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Cal football can still go bowling, but probably has to upset someone

Can they do it?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

What are you think of Cal's bowl chances at the moment so far?

Avinash Kunnath:
They've dampened quite a bit after the Washington performance. Beating Washington would have made it really hard to not go to a bowl; this offense is too potent to lose five in a row. But losing now puts us in a situation where we're likely to be .500 going into Corvallis. I'm worried whether we'll have the depth and experience to finish the season strong; this is still a pretty young group in comparison to the rest of the conference, and if the losses start coming, who knows how they respond.

October is looking like trouble. Stopping Cyler Miles is one thing; stopping Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley is quite another. We are not going to beat Oregon with our defense, and would need an insane amount of good fortune to hang in there for 60 minutes. UCLA is the game we have to win, and they're going to be hot steaming mad and in must-win mode to stay alive in the Pac-12 South next week. Really feel like next week defines the season.

So that leaves November for me. Oregon State and BYU are the two games I can see victory; from what I've seen, the Beavers are okay but hardly spectacular and BYU is going to be the game we need to have. USC has too much skill on offense and Stanford defense is going to unleash unholy hell.

boomtho: Our remaining games, in order, are: UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, Stanford, and BYU. I think we are large underdogs against Oregon and Furd, medium underdogs against UCLA and USC, and roughly even (or even slightly favored?) with Oregon State and BYU without Hill. That being said, I think we can still get to a bowl game. I think there's a great chance we end up with either 5 or 6 wins, but pretty doubtful we end up with 7+.

Ruey Yen: Still fairly good. Both the Oregon State and BYU (sans Hill) are winnable game, and I would like to think that we can get a big, signature upset win this year against one of UCLA, USC, Oregon, or Furd (preferably against Furd, of course). So there are still many ways to get to that 6th win. Now, whether 6 wins and bowl eligibility is enough for the the Bears to actually make a bowl game given the expected abundance of bowl eligible teams is a different story. i would feel that much more comfortable if the Bears can get a 7th win before we're seriously talking about going bowling.

Nick Kranz: Optimistic fans (I try to be one) often make the mistake of saying things like "We'll beat (collection of teams we'll be favored against) and pick off an upset or two against (collection of teams we won't be favored against)." That's obviously a dangerous line of thinking because it ignores the very real possibility that Cal will lose a game they are 'expected' to win. Like, say, against Washington.

That said, this is a team that can pull an upset. At some point this year Cal will play a favorite who, for whatever reason, lacks either the personnel or scheme to stop Cal from throing for 100s and 100s of yards. Maybe UCLA. Maybe USC. Maybe Oregon. Probably not Stanford. But somebody. One upset win and one win over Oregon State or BYU would do it. I don't think that's asking too much, right?

Sam Fiedler: Realistically I think that there is a less than 50% chance we even get bowl eligible.  On paper both the Oregon State and BYU games look winnable but we're going through the meat of the schedule right now and who knows how we come out of that stretch both physically and mentally.  I think we *should* win those games and get to 6 wins, but we're Cal and something always seems to happen. But realistically, most people didn't give us even half a chance of sniffing bowl eligibility this season so I think the fact that we're even talking about it is something.

On the other hand, as Nick said, I also think that we might pull an upset at some point too, so there is a chance everything could break right and we end up with 7 wins. But if I'm completely honest and Old Blue-y I still think that we end up splitting the two winnable games and end up at 5 wins.  Sure do hope I'm wrong though.