Jeff Tedford has put together the longest run of success for the Golden Bears in 50 years, and yet after going a combined 12 and 13 the last two seasons, the seat for the coach is probably getting a little warm. With another mediocre or even worse, the second losing season in three seasons Tedford maybe joining the ranks of the unemployed.

It is unfortunate, but these are times that we live in. In the cutthroat world of college sports, it is a what have you done for me lately world. With Cal spending big money updating their facilities, finishing with a 7 and 5 and a middling bowl invite just isn’t going to cut it, especially with rival Stanford on the upswing.

Sadly, the Bears have a tough slate, and I just don’t think that they have the talent to realistically improve on last seasons 7 and 5. The numbers and the projection model back up that stance, projecting the Golden Bears to win just 5 games in 2012. If that is the case, it might be a farewell tour for Tedford.

Like I did for Stanford, here is a quick explanation on how the model works:

  • I start by estimating the “True Talent” winning percentage for each team on the schedule and then Stanford.
  • I did this by looking at the last two years’ winning percentage, based on each team’s Pythagorean expectation. I also looked at what the “experts” at Sports Illustrated estimated for each team, then finally looked at what Las Vegas set as each team’s over/under in terms of wins this season. As the season goes on I will incorporate the Pythagorean expectation of the current season to replace the preseason expectations of the “experts” and the Casinos. The estimated differential is then converted into a projected winning percentage using the Pythagorean expectation.
  • For each game the winning percentages are converted into odds of winning the game using the log5 method.
  • I then figure in a “home field adjustment” to take into account if it is a home game or road game.
  • I then simulate each game 10,000 times using a Monte Carlo Simulation to get a projection of how the season may unfold.

Here are the results of that simulation:

Expected Record


Bowl Eligible


8+ Wins


10+ Wins


Perfect Season


Reaching a Bowl game is less than a coin flip. Getting to 8 wins is a long shot and hoping for anything better is praying for a miracle. Things just don’t look very good for Cal this season.

Here are the simulated results for each game.

vs. Nevada
vs. Southern Utah
at Ohio State
at USC
vs. Arizona State
vs. UCLA
at Washington State
vs. Stanford
at Utah
vs. Washington
vs. Oregon
at Oregon State

According to the simulation, Cal has one great chances at a win a (.70-.79), one good chance at a win (.60-.69), four of toss up games (.40-.59), three good chances at a loss (.30-.39), one great chance at a loss (.20-.29) and a pair of excellent chances for losses (.10-.19). You might give Cal a bigger boost for the opener against Nevada with the added energy of playing the first game at New Memorial Stadium but even then it sure doesn’t look good.

The bottom line: Cal (and Tedford if he wants to keep his job) will need to play above their heads this season to break away from the .500 record they have had the last two seasons. The road ahead is tough but crazier things have happened.