Tedford suffered through a lot of bad luck (needing a decade to get facilities, suffering through bad recruiting classes because of bad facilities, Tosh, Mack Brown) but also had weaknesses of his own (spotty coaching hires, increasingly ineffective offensive schemes, and of course lack of QB development). If you had to rank the biggest factors as to why Cal couldn't get a Rose Bowl with Tedford at the helm, how would you rank them?
Ohio Bear, California Golden Blogs: At the top of the list is the lack of quarterback development after Aaron Rodgers and the "good" Nate Longshore of 2006. So much of Cal's inability to have a consistent offense over the last few years can be traced to the lack of consistency at quarterback. A close second is the offensive line woes Cal has had. The O-line had been a strength of the program before O-line coach Jim Michalczik left the staff the first time after the 2008 season. The O-line play has not been the same since, even after Coach M's return in 2011. So those would be my top two reasons. Third would have to be a combination of Mack Brown and the BCS system: the 2004 season is probably the only one since the BCS was created where Cal would have missed the Rose Bowl. Just our luck, huh?
ragnarok, California Golden Blogs: In Tedford's first five seasons, Cal had two very good shots at the Rose Bowl, coming up nine yards short in 2004 and (arguably) missing by the width of DeSean Jackson's toe in 2006. Those two squads came about as close as you can get to the Rose without reaching it, and you could argue that plenty of worse teams have made the Rose Bowl over the years. Tedford built a program capable of getting there, and that he twice fell just short can't be attributed entirely to him.
During the subsequent six years, however, Cal never again came close to the Rose Bowl (falling ass-backwards into the Holiday Bowl in 2011 doesn't count as "close"). Lots of issues attributed to this, but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be that Cal never again had consistent quarterback play. For a guy with such a résumé as a quarterback guru, working with a steady pipeline of Elite 11 talent, this failing can only be seen as baffling, and Cal's inability to run a consistent offense sans an elite signal-caller made this regression even more glaring.
Leon Powe, California Golden Blogs: I think the first and foremost reason is that all of Cal's very best teams have come at a time during historically good teams in the Pac. In 1991, we had a team that would've gone to the Rose Bowl most years - and it happened to play in the same year UW had a national championship team. The best Tedford teams (2004, 2006) came during a historic USC run when they had national championship contending teams. I don't think Tedford or anyone with the team would say "well we would've gone but one team was better" but its a real answer. The timing of our best teams has just come when other teams have even higher peaks - and that's just terrible fortune.
Berkelium97, California Golden Blogs: One of my biggest criticisms over the years has been Tedford's poor track record of hiring assistant coaches. In recent years we've constantly criticized the team for failing to make use of the talent it has. We were great at turning solid teams into Pac-10 contenders during the first half of Tedford's tenure. Recently we've been turning exceptionally talented teams into a team that struggles to finish in the top half of the conference. Much of this has to do with poor coaching at the position level.
Tedford had a great supporting cast through 2007 but things have been downhill since. He's made some good hires such as Clancy Pendergast, Kenwick Thompson, and most recently Wes Chandler. But for every good hire we've had our Marshalls, Dafts, Ludwigs, and, of course, every QB coach since 2008. With our inability to do anything with our recent QBs and O-linemen (though things have improved slightly since Michalczik's return), our offense has suffered over the years.