. Miami's signature wins included a narrow 16-14 decision over eventual ACC champion Virginia Tech in a nationally-televised November tussle.
After a 2-3 start, which included a game at BCS Championship Game contender Florida, the Hurricanes went on a five-game winning streak that featured wins over Wake Forest and Virginia, among others.
Miami returns to bowl competition following a one-year hiatus. The Hurricanes edged Nevada, 21-20, in the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl.
This decade alone has seen Miami beat Nebraska for the 2002 national championship at the Rose Bowl; drop a two-overtime thriller to Ohio State in the 2003 national title game at the Fiesta Bowl; defeat cross-state rival Florida State in the 2004 FedEx Orange Bowl; and play in two subsequent Chick-fil-A Bowl games.

No one personifies the Miami program more than its 42-year-old head coach Randy Shannon. Shannon was a Hurricanes linebacker from 1984-88 and played on Miami's '87 national champions. He spent two NFL seasons with the Dallas Cowboys prior to beginning his coaching career in 1991. The Emerald Bowl will be Shannon's 12th bowl game as a coach.
Shannon coached the defensive line and linebackers at Miami from 1992-97 and then spent the next three seasons on the Miami Dolphins staff.
He returned to his Coral Gables alma mater as defensive coordinator in 2001 and held that position through '06. He was named head coach in December 2006. As a player or coach, Shannon has been part of three of the Hurricanes' five national championship teams.

Emerald Bowl Week Day 1: Bears Tour Alcatraz
Practice, Community Service and Boat Tour Highlight the Day
Dec. 23, 2008
Cal had a full day of activities on Tuesday as the Golden Bears prepared to face Miami in the Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park.
With the team staying at a hotel in San Francisco, the Bears boarded buses in the morning to travel back across the Bay Bridge for practice in Memorial Stadium. Cal worked on various drills, such as 11-on-11s and offensive and defensive tutorial.
Wide receivers Jeremy Ross and LaReylle Cunningham both made fingertip catches on the sidelines, while Marvin Jones made an over-the-shoulder reception from Nate Longshore in 1-on-1s. Beau Sweeny was simulating Miami quarterback Jacory Harris for the scout team with a good compliment of runs and passes.
After a two-hour workout, head coach Jeff Tedford, along with seniors Alex Mack, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams returned to The City for the Emerald Bowl kickoff press conference at AT&T Park.
Before heading back to San Francisco, several members of the team stopped by Peoples Park in Berkeley to donate boxed lunches to the less fortunate. The lunches were well received as many of the players were praised with shouts of "Go Bears!" Other players delivered clothing to needy families in San Francisco's Tenderloin District.
By 4 p.m., everyone gathered at Pier 33 to join the Miami Hurricanes for a tour of Alcatraz. The fare on the short boat ride to the island included pizza and, of course, plenty of Emerald Nuts. The teams took part in the Alcatraz audio tour and stayed on the Rock for about 90 minutes before returning to their hotels for more game prep work and a little free time. The weather cooperated and the clear night offered a stunning view of San Francisco across the water.
Cal practices again Wednesday before going to a Christmas Eve dinner at Bistro Boudin at Fisherman's Wharf. The Bears and Hurricanes meet in the seventh Emerald Bowl Saturday at 5 p.m.

Emerald Bowl Week Day 2: A Rainy Practice
Bears Work Out on Grass in Preparation for Turf at AT&T Park

Dec. 24, 2008

The California football team wrapped up its second day of practice held at Witter Rugby Field on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Berkeley. The Golden Bears continued to focus their efforts on 11-on-11s, 1-on-1s and red-zone drills for preparation against Miami in the Emerald Bowl on Saturday.
With the bowl game being played at AT&T Park, Cal switched to practicing on a grass surface, rather than the artificial turf at Memorial Stadium.
After practice, members of the media gathered to talk with various players.
"I don't think we've faced anyone as fast as Miami," said sophomore running back Jahvid Best. "As far as I'm concerned, these are just two teams going out there and playing football. All of the history, all of the things you've done before this season, that doesn't matter anymore. It's how you prepare for this game."
Cal also spent a good portion of the practice working on special teams coverage and field goals. The scout team again was utilized to simulate Miami's offense and defense.
After practice, Cal players enjoyed a little down time at the hotel before being treated to a buffet dinner at the Bistro Boudin on Fisherman's Wharf. The Bears had Boudin's famous clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, with salad, mashed potatoes, pasta, chicken and steak. Players from Miami were also at the dinner.

Several Cal players will spend time visiting children at California Pacific Medical Center Thursday to help lift the spirits and warm the hearts of patients on Christmas Day. Practice also resumes Thursday afternoon on campus. The team will also enjoy a Christmas dinner at the hotel.
Emerald Bowl Week Day 3: Hospital Visit and a Last Practice in Memorial Stadium
Bears Getting Ready to Face Miami Saturday at 5 p.m.
Dec. 25, 2008
The Cal football team returned to Berkeley on Thursday afternoon for its final practice in Memorial Stadium in preparation for Saturday's Emerald Bowl against Miami. Players were in high spirits, and even head coach Jeff Tedford sported a Santa hat during the workout.
At the end of the workout, Tedford announced that Nate Longshore would start for the Bears vs. Miami.
"Nate will be our starting quarterback," Tedford said. `He's looked really sharp in practice over the past two weeks. He's put a lot of zip on the ball. He's had command of the offense and he's been real accurate throwing the ball. He's really had two of the better weeks I've seen him have."
Prior to practice, Robert Mullins, Sam DeMartinis, Chet Teofilo, Chris Guarnero and Kendrick Payne visited the children's ward of the California Pacific Medical Center in downtown San Francisco to bring some holiday cheer to young children and their families. Along with four other players from the Miami Hurricanes, Cal players brought gift bags filled with autographed posters and pom-poms.
"It was such a great feeling to bring joy to these kids today," said Payne. "It is tough enough for these children and their families to be in a hospital on Christmas. I just hope we made their day a little brighter."
The team returned to their hotel after practice to enjoy a Christmas dinner in their hotel ballroom. The Bears have a busy day on Friday, as they will participate in an Emerald Bowl rally at Yerba Buena Gardens at 11 a.m. and the Emerald Bowl kickoff luncheon at the Westin St. Francis before going through their final walk-through at AT&T Park.

Games Played: 3 Series Record: Miami leads 2-1 First Meeting: 10/10/64, Cal, 9-7Last Meeting: 9/15/90, Miami, 52-24 Current Streak: Miami two in a row Tedford vs. Miami: 0-0
Cal Bowl Guide Miami Bowl Guide
After finishing the regular season with an 8-4 overall record and a 6-3 mark in the Pac-10, California will make its school-record sixth consecutive postseason appearance when the Golden Bears meet Miami in the Emerald Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 27. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. in San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Cal began its bowl run at the Insight Bowl in 2003, followed by the first of two trips to the Holiday Bowl (2004 & 2006), the Las Vegas Bowl (2005) and the Armed Forces Bowl (2007). The Bears are 4-1 in bowl games under head coach Jeff Tedford and own a 9-8-1 all-time mark in postseason contests. Prior to Tedford's arrival, Cal had earned bowl bids just five times since 1959, going to the Garden State Bowl (1979), Copper Bowl (1990), Citrus Bowl (1992), Alamo Bowl (1993) and Aloha Bowl (1996).
Cal Bowl Games under Jeff Tedford
2003 Insight Bowl Phoenix, AZ Cal 52, Virginia Tech 49
2004 Holiday Bowl San Diego, CA Texas Tech 45, Cal 31
2005 Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas, NV Cal 35, BYU 28
2006 Holiday Bowl San Diego, CA Cal 45, Texas A&M 10
2007 Armed Forces Bowl Ft. Worth, TX Cal 42, Air Force 36
2008 Emerald Bowl San Francisco, CA Cal vs. Miami
Cal and the ACC Cal is 1-2-1 all-time against teams from the ACC: 1-0 vs. Clemson (37-13 win in the Jan. 1, 1992 Citrus Bowl), 0-1-1 vs. Duke and 0-1 vs. Maryland (lost 35-27 this year). The Bears have played other schools in the ACC that were not members of the conference at the time, including Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech.
Against teams in the present ACC lineup, Cal is 2-1 in bowl games, starting with the 1929 Rose Bowl when Georgia Tech emerged with an 8-7 victory. The decisive play was Roy Riegels' infamous wrong-way run with a recovered fumble that eventually led to a Cal safety.
Cal played Clemson in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 1992, prevailing 37-13. Russell White gained 103 yards on the ground and the Bears scored 17 first-quarter points, including a 72-yard punt return for a TD by Brian Treggs, en route to the victory.
In 2003, Cal outlasted Virginia Tech (then of the Big East) in a 52-49 shootout at the Insight Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz. QB Aaron Rodgers was 15-for-17 for 245 yards in the second half and his 8-yard TD run put the Bears up, 42-28, late in the third quarter. But after Virginia Tech tied the score with 3:11 left in the game, Tyler Fredrickson made a 35-yard field goal as time expired for the deciding points.
Alex Mack: Smarter Than the Average BearConsistently rated the No. 1 public university in the country, California can now boast the nation's No. 1 football scholar-athlete.
On Tuesday, Dec. 9, senior center Alex Mack was named winner of the National Football Foundation's 2008 Draddy Trophy during a ceremony in New York. Also referred to as the "Academic Heisman," the Draddy Trophy is one of college football's most sought-after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and community leadership. The award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. Having already graduated with a 3.61 GPA and a bachelor's degree in legal studies, Mack is currently pursuing a master's in education. Named the 2008 Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for football, he is a three-time first-team Pac-10 All-Academic choice.
On the field, Mack is a two-time first-team All-American, earning honors from The Sporting News in 2007 and this year (as of Dec. 15). Recipient of the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-10, he was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy the past two seasons and was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award this fall.
Best in Show Sophomore TB Jahvid Best enters the Emerald Bowl with 1,394 yards rushing, an average of 126.7 ypg that ranks fifth in the nation and first in the Pac-10. Perhaps most amazing, he averages 8.0 yards per carry, which is the best in the country for any runner with at least 125 attempts this year and the highest for Cal's leading rusher ever.
The 5-10 speedster really turned on the jets the last couple of weeks of the regular season, totaling 512 yards on just 38 carries (13.5 ypc), He ran through Stanford for a then-career-high 201 yards and two TDs Nov. 22, then exploded for a school-record 311 yards on 19 touches vs. Washington Dec. 6. His UW performance included touchdown runs of 60 and 84 yards among his four scores. Best's 311-yard effort is the No. 4 output in Pac-10 history and the fourth-best in the NCAA FBS this year.
In addition to his rushing prowess, Best also paces the Bears in receptions (27) and could become the first Cal player to lead the team in rushing and receptions since Chuck Muncie in 1973.
Top 4 Rushing Performances in Pac-10 History
1. Rueben Mayes, Washington St. vs. Oregon, 1984 357
2. Ricky Bell, USC vs. Washington St., 1976 347
3. Maurice Drew, UCLA vs. Washington, 2004 322
4. Jahvid Best, Cal vs. Washington, 2008 311
Top 4 Rushing Performances in the FBS in 2008
1. Shun White, Navy vs. Towson, 8/30 348
2. Morgan Williams, Toledo vs. Miami (Ohio), 11/21 330
3. Tarrion Adams, Tulsa vs. Tulane, 11/22 323
4. Jahvid Best, Cal vs. Washington, 12/6 311
Golden Guys: 4 on All-Pac-10 1st Team
Four Golden Bears - center Alex Mack, tailback Jahvid Best, linebacker Zack Follett and cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson - were named first-team All-Pac-10 in a vote of the conference coaches. In addition, offensive guard Noris Malele, defensive end Tyson Alualu and punter Bryan Anger were chosen to the second-team unit. Linebacker Anthony Felder, defensive end Cameron Jordan, linebacker Mike Mohamed, fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou and linebacker Worrell Williams all earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors.
Mack, who was named on nine of 10 ballots, is a three-time first-team choice, while Best earned first-team notice for the second consecutive season after claiming a spot as a special teams performer in 2007.
Bears Earn Pac-10 All-Academic Honors Center Alex Mack, offensive guard Mark Boskovich, fullback Zach Smith and linebacker Mike Mohamed were named to the Pac-10 All-Academic first team, with fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz earning honorable mention notice. No school had more first-team selections than the Bears, with Oregon and Oregon State also having four first-team players.
During his seven seasons as head coach, Jeff Tedford has seen Cal players claim Pac-10 All-Academic honors 74 times.
23 Interceptions for Cal D Cal enters the Emerald Bowl with 23 interceptions to its credit this season, a figure that stands as the most at the school since the Bears also picked off 23 passes in 1953. As a result the Bears are third in the country in interceptions, a big reason they are seventh nationally in turnover margin (+14). The number is even more remarkable when considering Cal had just 10 interceptions last season.
To date, 12 different players have recorded at least one INT, led by Syd'Quan Thompson's four. Darian Hagan, Sean Cattouse and Marcus Ezeff have added three each.
NCAA Passes Intercepted Leaders
1. Boston College 26
2. Florida 24
3. California 23
4. Troy 21
4. East Carolina 21
Cal Season Interception Leaders
1. 1948 30
2. 1947 27
3. 1953, 2008 23
4. 1949, '68, '70, '91 22
The Plus Side of Turnovers Head coach Jeff Tedford has focused on turnovers as the No. 1 key to football since his arrival in 2002 and for this season, he and his staff have taken it a step further. Every practice in preseason camp featured a turnover circuit with each payer on the team working on drills related to protecting the football, recovering the football and forcing turnovers.
The result is that Cal ranks first in the Pac-10 and seventh nationally in turnover margin (+14, +1.7 per game), having forced 32 turnovers in 12 games, leading to 118 points (29.5% of the Bears' total output). On the flip side, the Bears have committed just 18 turnovers themselves and if they maintain it through the Emerald Bowl, they will tie the school mark for fewest TOs in a season.
A look at the stats during Tedford's tenure backs up his assertion of the value of turnovers. In his seven years at Cal, the Bears are 33-3 (.916) when winning the turnover battle and 13-19 (.406) when losing that statistical comparison (as well as 12-8 when tied). In Pac-10 games, the stats are even more decisive, as Cal is 22-1 (.956) with a positive margin and 7-17 (.291) with a deficit (7-5 when turnovers are tied).
In Tedford's first season in Berkeley, the Bears were third in the country in turnover margin (+18 total, +1.5 per game).
Cal's Turnover Margin under Tedford
Year Margin per Game NCAA Rank Record
2002 +1.5 3rd 7-5
2003 +0.2 50th 8-6
2004 +0.2 51st 10-2
2005 -0.5 88th 8-4
2006 +0.5 30th 10-3
2007 -1.2 76th 7-6
2008 +1.7 7th 8-4
1,000-yard Runners Again and Again With Jahvid Best rushing for 1,394 yards so far, Cal has now produced a 1,000-yard rusher during each of Jeff Tedford's seven seasons in Berkeley. The streak is the second longest ever in the Pac-10 behind USC's 10 in a row from 1972-81.
On the national level, only one other school can boast seven having a 1,000-yard rusher seven years running - New Mexico - although Missouri could join the list as Derrick Washington has 992 yards entering the Alamo Bowl.
Since 1936, Cal backs have won the conference rushing title just seven times, with Best aiming to become the eighth. However, he would be the Bears' third champion in five years, following in the steps of J.J. Arrington (2004) and Marshawn Lynch (2006).
Cal's 1,000-yard Rushers since 2002 2002 Joe Igber (1,130) 2003 Adimchinobe Echemandu (1,195) 2004 J.J. Arrington (2,018) 2005 Marshawn Lynch (1,246) 2006 Marshawn Lynch (1,356) 2007 Justin Forsett (1,546) 2008 Jahvid Best (1,394)
Cal Single-Season Rushing Leaders 1. J.J. Arrington (2004) 2,018 2. Justin Forsett (2007) 1,546 3. Chuck Muncie (1975) 1,460 4. Jahvid Best (2008) 1,394 5. Marshawn Lynch (2006) 1,356
House Calls Cal has set a school record with 19 different players scoring touchdowns this season. Sophomore running back Jahvid Best has taken it to the house a team-high 14 times. Three scores have come on the defensive side as Michael Mohamed, Marcus Ezeff and Brett Johnson all recorded pick sixes. Bryant Nnabuife, meanwhile, has been big on special teams, returning two blocked punts for scores.
The previous mark was 16 players in the 1946 and '47 seasons, while 15 players scored in 1949, and 14 scored in 1993, 2000 and 2006.
7th Heaven with its victory against Stanford Nov. 22, Cal secured its school-record seventh straight season with at least seven wins - each year that Jeff Tedford has overseen the program. Tedford's turnaround has been quite remarkable, especially considering that the Bears were coming off a 1-10 campaign in 2001 and had not had a plus .500 season since 1993.
Tedford Trends Of the 86 head football coaches at Pac-10 schools over the last 50 years, Jeff Tedford is one of just four to have winning seasons in each of his first seven years. Others: Frank Kush (ASU), John Robinson (USC) and Mike Bellotti (Oregon). Since he arrived in 2002, the Bears have won 58 games, second among Pac-10 teams to USC's 81, played in five bowl games going on six, second only to USC's six going on seven; won four bowl games, second only to USC's five; and earned three top-3 finishes in the Pac-10, second only to USC's six. Tedford is also 6-1 in the Big Game vs. Stanford.
Full of First-Time Starters in 2008 Over the course of the season, Cal has had 14 players register their first career starts at some point during the year. Three of the starts have come on the defensive side of the ball in the form of DE Cameron Jordan, LB Eddie Young and CB Darian Hagan. But on the offensive side, 11 different players have made their starting debuts this fall, including six along the offensive line - Chet Teofilo, Chris Guarnero, Mark Boskovich, Justin Cheadle, Mitchell Schwartz and Donovan Edwards. Guarnero (toe) and Teofilo (ankle) both opened the year as starters but have been felled by injuries, leaving senior C Alex Mack the only veteran along the front wall.
First-Time Starters for the Bears in 2008
TB - Jahvid Best, Shane Vereen
WR - Nyan Boateng, Jeremy Ross, Sean Young
OL - Mark Boskovich, Justin Cheadle, Donovan Edwards, Chris Guarnero,
Mitchell Schwartz, Chet Teofilo
DL - Cameron Jordan
LB - Eddie Young
DB - Darian Hagan
Unkind in the Red Zone Opponents have struggled to score in the red zone against the Bears all season, shown by the fact that Cal ranks second in the country (No. 1 in the Pac-10) in red-zone defense (66.0%). Prior to the Big Game, Stanford ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 and in the top 10 nationally in red-zone offense, but only came away converting on 2-of-4 tries. Cal forced a fumble in addition to a missed field goal by the Cardinal. Overall, the Bears have allowed 19 TDs and 8 field goals in 41 opponent trips inside their 20-yard-line.
3rd-Down Deficiency When it comes to stopping opponents on third down, Cal ranks among the best in the country, having limited teams to 30.3% (54-178) - second in the Pac-10 and ninth in the NCAA. Among conference schools, only USC (26.6%, 2nd NCAA) is better. Eight of 12 opponents have converted four third downs or fewer, and only Maryland (6-12) has reached the 50 percent threshold.
Pick 6 Cal has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this year, including two in the Bears' 41-20 win over UCLA Oct. 25. Marcus Ezeff returned one pick 69 yards for a TD, while Mike Mohamed added a 19-yard TD return in the fourth quarter. Brett Johnson was the first Bear to get a pick 6 with 43-yard return vs. Colorado State Sept. 27. Cal also returned three INTs for touchdowns in 2002 and 2006, and set a school record with five interceptions returned for TDs in 1999.
Under 4,000 Cal's defense has given up 3,785 yards through 12 games this season, 715 yards less than the Bears surrendered through 12 games last year. Cal's per-game average of 315.4 ypg allowed is the lowest during Jeff Tedford's tenure as head coach. The last time the Bears had a lower per-game rate was in 1994 when they gave up 299.9 ypg.
Overall, Cal's defense rates among the NCAA leaders in several categories: No. 4 in turnovers gained (32), No. 3 in passes intercepted (23), No. 9 in third-down conversion defense (30.3%), No. 3 in fourth-down conversion defense (25.0%), No. 2 in red-zone defense (66%), No. 5 in pass efficiency defense (97.01 opponent QB rating) and No. 7 in turnover margin (+1.17 per game, +14 total).
3-4 Showcases Linebacker Strength The Cal coaching staff changed its base defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this year to take advantage of its superior talent and depth at linebacker. Recognized among the best linebackers in the nation, the Cal contingent features three seniors in Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams who were also starters in 2007. Each member of the trio earned All-Pac-10 recognition this fall, as well as reserve Mike Mohamed.
Felder, who leads team with 89 stops, has reached double digits in tackles three times this season with 12 stops vs. Michigan State, 10 at USC and 13 vs. Stanford. Felder has also cracked Cal's top 10 career tackles chart (9th) with 247 after posting nine tackles against Washington.
Follett continues to climb up Cal's career chart in tackles for loss (47.0), now eighth on the list after recording a team-high 19.0 this season (sixth in the country). In his last five games, he has 40 tackles, 10.5 for loss, two forced fumbles and 4.5 sacks. Follett had 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 5 TFLs against Stanford, while he earned Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week recognition after recording 11 tackles, three for loss, and a pass break-up in the Oregon game.
Williams has been active around the ball all season, recording 61 stops (fifth on the team), 5.0 tackles for loss and six pass break-ups. He recorded his first interception of the season against Oregon and returned it 50 yards to help set up a Cal touchdown just before halftime.
Other Bear linebackers have contributed, as well, in 2008. Mohamed is second on the team with 80 tackles, while junior Eddie Young, who has started 10 games this season, picked off his first interception of the season against Stanford to help set up a Cal touchdown. He recorded a personal-high seven tackles against Colorado State, and has 38 on the year. Junior Devin Bishop, the younger brother of former Cal star LB Desmond Bishop, has 11 tackles, including four vs. Colorado State, while sophomore Charles Johnson (six tackles), redshirt-freshman D.J. Holt (14 tackles) and true freshman Mychal Kendricks (15 tackles) all are in the mix.
Cornering the Market Cal features two of the better cornerbacks in the Pac-10 in junior Syd'Quan Thompson and sophomore Darian Hagan. Together, they have combined for seven interceptions and 34 passes defensed.
Thompson, who has started every game of his 38-game career, earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors this fall. He has four interceptions himself, including two at Washington State when he set a school record with 108 return yards. His 90-yard runback of one INT was the fifth-longest in Cal history.
In addition, Thompson is 23rd in the country in punt returns (12.3 ypr), with his biggest thrill coming against Colorado State when he brought back a kick 73 yards for a TD. For the game, he had 131 punt return yards against the Rams, just seven yards shy of the Cal record.
Not to be outdone, Hagan ranks second in the Pac-10 in passes defensed with 18, a total that matches the Cal season record. The product of Crenshaw HS in Los Angeles equaled his career best with three pass break-ups against Oregon Nov. 1. He recorded his first career two-INT game against Washington, joining Thompson as the other Bear to accomplish that feat this season.
Last season, Hagan saw action in just five games, primarily on special teams. He has started every game for the Bears this year.
Anger Management Freshman P Bryan Anger saved his best performance of the season for the Big Game vs. Stanford Nov. 22. Anger booted a career-long 76-yard punt in the first quarter (pinning Stanford on its one-yard line), the fourth-longest punt in Cal history and furthest since Scott Tabor kicked one a school-record 89 yards against USC in 1987. Anger followed up with a 75-yarder in the third quarter, which tied Ryan Longwell for No. 5 in school history. His 60.2 average on four kicks set a Cal single-game record.
Anger was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2008 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation's top collegiate punter, and was the only freshman and Pac-10 player on the list.
The Camarillo native is currently averaging 43.65 yards per punt this season - 14th-best in the nation. Sixteen of Anger's 66 punts have traveled 50+ yards and 25 of his punts have placed inside the 20-yard-line.
Against Arizona State, for example, he punted seven times for a 47.4 average, including a 72-yarder that pinned ASU on its own 4-yard-line with less than five minutes to play. Overall, three of his kicks landed inside the ASU 10, earning him Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Quick Starts Through 12 games this season, Cal has outscored its opponents 94-40 in the first quarter and 124-58 in the second, giving up an average of just 8.1 ppg in first halves. Only three opponents - Maryland, Oregon and Oregon State - have managed to score a touchdown in the first quarter. In fact, the Bears have shut out their foes in the opening period seven times and limited two teams - USC and Washington State - to just one field goal each. Overall, Cal has outscored opponents nine times in the first quarter and 10 of 12 times in the second quarter.
Big Numbers at the Gate Again Cal finished the 2008 regular season averaging 61,634 fans per contest, the fourth time in the last five years the Bears have drawn more than 60,000 fans per game. In terms of pure numbers, Cal attracted its second-highest total ever this year. With 431,437 fans having passed through the gates, only the 2006 season, which drew 450,223 fans and averaged a record 64,318, had a higher total.
The Tedford Era Jeff Tedford, now in his seventh year at the helm of the Bears, has quickly brought the program into another "Golden" Age. The Bears' seven-year record of 58-30 is among the best-ever at Cal.
Era Years Record Pct Highlights
The Wonder Teams 1920-24 44-0-4 .958 Three national titles
The Thunder Teams 1937-38 20-1-1 .932 One championship
Pappy's Boys 1947-52 53-9 .855 Three Rose Bowls
Jeff Tedford Era 2002-current 58-30 .659 Six straight bowls
Early 90s 1990-93 30-17 .638 Three bowls
Mike White Era 1972-77 35-30 .538 Pac-8 title in `75
Bears on TV For the second year in a row, all Cal football games will be broadcast live on television. The Bears have appeared on ABC seven times, including five consecutive weeks from Oct. 25 (UCLA) through Nov. 22 (Stanford). Cal was also on ESPN for the game at Maryland and on Comcast SportsNet-California for the Washington State, Colorado State and Arizona contests. The regular-season finale vs. Washington was aired nationally on Fox Sports Net. The Emerald Bowl match-up vs. Miami will be broadcast on ESPN.
Waves Get Ready for Rainbow Classic
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Release: 12/24/2008

UPCOMING — After about a week off due to the Christmas holiday, the Pepperdine men’s basketball team takes part in the 45th annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, hosted by Hawaii. The Waves will have three chances to break their 11-game losing streak. Pepperdine opens the eight-team tournament with a game against Buffalo on Sunday. Underclassmen are dominating the young Pepperdine lineup, as freshmen and sophomores are scoring more than 85% of the points.
GAME #13 — Sunday (Dec. 28) at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii: Pepperdine (1-11) vs. Buffalo (5-4) at 7 p.m. PT/5 p.m. HT.
GAME #14 — Monday (Dec. 29): Pepperdine vs. either Colorado (6-3) or Coppin State (1-8) at a time that will be determined by other first-round results.
GAME #15 — Tuesday (Dec. 30): Pepperdine vs. either Colorado State (3-8), George Washingon (6-2), Hawaii (6-3) or Vermont (6-3). Game times for the final day are 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (all times HT).
ON THE WEB — Subscribers to "Wave Casts" can catch all Pepperdine men’s basketball games on the internet at Veteran play-by-play man Al Epstein, now in his 24th season with the Waves, is behind the microphone (Epstein called his 700th consecutive Pepperdine broadcast vs. Pacific on Dec. 13). Non-televised home games will have live audio and video, while road games will be audio only. Go to the Pepperdine Athletics website and look for the WaveCasts link. An annual pass costs $69.95 and monthly subscriptions are also available. Live statistics will be available for all home matches free of charge, and links are provided to the home team’s website when the Waves are on the road.
RAINBOW CLASSIC — This is the Waves’ second appearance at the Rainbow Classic. They also competed at the 2003 event, posting a 1-2 record and a fourth-place finish. Pepperdine defeated American University in the first round before losing to Fairfield and IUPUI.
OPPONENTS — This will be the first meeting between Pepperdine and Buffalo ... If the Waves play Coppin State in the second game, it will also be the first-ever meeting ... If Pepperdine plays Colorado in the second game, the Waves are 4-3 all-time against the Buffaloes, last posting a road win in December 2006 ... Among the final-day potential opponents, Pepperdine has not faced Vermont and is 4-3 against Colorado State, 1-1 against George Washington and 3-5 against Hawaii.
ROTATION — Among the 10 available players that have seen the most playing time (those averaging double-digits in minutes), eight are freshmen or sophomores and seven weren’t on the roster last year.
LAST GAME — In the Waves’ last game before the break, they fell 86-58 at home to Georgia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday, Dec. 20. Mychel Thompson had one of the best scoring games of his career with 20 points, but no teammate had more than seven points. Six Georgia Tech starters scored in double-figures, including all five starters. The Yellow Jackets had a shooting edge of 54.8% to 36.2% and scored 42 points in the paint.
FRESHMAN SCORING — Last year, freshmen scored 63.6% of Pepperdine’s points. It looks like the new group of freshmen may lead the way in 2008-09 as well. Right now they account for 55.4% of the scoring, compared to 30.1% by the sophomores and 14.5% by the seniors.
STAT LEADERS — Scoring leaders are freshman Keion Bell (11.7), sophomore Mychel Thompson (10.2), freshman Dane Suttle Jr. (7.6) and freshman Lorne Jackson (7.6) ... Rebounding leaders are freshman Taylor Darby (6.8), sophomore Denis Agre (4.4) and freshman Corbin Moore (4.4).
INJURY UPDATE — Senior point guard Ryan Holmes suffered a knee injury two minutes into the New Mexico State game on Nov. 21 and did not return. He was attempting a lay-up but an Aggie player landed on him. It was diagnosed as a sprain and he is expected to be out at least six weeks. One of just three upperclassmen on the squad, the absence of Holmes’ experience and steady point guard play has been felt by the inexperienced Waves.
LOOKING TO END THE STREAK — Pepperdine’s losing streak is its longest since an 11-game run that included the last seven games of the 1965-66 season and the first four games of the 1966-67 season ... Pepperdine had a 12-game losing streak in the middle of the 1965-66 season (a season where the Waves started 1-17 and finished 2-24) ... Pepperdine had a 14-game losing streak in the 1963-64 season and a 20-game losing streak that included the last 17 games of the 1955-56 season and the first three of the 1956-57 season.
SOLES4SOULS — Pepperdine’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, in conjunction with student-fan group Riptide, will be collecting shoes at Firestone Fieldhouse throughout the 2008-09 basketball season for Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls has already successfully donated more than one million pairs of shoes to those hurting both domestically and internationally. Fans can drop off shoes, both new and used, into the Soles4Souls collection box located near the concession stand at Firestone Fieldhouse, or among several additional boxes placed throughout Pepperdine’s Malibu campus.
ROSTER — The Waves have just five players that saw action last season. Only four of them were on the roster at season’s end, and because of injuries, only two of them played in the 2007-08 season finale at the WCC Tournament. The five returners accounted for 40.2% of last year’s scoring (950/2,365), 32.0% of the rebounding (357/1,117), 59.6% of the assists (239/401), 16.4% of the blocked shots (21/128) and 57.9% of the steals (183/316). To replenish the roster, the Waves added 10 newcomers. Two are sophomores that are junior college transfers, six are scholarship freshmen and two others are walk-on freshmen. Of the 15 players, 12 are underclassmen. The breakdown is three seniors, zero juniors, four sophomores and eight freshmen.
RETURNERS — Three players — senior Rico Tucker (10.7 ppg last season), sophomore Mychel Thompson (8.1 ppg) and senior Ryan Holmes (6.0 ppg) — were starters in 2007-08. Senior Mike Hornbuckle (5.5 ppg) saw extended playing time last season and started half of the 32 games. Sophomore Gus Clardy (1.3 ppg), a walk-on, appeared in 16 games last season.
NEWCOMERS — When Tom Asbury was hired in February, he was given a very late start to the recruiting process. The three recruits that signed letters-of-intent with the previous coaching staff were given their release, and several players transferred following the season. With many holes to fill, Asbury and his staff utilized their contacts, identified the best of the remaining unsigned talent that fit their needs and put together a very impressive group under the circumstances. The Sporting News ranked Pepperdine’s recruiting class #2 in the West Coast Conference.
FOR OPENERS — The win over Cal State Monterey Bay gave the Waves their first victory in a season opener since 2001-02. Tom Asbury didn’t win in his coaching debut back in the 1988-89 season (a three-point loss to Texas), but he did in his second go-round.
NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE — The home schedule should be much more palatable to Waves fans in 2008-09. A year after playing just three non-conference home games, Pepperdine supporters will be treated to eight this time around, including ones against such big-time opponents as Brigham Young and Georgia Tech, and in-state foes such as Cal State Bakersfield, UC Irvine and Pacific. A few of the road games are notable too, including contests at Pac-10 foes Arizona State and USC. The Waves will also take part in the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii right after Christmas.
TELEVISION — The Waves will appear on television several times once again in 2008-09. Six games will be shown locally (Nov. 21 at Arizona State on FSN Prime Ticket, Jan. 10 vs. Loyola Marymount on ESPNU, Jan. 22 vs. Gonzaga on FSN West, Feb. 14 vs. San Diego on FSN West, Feb. 21 at Gonzaga on ESPNU and Feb. 26 vs. Saint Mary’s on FSN West). A few other games will be televised out of market (Nov. 21 at New Mexico State on FSN Arizona, Jan. 17 at Saint Mary’s on Comcast Sports Net California).
TOM ASBURY — It was announced on Feb. 19, 2008, that the architect of one of the best stretches in Pepperdine history, Tom Asbury, was returning to Malibu to become the Waves’ head coach again. Asbury was previously at Pepperdine for 15 seasons, the first nine as an assistant coach (1980-88) and then the next six as the head coach (1989-94). He then served as head coach at Kansas State from 1995-2000 and was most recently an assistant coach at Alabama from 2004-07. Asbury went 125-59 (.679) in his first six seasons with the Waves and 210-147 (.588) in his first 12 seasons overall as a head coach. The Waves went to the postseason five times in six years with three NCAA Tournament appearances (1991, ’92, ’94) and two in the NIT (1989, ’93). Pepperdine won three regular-season West Coast Conference titles, finished no worse than second in any of his six seasons and compiled a league record of 66-18 (.786). Pepperdine’s only three WCC Tournament championships came under Asbury.
Tom Asbury wanted to find assistants with a passion for Pepperdine and an understanding of its mission, so he turned to three former student-athletes. It’s believed that Duke and Pepperdine have the only two college basketball staffs where the assistant coaches are all alums. Associate head coach Marty Wilson (1985-89) and assistant coaches Damin Lopez (1990-94) and Will Kimble (2001-03) played in three different eras, all successful. In the 13 seasons that made up their playing careers, Pepperdine went a combined 261-135 (.659), had 12 winning seasons, won six WCC regular-season titles and three WCC tournament titles, and made six NCAA Tournaments and four NITs.
RECRUITS — The Waves signed two players to letters-of-intent for 2009-10 during the early-signing period. They are 6-foot-3 point guard Josh Lowery (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS) and 6-foot-9 forward/center Tanner Kerry (Sydney, Australia).
WCC PRESEASON POLL — Unfortunately, Pepperdine was picked to finish eighth in the conference’s preseason poll, done by a vote of the coaches. The predicted order of finish went Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, San Diego, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Portland, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
LAST SEASON — The midseason resignation of Vance Walberg and several player departures that followed contributed to Pepperdine’s third straight losing season, as the Waves finished 11-21 overall and sixth in the WCC at 4-10. They defeated Portland in the first round of the WCC Tournament before falling to eventual champion San Diego in the quarterfinals.
PEPPERDINE HISTORY — This is the 71st season of Pepperdine basketball, and the Waves opened 2008-09 with an all-time record of 1,102-887 (.554). The Waves’ game at Cal State Northridge on Dec. 18 was the 2,000th in program history. Pepperdine has been to the NCAA Tournament 13 times (last in 2002), and has won 12 West Coast Conference regular-season titles (last in 2002) and three WCC Tournament crowns (last in 1994).
BEST IN THE WEST — Over the 30-season period from the 1978-79 season through the 2007-08 campaign, Pepperdine has proven itself as one of the top Division I programs on the West Coast. Of the 31 schools that currently play Division I basketball in California, Oregon or Washington, the Waves began the 2008-09 season ranking third overall in postseason appearances (16) and fifth in both wins (516) and winning percentage (.575) over the past 30 years.
WAVES IN THE PROS — Several former Pepperdine players have gone on to play in the NBA, most notably Dennis Johnson (the 1979 NBA Finals MVP) and Doug Christie (a 15-year NBA veteran who was a mainstay on the All-Defensive Team). Currently in the NBA is Yakhouba Diawara, now in his third season overall and his first with the Miami Heat. Alex Acker is on the Detroit Pistons’ roster for the second time, having also appeared briefly with the team in 2005-06.
Some recent players have been playing in foreign countries, including Brandon Armstrong (Ukraine), Casey Crawford (Mexico), Tashaan Forehan-Kelly (New Zealand), Jelani Gardner (Greece), Kelvin Gibbs (Germany), Chase Griffin (Germany), Dana Jones (Switzerland) and Glen McGowan (Dominican Republic) and Levy Middlebrooks (Mexico). Robert "Hollywood" Turner, formerly a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, is now playing in Germany.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE — Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won a total of nine NCAA championships in five different men’s sports — one of just 14 schools to have accomplished this feat. Of the 14, Pepperdine is the only non-BCS school and has by far the smallest enrollment. The majority of Pepperdine’s teams are ranked nationally year after year and several compete for conference and national titles.
RAINBOW CLASSIC: This year will mark Vermont’s first ever appearance in the 45th annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, the longest running eight-team tournament in the nation. The Cats have never faced six of the seven teams in the tournament (Colorado, Colorado State, Coppin State, George Washington, Hawaii and Pepperdine). Buffalo is the only squad Vermont has played as the Cats won the only meeting between the two during the 1961-62 season, 66-58 also in a tournament setting (Springfield College Tournament). Vermont is on the same side of the bracket as George Washington, Colorado State and Hawaii. By playing George Washington in their opener, the Cats will face at least five teams from the Maryland/D.C. area this year (George Mason, Maryland, Loyola and UMBC) and have a chance for a sixth if they meet up with Coppin State. Five of the eight teams have at least five wins on the season.

Parting shot for eight-team format
By Dayton Morinaga Advertiser Staff Writer

After 44 years, the Rainbow Classic has hit a midlife crisis.
Faced with the reality that it can no longer compete with younger, more attractive tournaments, the Rainbow Classic will celebrate its 45th anniversary this week with a semi-retirement party.
The 45th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic will run Saturday through Tuesday at the Stan Sheriff Center. This will be its last year as an eight-team tournament.
Next season, the inaugural Diamond Head Classic will be held during Christmas week as an eight-team tournament at the Sheriff Center. The Rainbow Classic will downsize to a four-team tournament, and probably will be held in November or early December.
"The Rainbow Classic has all the tradition, but let's face it, it has seen its day and that day has passed," said Jim Leahey, the television voice of University of Hawai'i athletics. "Like everything else in life, there's change."
The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team has served as host of the Rainbow Classic every year since the first one in 1964, and will continue to do so next season. ESPN will run the Diamond Head Classic, although the Rainbow Warriors will be designated the home team.
"It was time to deal with this," Leahey said. "This tournament has struggled to attract teams, and it wasn't getting the national exposure."
Chuck Leahey, Jim's father, and former UH basketball coach Red Rocha are credited with developing the Rainbow Classic.
It started in 1964 with the help of two local military teams — the Hawai'i Marines and Subpac.
"The university didn't have the money to support an eight-team tournament, but my father and Red wanted it to be an eight-team tournament, so the military teams were brought in," Leahey said. "It was the time of the (military) draft, so they had some great players."
The Hawai'i Marines won the inaugural Rainbow Classic.
Leahey thought the tournament might not continue after Utah State head coach LaDell Andersen got punched in the face by the head of officials on the opening day of the first Rainbow Classic.
"What a way to start," he said. "A coach of one of the visiting teams gets punched out." But it endured, and eventually became one of the best tournaments in the country during the 1970s, '80s and '90s.
"All the teams wanted to come here," Leahey said. "Then Maui came along and now all of the teams want to go there."
The Maui Invitational — hosted by Chaminade — emerged as the premier tournament in the mid-1990s. What's more, the Maui Invitational is run every year during Thanksgiving week, which is apparently a better time of year for visiting teams.
"The Rainbow was always during Christmas time, either right before or right after," former Hawai'i basketball coach Riley Wallace said. "Some teams didn't like that because they had to make that long trip back home and then they'd lose their first conference game and blame the travel."
Wallace, who was the head coach of the 'Bows for 20 Rainbow Classics, said he never wanted to change the dates for the tournament. It's a fun time of year — there's no school, a lot of people are on vacation," he said. "It was a good time of the year to have basketball all day."
This year's Classic features a field of parity, even if not powerhouses. Joining Hawai'i are Buffalo, Colorado, Colorado State, Coppin State, George Washington, Pepperdine and Vermont.
"This being the 45th Classic, the last one in this format, our guys are going to do everything they can to win this," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "It means a lot to our basketball program. This has been one of the top tournaments in the country for years and years."
The Diamond Head Classic is hoping to fill that role next season.
"It's a financial move and ESPN is supposed to pick up the tab for the Diamond Head," Wallace said. "You never like to lose something as traditional as the Rainbow, but with the economy the way it is, it's a good thing for the program and the school to have ESPN come in and help."
For the record, the Rainbow Classic will keep its records, even when it becomes a four-team tournament next season.
"I'm glad there's still going to be a Rainbow Classic. You should have a remnant there as kind of an esteemed award for a 45-year entity," Leahey said. "It won't be nationally televised and it will have only four teams, not eight. But it will still be called the Rainbow Classic, and that alone will jog so many memories."
Among the most memorable:
Utah State's Wayne Estes scoring 122 points in three games of the inaugural Rainbow Classic. It is a record that still stands. He died six weeks later when he was electrocuted in a freak accident.
Pete Maravich of LSU scoring 53 points against St. John's in the 1969 Classic.
The "Fabulous Five" becoming the first Hawai'i team to win the Classic in 1970.
Bob Nash grabbing a tournament record 52 rebounds, including a record 30 in the championship game, as the Fabulous Five made it back-to-back titles in 1971.
Coach Bob Knight leading Indiana to the 1974 title over Hawai'i. Legend has it Knight threw a gift box of pineapples off the team bus after Indiana lost a game in the 1980 Classic.
Michael Jordan leading North Carolina to the 1982 Classic championship.
Hawai'i upset No. 11 Pittsburgh for the 1990 title — the first of eight for Wallace as head coach.
Kansas, Michigan and North Carolina reaching the semifinals of the 1992 Classic. Those three teams would make it to the Final Four later that season. Michigan won the Classic; North Carolina won the national championship in the infamous Chris Webber timeout game.
Hawai'i's Trevor Ruffin making 10 of 11 3-pointers in a near-upset of Louisville in 1993.
Led by Anthony Carter, the 'Bows upset No. 2 Kansas in the 1997 championship game.
Hawai'i rallying from a 21-point deficit to defeat Butler in the 2002 title game.

'Bows get prime time even if they lose
'Bows face reeling Rams in tournament opener

It's nice to have insurance, but the Hawaii men's basketball team hopes its new coverage is unnecessary.
No matter what happens in tomorrow's opening round of the 45th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, the Rainbow Warriors won't have to worry about any dreaded daytime games. That's because of a newly installed format that guarantees the tourney hosts nighttime slots no matter the outcome of their two preliminary contests.
Not that coach Bob Nash's team intends to lose any games after last year's 0-3 debacle.
"It's going to be a great Classic. It's wide open," Nash said. "This being the 45th Classic, the last one in this (eight-team) format, our guys are going to do everything they can to win this. It means a lot to our basketball program, because this is one of the top tournaments in the country for years and years."
UH (6-3) plays Colorado State (3-8) in the opening round at 7:35 p.m., while Vermont and George Washington kick things off at 5. Buffalo and Pepperdine (5 p.m.) and Colorado and Coppin State (7:30 p.m.) meet in the other two quarterfinal games on Sunday.Brian McInnis