The Orlando Sentinel has ranked all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. The Sentinel staff will take a closer look at a new team daily, counting backward from No. 120 to our projected No. 1 team. We will not be including the four teams the NCAA lists as still reclassifying to the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Today at No. 51: California

Coach: Jeff Tedford (79-48, 11th season)

2011 record: 7-6 (4-5 in Pac-12 Conference, fourth in the North Division)

Look back: After 10 seasons at the helm of the Golden Bears program, Tedford is starting to feel the heat ever so slightly. In 2010, Cal finished 5-7 and followed it up with a 7-6 record in 2011, its worst season since 2007. The team spent all of last season playing its home games at AT&T Park while work was being done on Memorial Stadium.

Offensive starters lost/returning: 5/6

Defensive starters lost/returning: 6/6

Key losses: WR Marvin Jones, P Bryan Anger, PK Giorgio Tavecchio, LB Mychal Kendricks, DL Trevor Guyton

Top returnees: QB Zach Maynard, RB Isi Sofele, WR Keenan Allen, DL Aaron Tipoti, LB Chris McCain

Strengths: Quarterback Zach Maynard struggled early on before finally settling down midway through the season. He finished with 2,990 yards and 17 touchdown passes and should see those numbers improve in 2012 – his second as a starter. Joining Maynard in the backfield is Isi Sofele, who surprised many critics last season when he rushed for over 1,322 yards and 10 touchdowns. His presence provides Cal with a solid one-two punch on offense. Keenan Allen was a standout at wide receiver last season but the loss of Marvin Jones and Michael Calvin means that the team needs to find another option at wide receiver.

Weaknesses: For the second straight season, Cal finished the year with one of the top defenses in the Pac-12. This year’s squad loses six starters from that unit including the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year, Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks led the team in tackles (107) and tackles for loss (14.5). The squad does return key components from the secondary including defensive backs Marc Anthony, Josh Hill and Steve Williams. The three combined for 131 tackles and five interceptions on the season. Special teams needs major rebuilding with the losses of punter Bryan Anger and kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. Also finding a replacement for returner Marvin Jones will be crucial.

Outlook: While Tedford may not be on the full-blown Hot Seat, he is starting to hear the grumbles from Cal fans looking for a little bit more from this team. Especially considering this program hasn’t won a bowl games since 2008. Expectations should be high for the season opener against Nevada in the renovated Memorial Stadium.

2012 Schedule

Sept. 1 Nevada

Sept. 8 Southern Utah

Sept. 15 at Ohio State

Sept. 22 at USC

Sept. 29 Arizona State

Oct. 6 UCLA

Oct. 13 at Washington State

Oct. 20 Stanford

Oct. 27 at Utah

Nov. 2 Washington

Nov. 10 Oregon

Nov. 17 at Oregon State

Rest of the countdown:
No. 52 UCF
No. 53 Pittsburgh
No. 54 Arizona
No. 55 BYU 
No. 56 Ohio

No. 57 Temple

No. 58 Purdue

No. 59 Arkansas State

No. 60 Vanderbilt

No. 61 Connecticut

No. 62 Arizona State

No. 63 Wyoming

No. 64 Northern Illinois

No. 65 Utah State

No. 66 Louisiana-Lafayette

No. 67 Marshall

No. 68 Western Michigan

No. 69 Louisiana Tech

No. 70 Kentucky

No. 71 Air Force

No. 72 Western Kentucky

No. 73 UCLA

No. 74 Toledo

No. 75 FIU

No. 76 San Jose State

No. 77 North Texas

No. 78 Iowa State

No. 79 Nevada

No. 80 Eastern Michigan

No. 81 Hawai’i

No. 82 East Carolina

No. 83 Texas Tech

No. 84 Washington State

No. 85 San Diego State

No. 86 Ball State

No. 87 Navy

No. 88 Tennessee

No. 89 Kent State

No. 90 Louisiana-Monroe

No. 91 Bowling Green

No. 92 Syracuse

No. 93 Minnesota

No. 94 Boston College

No. 95 Kansas

No. 96 Oregon State

No. 97 Rice

No. 98 Ole Miss

No. 99 Colorado

No. 100 New Mexico State

No. 101 Duke

No. 102 Idaho

No. 103 Army

No. 104 Maryland

No. 105 Colorado State

No. 106 Miami (Ohio)

No. 107 UTEP

No. 108 Troy

No. 109 Fresno State

No. 110 Central Michigan

No. 111 Indiana

No. 112 Memphis

No. 113 Middle Tennessee

No. 114 UAB

No. 115 Buffalo

No. 116 Tulane

No. 117: FAU

No. 118: UNLV

No. 119: Akron

No. 120: New Mexico



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