Kodiak: Under the current system, an eight game conference schedule helps Cal because we'll theoretically be adding in another B or C opponent to pad our win total. Or, it'll be a high visibility A which could raise national perception provided we don't fall on our face. Basically, it gives us the option of scheduling like a cowardly big name school...or not.
LEastCoastBears: If Cal Football is playing for a national title, I think the 9 game conference schedule would be more beneficial as the strength of schedule would be tougher. However, if Cal Football is struggling just to be bowl eligible (which has a diminished meaning as the College Football Playoff grows in the near future), then the extra tougher conference opponent might hold Cal back. Being an optimist, I would hope that Cal Football would be a national title contender and benefit from the 9 game schedule.
ragnarok: An eight game schedule would probably benefit Cal in terms of revenue (more home games) and win percentage (not likely to use it to schedule Pac-12 level schools). Would Cal maintain its guarantee of an annual matchup vs. the SoCal schools with an 8-game schedule? If Cal loses that, this move is definitely detrimental to Cal football.
Berkelium97: It's beneficial in that we get an extra home game (more revenue, even if we will never sell out games against C-grade non-confernece opponents). We also pick up another win and take one step closer towards bowl eligibility, which has been disappointingly elusive over the past couple years. However, it feels wrong to take the easy way out. The conference standings still determine which bowl we're invited to, so an additional win only gets us one step closer to bowl eligbility. And I'd rather not envision a future in which we need another Colorado State or Wyoming on the schedule to eke out a bowl invitation.
We should not stoop to the level of the SEC. In fact, the rest of the conferences need to demand that the SEC adopts a 9-game conference schedule. Let's level the playing field before adopting the playoff schedule. If the SEC is great as its fans claim it is, its schools shouldn't be daunted by playing another conference game.