Athlon invited several Cal experts (including one of our own!) to participate in a preview of the Bears' 2012 season. Do the Bears have what it takes to finish second in the Pac-12 North? Athlon's writers have a tough time envisioning it.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
With Stanford losing Andrew Luck and the uncertainty surrounding Washington's defense, I think the door is open for California to challenge for second place in the North. There’s no question 2012 is going to be an important season for head coach Jeff Tedford. The Golden Bears are just 12-13 over the last two years and have not posted a double-digit win total since 2006. There’s a lot to like about California going into 2012, as the renovations to Memorial Stadium are complete and the roster has some quality talent waiting to step into playing time after back-to-back top-15 recruiting classes. The schedule features tough non-conference matchups against Nevada and Ohio State, but division foes Washington, Oregon and Stanford will all visit Berkeley. The biggest question mark facing California will be quarterback Zach Maynard. Although he finished the year with more touchdowns (17) than interceptions (12), he needs to be more consistent. The offense also needs to develop more receivers outside of Keenan Allen. Although the defense loses six starters, this unit has plenty of talent and shouldn’t be an issue. The opportunity is definitely there for California, but I’m going to guess this team won’t be much better on offense and will fall short of finishing second place in the Pac-12 North.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
Cal has a chance at 2nd place in the Pac-12’s North division with Stanford losing Andrew Luck and Washington still trying to fix its defense, but I would not predict the Bears to finish that high. They do return some exciting skill players in potential All-America wideout Keenan Allen and running back Isi Sofele, but there were some key personnel losses that Jeff Tedford’s club suffered from last season. Cal lost its best offensive lineman (Mitchell Schwartz), defensive lineman (Trevor Guyton), the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (linebacker Mychal Kendricks), both starting safeties (Sean Cattouse and D.J. Campbell) and two solid specialists (kicker Giorgio Tavecchio and punter Bryan Anger). That’s a ton of experience to be without when the Bears make September trips to Ohio State and USC. Cal does get division foes Oregon, Stanford and Washington at home, but the gap between the Bears and the Ducks and Cardinal still looks large to me. Stanford will have a nasty defense, and Washington should be improved with a revamped coaching staff that includes two Cal defectors - Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau. If quarterback Zach Maynard can play less erratic, like he did last November, then the Bears have a chance to be very good on offense. However, the defense will take a step back after losing its best players. I see Cal as a 7-5 club overall, finishing third or fourth in the North.
After the jump softball improves to 37-1, Avery Sebastian makes his case as starting safety, and we have video interviews galore from Tuesday's practice.
- Niners Nation scouts Marvin Jones in anticipation of this month's NFL Draft.
- 2012 season tickets are selling like hotcakes! Have you already purchased yours? Justin Forsett may call to say thanks...
- Uncle Ted interviews Isi Sofele and Keenan Allen.
- Avery Sebastian has been impressing his coaches and may make a push at the starting safety role this fall.
- CalBears.com recaps Tuesday's practice. CJ Anderson returned from a nasty thumb injury and Vince D'Amato nailed a 50-yard field goal to end the practice on a high note.
- Alex Rossi and Emerson Murray have decided to transfer from the Bears.
- Kahlil Johnson comitted to the Bears.
- Valerie Arioto, Jolene Henderson, and Jamia Reid are all in the running for 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
- The Bears improved their record to 37-1.
- CalBears.com has a variety of interesting questions for senior Joanne Lee.
- Michael Weaver and James Yoon earned a couple of prestigious honors.
- Andrew Morgan joined the Bears' 2012 recruiting class.