Ted Miller has an interesting story asking a tough question: Why isn't Cal any good? He decided to write this after talking to a Cal reporter (JO?) who said Cal just might not be that good this year. Here are some of the highlights that explain why Cal hasn't lived up to expectations. He also talks about Riley, the secondary, and leadership, but I don't have space for all of it.
The rotating door at offensive coordinator hasn't helped: Andy Ludwig is the Bears fifth offensive coordinator in five seasons. Hmm. That can't help continuity. At this point, it would be fair to say fans at Oregon and Utah, where Ludwig suffered heavy criticism during previous stops, are giggling and pointing a mocking finger at Berkeley.
Replacing three starting linebackers in the 3-4 scheme was more difficult than originally thought: The big personnel loss from the 2008 team was almost entirely at linebacker, where Zach Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder needed to be replaced. Still, that was not a huge concern entering fall camp. Those guys were good college players but not exactly future NFL starters. The youngsters who were next in line were generally more athletic, while Mike Mohamed was expected to grow into an All-Conference player. This article does a good job of breaking down how things haven't gone well. Mostly, there's been a lack of continuity as coordinator Bob Gregory has tried to find who belongs where.
The offensive line misses Alex Mack and line coach Jim Michalczik: Mack is starting at center for the Cleveland Browns (so he's not much better off than his former teammates). Michalczik, widely regarded as one of the nation's best offensive line coaches, is now with the Oakland Raiders (so he's miserable, too). Entering the season, the general feeling was the line was talented and deep, considering injuries last fall forced many young players into starting roles. The line hasn't been terrible. It hasn't been as good as expected, either. And it certainly hasn't been good enough to beat defenses that are stacking the box to stop Jahvid Best.
The secondary has underachieved: The Bears secondary was the one area no one doubted. All four starters were back from a unit that ranked sixth in the nation in pass efficiency defense and grabbed 24 interceptions, which ranked third in the nation. The Bears presently rank 87th in the nation and have just four interceptions. Not to call one player out or anything, but did you see All-American cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson whiff on Joe McKnight's 38-yard TD run to open the scoring Saturday? That sort of play -- and pursuit angle -- won't help him get drafted
After the jump, we look back at Cal-USC and check in on the other Cal sporting events of the weekend (they didn't fare so well either). Can we get a mulligan for this past weekend in Cal sports? Looking ahead, I have the Cal-UCLA kickoff time (12:30pm on ABC) and Sandy's response to how administrators will respond to the dangerous crowd conditions at Memorial.
- Cal falls to 8th in Ted Miller's Pac-10 power rankings.
- Daily Cal on how this may just be the same team from 2008. Two stories on how the offense has begun to stagnate.
- BusterSports gives Cal an F for their performance against USC.
- Cal-UCLA kicks off at 12:30pm on ABC on October 17th.
- Sandy Barbour responds to letters detailing the dangerous conditions at Memorial this past weekend.
- In the second-biggest Cal sporting event of the weekend, No. 4 water polo loses 8-6 to No. 3 USC. Daily Cal on the men's water polo loss.
- No. 9 women's volleyball loses to No. 16 UCLA in four sets.
- Field hockey loses 3-2 to Iowa on Sunday and also lost 1-0 to Indiana on Saturday.
- Women's tennis was successful in the Cal Nike Invitational Tournament.
- No. 6/7 men's soccer defeated No.17/20 Stanford 1-0.
- No. 10 women's soccer tied No. 11 Santa Clara 1-1 in a double-overtime decision.