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Cal Football: What Would Be A Successful Season For You?


So after looking at our schedule, I would feel pretty happy with a 8-4 season. I nearly took the plunge and went with 9-3, but despite being back home at Memorial and getting seven beautiful games there, I had to restrain myself. If I were being realistic, I'd say 7-5, but I knew I wouldn't be happy with 7-5 and would just be telling myself that to comfort me in the dark nights.

I'd be satisfied with 8-4 (and maybe 7-5). What say you and why? Comment away!

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My reasoning.

Difficult schedule, second worst in the conference next to UW: 12 games up, 12 games down. No bye week in perhaps the most balanced and competitive conference in the country, and there's a chance we miss out on the two worst teams in the Pac-12. Awesome. It's a good thing we're at home a lot!

Cal is heavy underdogs in at least two games: USC and Oregon. Cal will be decent underdogs against Ohio State, then have to play USC the week thereafter. Picking us to go 9-3 would mean Cal would probably have to win seven of its last eight games. They haven't pulled off a string like that in six years.

Cal will be underdogs at home in the Big Game, and on top of that has to deal with Mike Leach the week before and Utah's defense the week after. There are really no gimmees in the Pac-12 anymore, and this schedule is unforgiving.

I like our offense and I like our defense. I just don't love them.
Replacing six starters on defense, five starters on offense, and your punter and kicker is a lot to ask for a team that needs experience and talent on every unit. It's not that I don't like the talent coming in, but I'm not sure the Bears have the talent or requisite pro-style experience quite yet in place.

Berkelium97: First off, you expect Stanford to be favored in the Big Game? They will be coming off a brutal four-game stretch: home vs. USC, at UW, vs. Arizona, and at Notre Dame. I can see them dropping two or three of those. I would be pretty surprised if they had a better record than we do when we face off in the Big Game.

In order for me to be satisfied with the season, the Bears need to start off with two solid wins to set up the Ohio State showdown. This is probably the biggest game for Tedford since Tennessee in 2007. I believe the Bears have the tools to beat an untested tOSU, but I can accept a tough, competitive loss. We cannot go into halftime down 35-0 or 42-0. The Bears need to show toughness and poise on the road.

I can deal with a blowout loss to USC. Everyone is going to suffer one of those this season.

Then the season gets interesting. Cal has 6 winnable games in a row before the Ducks come to town. I'll be pleased if we go 5-1 down the stretch, with the most probable loss coming from a trip to Salt Lake City.

I would be thrilled if they finally pull an upset against the Ducks, but I can accept a close, competitive game. The Bears should then go to Corvallis and deliver a loss to the Beavs.

Overall, I think we can go 9-3, but I'll be satisfied with 8-4.

It is just as important that the Bears stay competitive in every single game. We made some major strides last season and kept fighting in every single game while avoiding the uncharacteristic blowout losses we saw in 2009 and 2010. I was very relieved that none of our games last season were over after the first or second quarter.

Like Avinash, I'm satisfied with an 8-4 season where every loss is competitive.

Kodiak: A successful season:

Regain the Axe.
Destroy UW.
Win the games we're expected to win.
Be competitive in the games we're not expected to win. Stage one mind-blowing upset.
Show signs of a well-coached team that might get beaten by a superior opponent, but does not beat itself.

unclesam22: I'll agree with what everyone has said, and also what I've told people here in AL when they've asked me about Cal this season. I'd be ecstatic with 9-3, really happy with 8-4, and pretty good with 7-5.

I really want to feel like the program is back on the upswing again, which I think will be accomplished through a combination of winning the games that should be won and not getting blown out and looking undisciplined in losses. So really what I think every Cal fan out there is feeling and thinking for this season. With the reopening of Memorial and the new Pac-12 TV channel it really feels like this a good season to recapture some of the excitement and momentum from the 2004-06 seasons and I'd really like to see the team capitalize on that. And get the Axe back. Always the Axe.

atomsareenough: For me, 7-5 would be okay, but if we lose the bowl game, then I'm kinda disappointed, because that's zero progress from last year. Same with 6-6 and we win the bowl game, though that would end things on a slightly more positive note.

8-4 is doable and is my expectation for this year. We have 7 games at home. 9-3 would be really nice to see, and it would give us a shot at a 10-win season. Hard to complain if that happens.

Aside from the record, I will heartily concur with Kodiak's in-season "to do" list, though I think "Destroy UW" is item #1 this year, even above and beyond the Axe. The Axe we want and expect to claim every year. Destroying UW at home after this offseason's shenanigans is a once-in-a-generation duty for this team.

I really want to see at least one upset. Maybe the Ducks, ideally USC. Hopefully beating Stanford isn't considered an "upset". I consider that more of a birthright, if I'm honest.

Also, I'll add a subtask to his "be competitive" assignment: No Blowouts.

HydroTech: I would say that outside of going 10-2, 11-1, 12-0 or going to the Rose Bowl, then a successful season would have to be one where we win 8 or 9 games. Winning 7 games wouldn't necessarily be a complete a total failure, but it definitely isn't what I think a lot of us are expecting out of this team and this coach in 2012. Winning 6 or less games this year would probably be a failure.

LeonPowe: Successful season? I don't know how to quantify it, but I'll know it when I see it. Again, I don't think I can assign a W/L season as the line between success or not success, but if there's no losses which make me want to tear my hair out or throw the remote control across the room at 5am (c.f. UCLA last year) and we recover the Axe and acquit ourselves with effort - I'll consider that a success. I'd also like a bowl game.

Ohio Bear: My idea of a successful season:
  • 8-4 regular season record
  • We beat Stanfurd and take back the Axe
  • We are competitive in the L.A. Coliseum -- not necessarily win the game, but have a chance
  • No blowout losses
  • Winning a bowl game -- it's been too long since we played well in one of those

norcalnick: Can I just co-sign on Ohio Bear's? I agree with his take, and have heard rumors that he's both handsome and intelligent.

TwistNHook: I have also heard of those rumors, but find them to be scurrilous.

Ohio Bear: Every woman who has ever told me that has dumped me. So I don't really know what to think about that.

TwistNHook: We'll never dump you, OhioBear!

atomsareenough: Are we to assume that Mrs. Ohio Bear has not expressed an opinion on your appearance or intelligence?

Ohio Bear: Sure, we'll go with that.

TwistNHook: Having a fun time with my friends and enjoying the traditions and atmosphere of Cal football. To me, that is a successful season.

atomsareenough: ...but does the football team even know your friends?

TwistNHook: Does that even matter?

atomsareenough: How are they going to accomplish "having a fun time with your friends" if they don't know who they are?? They won't be able to have a successful season!

TwistNHook: Well, then, I guess I'll have to do all the work for them!

atomsareenough: I will now fully expect you to have enough fun this season for all 120 or so guys on the roster. That is a LOT of fun. I hope you're up for it.