|Cal coach Jeff Tedford's seat is getting hotter by the week. The Golden Bears are off to a 1-4 start, the worst in Tedford's 11-year tenure. (US Presswire)|
Before the 2012 season started, Cal coach Jeff Tedford got a strong vote of confidence from AD Sandy Barbour. "Jeff Tedford is not on the hot seat," Barbour told CBSSports.com in late August. "We want to win, and we will win with Jeff Tedford."
Tedford's seat may have not been hot in August, but it looks like it's certainly heating up in Berkeley for the 11th-year coach. The Golden Bears are 1-4 following Saturday's 27-17 loss to Arizona State, the worst start in Tedford's tenure. And it appears patience is running thin with the wealthy alums who help pay Tedford's salary.
Tedford's contract runs through 2015 and because he has no buyout the school would have to pay him the remainder of the contract if they fired him -- a number that would approach $6.9 million if Tedford were to be let go at the end of the season.
As Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News points out, no state money is used to pay Tedford's $2.3 million salary and, presumably, no state money would be used to pay his buyout.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Cal's wealthy alumni are so frustrated with the football program that the idea of raising the necessary funds to fire Tedford is no longer out of the question. "I'm the last one off the bus when it comes to [firing] Tedford," one wealthy alum told the Chronicle. "But we have to move on. His game management has been awful. ... If this doesn't turn around, I really think they'll buy him out. I'm predicting that if we finish under .500, he's gone."
Cal's shot at reaching .500 seems to be minimal. The Bears are 1-4 and have to play No. 2 Oregon, No. 14 Oregon State, No. 18 Stanford, No. 23 Washington and No. 25 UCLA. Not to mention they travel to Washington State and Utah, neither of which will be easy wins.