8-4 overall, 4-4 conference, 4th Pac-10
Against the spread
6-6 (4-4 home, 2-2 away, 4-5 grass)
7-5 (5-3 home, 2-2 away, 6-3 grass)
-.50 per game
2005 Season Summary
Head coach Jeff Tedford wasted very little time in putting his stamp on the California Golden Bear football program. He arrived after a 2001 season in which the Bears went 1-10 straight up and 3-8 against the spread and has been winning ever since.
Value began depleting
His first team surprised with a 7-5 straight up and 8-4 against the spread mark. In 2003 the Bears went 8-6 straight up and 9-4-1 against the spread, which included an upset win over eventual national champion USC. In 2004 Tedford’s Bears were BCS contenders much of the season as they finished 10-2 straight up and 7-5 against the spread.
Cal’s three straight years in the black against the sportsbooks would be in jeopardy in 2005, however, as the “word” was out and the Bears were attracting more mainstream gamblers each week. After starting off 2004 6-1 against the spread, their value depleted and they covered just one of their final five games to end the year.
Tedford’s greatest challenge
The 2005 season opened with a multitude of question marks as Cal had to replace 13 starters, including their 1st round draft pick quarterback. Getting Cal back to a bowl in 2005 would be Tedford’s greatest challenge since taking over the program and turning it from a 10-loss team to perennial bowl contender.
Value about to plummet
Cal opened the season with a 41-3 win over 1-AA Sacramento State. They followed that up with a 56-17 annihilation of Washington as 7.5-point road chalks as it appeared as if Cal would pick up right where it left off in the past two seasons. In reality their value was about to plummet.
Reactive public arrived too late
Cal next hosted Illinois. Who was off to a surprisingly good start under new coach Ron Zook. The Bears were clearly overvalued as 22-point chalks and failed to cover a 35-20 win. Cal was, again, a hefty chalk (-29) in their next game at New Mexico State as they failed to get the cash in a 41-13 win as the reactive public arrived too late and paid a premium price to bet Cal.
One last smooth patch
Cal next hosted Arizona as a 16.5-point chalk and covered in a 28-0 win. It would prove to be one last smooth patch on a very turbulent path against the pointspread.
In their next game at UCLA the Bears were 1.5-point chalks, which was a ridiculous line being that the Bruins were undefeated and Cal was rebuilding. The Bruins prevailed in a 47-40-comeback win to begin the Bears free fall against the pointspread.
Cal next was a 15-point home chalk against Oregon State in a 20-23 upset loss. This was followed by a 42-38 win over a weak and struggling Washington State team as 12.5-point home chalks. Cal was still not commanding full value as they were just a 2-point dog at Oregon in a 20-27 loss in their next game.
At home against defending national champion USC, the magic of 2003 could not be repeated as the Bears lost 10-35 as 18.5-point dogs to reach rock bottom with their fifth consecutive loss against the spread and seventh in eight games.
Up then down
In their matchup against archrival Stanford the bears were 4.5-point road chalks and scored a solid 27-3 win over the Cardinal. In their bowl game against BYU the Bears were 8.5-point chalks as the proven commodity, but failed to cover in a 35-28 win in which they proved to be still over-valued as they ended the season briefly up then down. The 2005 season was a lesson to gamblers about buying tickets for a train that long since left the station.