Cal has been irrelevant for a few years now. But, 2nd year head coach Sonny Dykes had a tremendous amount of success at La Tech and I have no doubt he will continue that at Berkeley, but it’s a whole other world out there. Stanford across the Bay and Oregon to the North. The LA duo of USC and UCLA to the South. The Desert dynamos to the Southeast make for some tough days in getting the program back and going at California.
There are 34 Cal Bears playing in the NFL, which is 5th among colleges. Don’t look for the Bears to stay down even though they are going through some rough times now.
Jared Goff is where it all starts at Cal. Like normal, Dykes is going to have a killer passing attack and a dangerous team much like Mike Leach up North at Washington State. Leach teams may not win the conference, but they often have a say in who does by pulling the occasional upset of the powerhouse teams. He did it at Lubbock and Texas Tech for years, and is doing it again at Pullman, Washington. The Mike Leach offenses will always be something to be dealt with and will always break records. Same is true of Sonny Dykes and they both come from the same system under Hal Mumme at Kentucky. Dykes also brought in another Mumme disciple, Tony Franklin, and named him the offensive coordinator for Cal.
Leach doesn’t care about defense, but I believe that Dykes does and will field one at Cal.
Goff put up amazing numbers last season, all records at Cal which is saying something because of their QB history. Aaron Rodgers is the most famous, but Cal had some seriously good QBs back in the old days as well. Goff putting up the numbers he did is fairly common in this type of offense but it was the first year at Cal for Dykes and Goff was a true freshman. Goff is still really skinny and probably will fill out before he is done but that only means something as far as his NFL chances are concerned. He was a highly effective QB as a 18 and 19 year old kid no matter how physically mature he was.
Goff had surgery on his shoulder in the off season and is just getting back to where he was last year.
Even though Goff put up record numbers last season, the Offensive Line was not good. It’s hard to say how much better the OL will be next season, but they do have some experience coming back.
Cal people think they have the top returning receivers in the country. Their top 4 return and they will probably use from 9 to 11.
The Bear defense was awful last year which led to the 1-11 record. Judging from the Spring Game, it looks like the Cal coaches have increased speed on the defense with guys flying around all over the place. To their credit, at least they added 5 JC transfers on defense. Time will tell if they help out and their schedule is barely short of brutal.
Biggest thing for Cal Berkeley is to avoid injuries on defense. If they can keep Hardy Nickerson and Jalen Jefferson healthy, they could be much improved defensively.
In the real life is way more important than football category, the Cal Bears and the world lost reserve defensive lineman Ted Agu. Agu, 21, collapsed and died after a team workout.
By all accounts, Ted Agu was a great guy and this is a huge loss not only for Cal but for the rest of the world as well.
The California Bears should be much improved this season but that may not do them that much good. They open with what should be a hungry Northwestern team. After Sacramento State, they get right into the thick of things with the Pac 12 schedule.
They play every heavyweight in the Pac 12 except Arizona State and then they end with BYU.
Could be another tough year for the Cal Bears but I don’t expect them to only win 1 game again this season.