Cal football: 15 greatest quarterbacks in Golden Bears history

Jared Goff, California Golden Bears. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Jared Goff, California Golden Bears. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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Zach Maynard, California Golden Bears
Zach Maynard, California Golden Bears. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Cal football has one of the proudest histories when it comes to throwing the football. Here are the 15 best quarterbacks in the history of the Golden Bears.

It might come as a surprise to some, but Cal football has made a bigger impact on the game than you might think. The California Golden Bears have claimed five national titles, won 14 conference championships, appeared in 23 bowl games and boast a 55.1 winning percentage as a program.

Though they have never had a Heisman Trophy winner, Cal has had 27 consensus All-Americans, many of whom played the quarterback position collegiately in Berkley. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today; Cal quarterbacks.

Throughout many college football programs’ histories, offensively it has primarily been three yards and a cloud of dust. While Cal has had some excellent running backs over the years, the Golden Bears are undoubtedly one of the most elite passing programs college football has ever seen. Their long list of excellent signal-callers is staggering, many of whom would go on be first-round picks in NFL Drafts.

So what we are going to do today is take a look back at the best quarterbacks to ever rock the blue and gold. Whether it is passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, yards per attempt or the many awards he might have won in school, here are the 15 best quarterbacks in Golden Bears history.

Zach Maynard‘s path to Cal was an interesting one. The left-handed signal caller from Greensboro, North Carolina originally played his college ball in the MAC for the Buffalo Bulls. Maynard hardly played at all as a true freshman in 2010. He would emerge as the Bulls’ starting quarterback in 2009, where he threw for 2,694 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Unfortunately, that led to a 5-7 season for the Bulls, resulting in head coach Turner Gill’s firing.

After two years in Buffalo, Maynard would transfer to Cal to play for passing guru Jeff Tedford. Maynard did have to sit out the 2010 campaign but would become the Golden Bears starting quarterback in 2011. Cal went 7-6 and made it to the Holiday Bowl, as Maynard completed 57.0 percent of his passes for 2,990 yards, 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Together, it seemed as though Maynard and Tedford had something potentially special cooking entering the 2012 NCAA season. Sadly, that year would end in major disappointment for Maynard, Tedford and the entire Cal football program.

Maynard was able to complete over 60 percent of his throws for the first time in his college career at the 60.8 clip but only managed 2,214 passing yards for 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. This is because he suffered a season-ending injury nine games into the year. Cal went 3-9 in 2012. Maynard had exhausted his eligibility and Tedford was fired after 11 years in Berkley.

Overall, Maynard would complete 58.6 percent of his passes at Cal for 5,204 yards, 29 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He averaged 7.4 yards per attempt in Golden Bears uniform, as well as amassed a 128.4 passing efficiency rating during his two years in Cal.

Maynard ranks in the top 15 in nearly all major passing categories in Cal football history. His career yards per attempt (min. 300) is his best stat while playing for Tedford. Though nowhere near the very best quarterbacks to have ever played at Cal, perhaps his greatest connection to the program is this: his younger half-brother Keenan Allen was an All-Pac-12 performer at wide receiver and has put together a strong NFL career with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers since 2013.