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Cal football: Is this season a success, win or loss?

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Cal is going to finish this season with at least five wins, which is what the CGB hivemind predicted back in August and over 75% of us would be pleased with this seasonz. So if we lose and finish the season with five wins, are we still pleased or disappointed?

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Avinash Kunnath: Both. I'm pleased that we recovered from an atrocious year and are back to being a competitive football team. There will be no Paul Wulff days of dread, where our team will show up to the stadium feeling they have a one percent chance of victory. Cal will be competitive in this conference with Sonny Dykes at the very least. We've been pretty feisty in most of our games and found a way to battle back, and this team competes extremely hard on the road.

But in many ways, it's still disappointing because this team could have done so much more, especially since our quarterback turned out to be the real deal. It just feels like you should win more than five games when Jared Goff is your quarterback, regardless of relative talent elsewhere. We've blown our two biggest chances at upsets against Arizona and UCLA due to questionable game management and playcalls. Two winnable games against Washington and Stanford were totally blown because we couldn't hold onto the football. We've gone 0-3 against our California rivals for the second year in a row and we have not been able to impress all that much at Memorial Stadium. And there are times where I'm not certain about many aspects of the offensive coaching, particularly during the last six game stretch.

So I'm ambivalent. Two convincing performances to end the season would change my tune.

boomtho: I would still be pleased, though I'd have to work hard to remember the context at the beginning of the season. Logic says we knew the schedule was way easier up front, that we'd struggle in the middle of the season, and that 6 wins would be a stretch goal. Relative to those expectations, we've outperformed in my mind, so I can't help but be happy. In addition, we've been consistently competitive and put legitimate scares into two good teams (Arizona and UCLA). However, the no shows against UW, USC (first half), and Furd have really soured my take on the second half of the season.

atomsareenough: I'm sorta/mostly satisfied so far I guess. I predicted about 5 wins, and was hoping for 6. It would have been really nice if one had been against USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, or Oregon. I feel like we could have and should have gotten more wins, the way we played, but if we finish strong with wins against BYU and play well in a bowl game, I'll be pleased. If we lose to BYU... I will not be pleased, because first of all I think we should win that game, and more importantly it will have meant some serious regression to end the season, with not much in the way of explanation as to why. Goff has been playing worse, the O-line has gotten worse since their good play vs Oregon and Oregon State, the pass defense hasn't gotten any better, still lots of questionable coaching decisions... Just, lots of warning lights on the dashboard to end the season. Most of those things hopefully can improve over the offseason, but I don't see why they shouldn't be getting better every week right now.

Ruey Yen: Coming into this season, it's mostly about the rate of change (derivative, if you want to think off this with basic calculus) and I think we are successful in that regard. There is also something to be said about how exciting and entertaining the games have been this year, compared to the last one. However, echoing the sentiment of pretty much every Cal fan every where, losing to Stanford and USC and also UCLA is not acceptable long term achievement even if we do go 6-6 and make a bowl game (I'm still quite a bit worried about how we might get get a bowl bid even if we are bowl eligible). Given where we came from last year, I think this team is possibly on schedule. Of course, this means that I am expecting to get the Axe back and beat one or two of (UCLA, USC, Oregon, and Arizona State) next year and get to 8 regular season win.

Leland Wong: I predicted about 4 wins, so on paper, I should be happy. But the issue is a bit more complicated than that. The 4-win prediction was based on preseason assessments of our opponents that didn't end up being true. I didn't expect Washington State and Oregon State to regress so much, which makes our wins over them a little less impressive. I didn't expect Stanfurd or BYU to be so vulnerable, which makes our loss and hypothetical loss (respectively) extra disappointing.

There's something about how inconsistently we've played which makes me question how well these coaches are preparing the team. I'm also a bit disappointed with the progress of the defense. My preseason expectation was hoping for some strong defensive performances rather than mostly winning shootouts. I know that Art Kaufman didn't exactly step into an ideal situation, but given his history of miraculous turnarounds, I was hoping he'd turn last year's Terrible into Below Average, whereas we're probably Bad by most metrics.

However, I'm not going to completely lose sight of the progress we've made and take these wins for granted. I like the apparent progress that Dykes has made in terms of character, Cal spirit, and academics. I like how open and friendly his staff is on social media. (But not with me. Why do they hate me?!) The offense has made considerable progress; it's a blast and fun to watch. We're seeing some defensive improvement with Kaufman, even if it isn't showing up in yardage or wins. This is just to say I have some concerns that are disappointing, which is realistic.