BERKELEY — Cal is locked into fourth place in the Pac-10 and faces a team Saturday that is 0-11. But don't let that make you think the Bears aren't motivated to play their regular-season finale against Washington.
The Bears — at least their defensive players — can't wait to get another shot at the Huskies. Last year, Washington rushed for 360 yards in a 37-23 rout over Cal at Husky Stadium.
"I remember coming off the field, it was the worst I've ever felt in football," Cal linebacker Worrell Williams said. "We got embarrassed by this team. We have a chance to embarrass them by having them 0-12."
Last year's defeat was part of the Bears' late-season collapse that ended with a loss the following week to Stanford. Cal unraveled down the stretch, losing six of its final seven regular-season games.
"That was a pretty bad one," linebacker Zack Follett said. "Our mind-set as a team was in the dumps at that point. We had guys taking themselves out that game. They wouldn't go in."
After the game, normally mild-mannered coach Jeff Tedford lit into his team in the locker room,
"It's never good when the head coach comes in to yell at you," defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "Your position coach is always giving you some choice words, but you know you really messed up when the head coach comes down hard on you."
Despite missing one game and parts of three others, Cal tailback Jahvid Best has a chance to win the Pac-10 rushing title.
He enters Saturday's game 170 yards behind Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers. Best already has 1,083 yards on the season, giving the Bears a 1,000-yard rusher in each of Tedford's seven years at Cal.
"That would be a goal of mine," Best said. "That's a personal goal, but team goals are more important. I wasn't even thinking about that (before the season), so I'm fortunate to be in the position I'm in right now. If I don't get the rushing title, it's still a good season."
Best has had to battle elbow, foot and ankle injuries this season. He's coming off a career-high 201 rushing yards against Stanford.
The competition between Best and Rodgers will continue into the bowl season.
"You have to respect a guy who comes out and really lays it on the line, especially a running back, taking a lot of hits," Cal right guard Noris Malele said.
Emerald Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli said Wednesday that he is "very close" to an agreement with the Las Vegas Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl can choose Cal before the Emerald Bowl, but Cavalli hopes to secure the Bears to keep a local team at home. The Emerald Bowl is at AT&T Park on Dec. 27. ... Safety Brett Johnson, who missed the Big Game with a sprained shoulder, has returned to practice.
— Jonathan Okanes