Sam Fielder: Tough to choose since both are pretty agonizing, but I think I'll go with good offense, bad defense. At least with that combo, falling behind isn't a horrible fate, but instead is just more stats for the Bear Raid.
Berkelium97: We had good defense the past few years? That's news to me. The defense had some good games, but we also gave up 100+ points each to Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, and USC over the past three years.
I pick good defense, bad offense. Here's my reasoning: the Pac-12 is filled with great offenses: Oregon, Arizona, ASU, Cal (so far), UCLA. It has 2 great defenses: Stanford, and a half-point each for Oregon and ASU. A great defense can neutralize many of these offenses. Defenses aren't great in the conference, so even a middling offense can win by scoring 25 points per game, if your defense is good enough. Furthermore, great defenses help the offense by scoring points (interceptions/fumbles returned for TDs) and putting the offense in advantageous positions by shifting field position battles and forcing turnovers. Does a great offense help out the defense? Other than keeping them off the field longer, not really.
Vlad Belo: It seems like we have had to live through this choice far too often as Cal fans. It hasn't been just recently. For example, we had the "good defense/bad offense" scenario during the Hit Squad years of the late 1990s. In 1990 and 1996, we had the "good offense/bad defense." But I digress.
If forced to make the choice, and it's a close call, I think I'd take the good offense. These days, it seems that a defense needs to be REALLY REALLY good to make up for a bad offense, whereas a good offense will more easily bail out a bad defense. Granted, I have no empirical data to support my position. It's just an opinion that I'd rather have a really good offense that needs just enough defense to win rather than have to put my defense in a position to have to win the game every week.
Leland Wong: The only difference I can think of is that an effective and exciting offense might be able to maintain the crowd's attention and energy, which might help the team. But still, you're basically asking me if I'd rather get stabbed in the left eye or the right. I don't care--just get it over quickly.
atomsareenough: Thankfully we don't have to choose, but if we had to, I'd definitely pick good offense and bad defense. Even with a really good defense, bad offense can lead to your D being out on the field so long that they become ineffective. I think that happened a lot over the last few years, where our offensive ineptitude led to so many 3-and-outs that our defense just got worn out by the end of the game and we would break down. Whereas even if you have a bad defense, with a good offense you can always get right back into a game. Also, shootouts are entertaining.
Norcalnick: I'd choose good offense, bad defense. Which loss was more fun? Losing 15-13 to Oregon, or losing 44-30 to Northwestern? At least the latter gave us some great highlights to remember, like the fake field goal and the bomb to Chris Harper.
And there are few worse things than seeing your team fall behind by a couple scores, knowing that there was no hope of coming back. Those days should be gone.
Ruey Yen: I would go with good offense/bad defense as high scoring games in football are more entertaining, generally. This is also why I have liked the traditional stereotype Pac-10/12 games better than those of the SEC. With the fast pace offense that results in more plays, I feel like the viewers/fans are getting more value for watching the game. Hooray for Bear Raid!