Heading into the cold and football-less days of summer, USA Today has embarked upon the daunting task of ranking all 128 FBS football teams. And we're... 116th. Well, that's just lovely.
USA Today contends our schedule is the toughest in nation, which shouldn't be anything new for the Bears after tackling an equally difficult line-up in 2013—or at least making a futile dive at a pair of feet streaking towards the endzone in a move that vaguely resembles tackling.
Ten teams from a Big Five conference, nine reigning bowl teams, nine conference foes, eight teams coming off seven or more wins, seven teams coming off eight or more wins, four teams coming off 10 or more wins, four reigning Top 25 teams, four teams with title hopes, two teams with real title hopes.
Of all the schedules in all the land—yes, even in the Southeast - California's is the hardest.
They identify the problems that will plague the Bears in 2014—basically everything but the receivers—as being the same that afflicted us in 2013. Huzzah, we all know just how well that turned out...
The article thinks that regardless of the fact QB Jared Goff will likely improve, the team may still struggle and it's imperative for Coach Sonny Dykes and the rest of the staff to maintain his confidence and keep him from blaming himself. They see a young offensive line that will struggle in the Pac-12, but will do a heck of a lot better with Jordan Rigsbee, Matt Cochran, and—most importantly—center Chris Adcock anchoring the interior.
Defensively, new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman has a proven track record for first-year turnarounds, but he's never faced a situation as dire as the one in Memorial.
So we embark on the greatest rebuilding project of Kaufman's career: Cal could trim its per-game total by 20% and still rank 90th in the FBS in yards allowed per game, according to last year's national averages, and enters 2014 without any sense of identity. The reason for optimism: Kaufman replaces Buh, giving the Bears a steady, unflappable hand at the tiller. The reasons for pessimism: Cal's line is a mess inside, is heavily reliant on one player for a pass rush, is youthful at linebacker and is grabbing at straws in the secondary.
Up front, the Bears are half-set at DE with the returning Brennan Scarlett, but the other side is a question mark. Defensive tackle is an even bigger question mark—and that's not just a reference to their sizes—and running low on depth. Elsewhere on the defense, we've got young linebackers and a secondary that must improve.
We should be set at punter, but replacing the automatic Vincenzo D'Amato will be a rocky road.
The biggest position to watch is running back, which emphasizes the need to disprove the myth that Dykes is trying to install a pass-heavy air-raid offense.
One of the silliest misconceptions about Dykes' offense is that it ignores the running game. Totally incorrect. Dykes not only stresses the ground game but demands it for this offense to run at full capacity, as shown in simple terms at his previous stop: Louisiana Tech went 19–5 when rushing for 140 or more yards, 3–10 when not. It was largely tough sledding a season ago, though the Bears did find a groove late in the year; the offense averaged 144.2 yards per game from Washington through the finale, to little avail. Looking forward, Dykes is still searching for a thunder-and-lightning combination in the backfield, the sort of duo that can interplay hinging on the circumstances—one a big-play threat, the other a mudder—and balance out a pass-heavy offense.
What do they predict as the dream and nightmare scenarios for the sturdy Golden Bear?
Dream season: The Bears go 3–0 in non-conference play and knock off Colorado and Oregon State to finish 5–7.
Nightmare season: Another 1–11 season, with that one win coming against Sacramento State.
Check out what the other Bear squads have been up to this weekend and let us know in the comments what your dream and nightmare seasons are for the Bears.
Along these same lines, SBN's Football Study Hall did a nation-wide prediction of S&P, a measure of offensive production; Cal is expected to be 82nd in the nation and among the five worst of major-conference schools.
- It's official! Real Madrid CF vs. Inter Milan will take place on Kabam Field at Memorial Stadium. The press conference can be seen below:
- Check out these sweet old-timey band uniforms
- More coverage of the fun aspect of the 2014 Oskis, which may have been dominated by power couple gymnastics's Alicia Asturias and track and field's Derek White
- The luncheon for the Oscar Geballe Awards recognized football's Mitchel Bartolo, soccer's Kathleen Messinger, and crew's Maggie Simpson for their postgraduate aspirations
- No. 17 Cal's win over Texas Tech gives them the right to host their second-round NCAA Championship match
Women's Water Polo
- Coach Ginger Miles has resigned to accept the position of Pacific Regional Manager with U.S. Lacrosse
- By placing fourth in the NCAA Central Regional, Cal earned entry into the NCAA Championships
- Nicola Rossler no longer feels homesick for Germany when she's in Berkeley—and will probably feel homesick for Bear Territory when she returns to her homeland
- Coaches Charmin Smith and Kai Felton attended the Villa 7 Consortium to hone their leadership skills
- The season comes to a close with losses to no. 8 UW, giving the Bears a final record of 23–29, 4–18 Pac-12
- The latest on the arrest of DB Damariay Drew: his attorney (and Cal football alumnus) Darryl Stallworth asserts this was an issue of self-defense
- TE Richard Rodgers is looking forward to doing work with the Packers—including blocking and catching passes—and reveals the loss of the tight end position contributed to his decision to leave Cal early. Note, the article claims Rodgers was drafted in the first round to maintain a Cal streak since 2006, neither of which is correct.
- LB Khairi Fortt is looking forward to a reunion with fellow Saint DL Cameron Jordan—who hosted Fortt when he visited Berkeley as a senior—and finishing his degree soon
- This means the 2013 Cal football team produced more drafted players than wins
- This isn't confirmed yet, but DL Deandre Coleman is joining the dozen other Bears down in Jacksonville
Deandre Coleman has signed with the jaguars... Teams will be very very sorry. 6'5 315 pds of athletic man.— Cleodis Floyd (@lawyerboycle) May 11, 2014
- Also unconfirmed, but DE Chris McCain is stating he signed with the Miami Dolphins, a team he was hoping for
- The latest rumors have DL Viliami Moala signing with the Ravens, CB Kameron Jackson joining the Colts, and RB Brendan Bigelow reuniting with Coach Tedford and the Buccaneers (thanks to puresilence for passing along this happy news)
Congrats to my homie Big Vei Moala getting picked up by the Ravens 1 Love Uce @Bigcalibear55— 5 Star ⭐ Coach T TMP (@CoachTIhs) May 11, 2014
Bigelow to the Bucs! Reunited with Coach Tedford #GoBears— #CalGang (@CalGang) May 11, 2014
- K D'Amato will be attending a tryout for the Packers
- LB Khairi Fortt is a Saint!
- Khairi Fortt, Cal linebacker: NFL Draft profile
- Richard Rodgers, Packers tight end: NFL Draft scouting profile
- Richard Rodgers is going to Green Bay
- Damariay Drew arrested for allegedly defending himself from a dog attack
- DeAndre Coleman, Cal defensive tackle: NFL Draft 2014 profile