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September 1, 2006
Game of the Week: Cal at Tennessee
When Cal and Tennessee players needed any kind of a boost during the offseason, all they had to do was look at the top of their schedules.
For Cal, Saturday is a chance to face the SEC, to silence Neyland Stadium's 100,000-plus fans screaming "Rocky Top," and to win some believers on the East Coast.
For Tennessee, Saturday is an opportunity for redemption from a losing season, a chance to put a dent in Cal's national-title aspirations and the time to reassert itself as a premier team on the national level.
"I think in the offseason, through the summer, there's definitely a buzz," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "It's been something these guys have been looking forward to for a long time."
Saturday's matchup (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) will be a statement game for both teams, making it Rivals.com's Game of the Week.
At Cal, a Tedford quarterback will not be the center of attention going into the season. Running back Marshawn Lynch (1,246 yards, 10 touchdowns) and a talented defense will be carrying the load for the Bears.
The last time UT faithful saw Tennessee, the Volunteers were on their way to a 5-6 season after losing at home to Vanderbilt. A familiar face returns to the Vols sideline Saturday. Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, who was Tennessee's offensive coordinator during the Peyton Manning glory years, is back in Orange this season.
How will one of the Pac-10's best handle one of the traditional powers of the SEC?
Find out in the Rivals.com Game of the Week Breakdown: