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Cal Football v. UCLA - Can't spell Debacle without C-A-L

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NOT. FUN. Cal football turned in a vintage 2013 performance on last Thursday night and you all were not in the mood to have any of it. To be fair, I didn't like it either. So let's check some numbers and comments and dig into what you really thought about the debacle in LA.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Berkelium97: Well, that was a football game.  Yep.  11 on 11.  Forward passes, etc.  It's hard to get much more positive than that about Thursday's game.  In fact, that was about as frustrating a Cal game as I can remember in recent history.  The Arizona game last year was pretty bad, but all that frustration was compressed into an agonizing few minutes of blowing the lead and the eventual hail mary.  Thursday's game was an absolute fiasco from start to finish.  It was oddly reminiscent of the 2011 game where half a UCLA team (the other half was suspended, of course) inexplicably dominated a Cal team that had no business getting embarrassed like that.  I watched that one in person, so I knew the pain firsthand.  Fortunately this loss was a little less awful for me, as I was about 2500 miles away from the Rose Bowl on Thursday (staying up past midnight to watch that while on travel for work was probably not much worse than watching in person).  Anyway, let's not spend too much time comparing how awful various recent losses were.  We could spend all day doing that.  Instead, let's focus on this particular awful, awful loss:

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense .315 .235
Rush Offense .174 .162
Pass Defense .196 .194
Rush Defense .189 .197
Special Teams .368 .267
Coaching .192 .221
Overall .197 .181
Win Chance vs. USC 24.04% (-12.75) 24.00

A general rule of these report cards is that if special teams had the highest score, it was a bad day.  If most of the standard deviations are larger than the actual grades, it was a really bad day..  Only the passing offense and special teams were above .200.  That is a 2013-level of futility.  We've spent most of the last week wringing our hands about this loss, so let's just skip past all the rest of these numbers.  I'm sure no one will mind.

I will note, however, that our predictions of victory against USC have dropped substantially.  I would have been quite interested to see those predictions a couple weeks ago when we were still 5-0 and USC had just lost to UW.  I imagine they'd be quite a bit higher than they are now. On the positive side, however, this shows how quickly things can change in the college football landscape.  If we beat USC and Oregon, this UCLA loss will be a small irritant in an otherwise successful and cathartic season.

Now let's hand out some awards.


We have an editor's choice award this week!  Rollonyoubears111 earns the ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ award for submitting the first report card I can remember that is entirely in emojis.  (Note: your browser may not display all--or any--of the following characters correctly.  If that is the case, use your imagination).

Pass offense Run offense Pass defense Run defense Special teams Coaching Overall Win chance vs. USC

Since the Bears lost, we'll recognize the doomsayers first.

Sonny Yikes

Name Grade
1. calbeargal 0.00 (0.0%)
1. ChairmanMeow 0.00 (0.0%)
1. emBEARassed 0.00 (0.0%)

1. Everything is awful

Everything is flat when we're off of a bye

Everything is awful

When we're falling on our face

0.00 (0.0%)
1. Everything is stupid. 0.00 (0.0%)
1. golden oso 0.00 (0.0%)
1. ironiCALly 0.00 (0.0%)
1. Prd74 0.00 (0.0%)
1. The Ghost of Zach Maynard 0.00 (0.0%)
1. WeMadeRosenLookLikeAnAllAmericanQB 0.00 (0.0%)

A ten-way tie for first!  I don't blame you for filling your report cards with bagels or goose eggs or whatever your favorite term is for zeroes.  I nearly did the same thing.

And now, those who saw a ray of light in this terrible game.  Although I think that ray of light is probably a fleck of flame from this tire fire of a game.

Sonny Delight

Name Grade
1. GradeInflation 4.85 (69.3%)
2. Bowlesman 4.80 (68.6%)
3. wilderthangene 4.31 (61.6%)
4. 0.5 3.70 (52.9%)
5. boomtho 3.65 (52.1%)

GradeInflation appropriately leads the way, followed by a new regular among the sunshine pumpers, Bowlesman.  wilderthangene, 0.5, and boomtho round out the top five.

Finally, let's highlight those whose report cards were closest to the community average.

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. Mitchgobears .0561
2. Piedmont .0747
3. BrooklynBear .0795
4. TypiCAL .0857
5. FiatLux .0970

Even the Voice of Reason scores were much worse than usual this week.  It was a bad week for us Cal fans...  Speaking of reasonable, I found FiatLux's comments to be the most reasonable of all (and I'm not even being facetious).  Given the circumstances, he was exceptionally calm, composed, and articulate in giving his thoughts on the UCLA AD.  Most of us would have devolved into frothing at the mouth and making bear noises.  To read more of the comments, let's turn it over to Sam.

Sam Fielder: Ah the gallows humor of Cal fans. How I'd missed you. Commenters were in straight 2013 form and nobody, and I mean nobody, was happy. So let's see what you had to say:

GameDay Experience

KMAC: 6pm game in La again, empty stadium again.
alpha1906: Sucked. Only good thing is that I didn't go to Pasadena to see it live.
slaphancock: Another day with football is better than without football. I enjoyed watching a horrible game.
Everything is stupid: I'm f*cking over it.
hardtobecalfan: announcers made me want to claw my ears out in the 4th quarter.
Paulievon: Horrible. Dykes and staff should be fired. Absolutely no, if any preparation especially coming off bye week. Not confident in Dykes and staff to win big games much less Pac-12 North. Bring a coach with a winning philosophy and energy to prepare his kids for big games!!! What an embarrassment for the program.
1017: Crying. So much crying.
wilderthangene: Things were getting chippy on my couch.
WeMadeRosenLookLikeAnAllAmericanQB: I liked Mike Pawlawski's post game comment to Sonny Dikes, "If you can't get up for next weeks game against U$C, then you shouldn't be playing football." Exactly...
F for effort: Why does Jerry Neuheisel look like He man?
FrmrG8r: Another egg on the national stage. Actually felt sorry for the announcers.
While Utah was frustrating, this was just pathetic.
10 days to prepare and we get this effort against a banged up, mid-level PAC12 team with Freshmen everywhere???!!!
It's circle the wagons time.
mendogriz: Barf.
azulviejo: SUCKED
Unhappy Blue: They were totally unprepared. It's unforgivable to perform this bad after a bye week.
golden oso: Shite.
lithiumsorbet: How are we so bad after a bye? Is this just regression to the mean or are we playing poorly?
Datastorm1: Utterly demoralizing watching us get beat down in a half empty rose bowl.
The Ghost of Zach Maynard: Sucked
nedbear: I was at the rose bowl. ucla came out ready to play. They were excited. At every time out and quarter change they were all together on the field jumping around. At kickoffs they were dancing. They were excited about playing football. Our guys had very little energy, hands on hips, "no big deal." That's on the coaching staff--not getting the team ready and not cultivating team leaders who needed to get the team ready to play.
emBEARAssed: Would give negative grade for coaching if possible. To be so utterly unprepared after a bye week is incredible. Too many men on field after a time out, wasting time out on 4th and 1 and then punting, and worst of all: WHY ONLY RUSH 3 in every long yardage situation. We give these good qb's time to pick us apart.
FiatLux: F*CK MIKE DOWLING. I interrupted a business trip, left meetings, to fly from Columbus, OH Thursday afternoon, with the California State flag, which i had fed exed to me from my office in the Bay Area. We displayed it in one the many acres of empty seats at the Rose Bowl, disrupting exactly ZERO person's view. We held it up only when there was no action. In the 4th quarter a squadron of security came up to us and at Associate AD Mike Dowling's direction threatened to force-ably remove us from the stadium if we didn't hand over the flag. They wouldn't allow us to simply fold it, they insisted it be confiscated. If you any sort of know me a little bit you know how that would play with me. F*CK YOU MIKE DOWLING AND UCLA.
That is the end of my game day experience report.
boomtho: Good food, good beer, watched at a friend's house. No problems there!
Bowlesman: A painful experience and reminder of the dangers of inflated expectations. Our team plays best when they play with passion and desire, both of which seemed moderated in this game. Two questions come to mind:
Did the bye week work against us?
Do night games throw us off?
The UCLA curse continues.
San Diego Oski: Tailgating at the Rose Bowl is always a good time. Cal fans came out in full force and looked to be a great day before the 2013 bears team showed up.
#BearRaid: Gorgeous night. Thursday games suck (traffic, no time to tailgate,) but it was a beautiful night.
BTown85: I'm tired of the recurring reminders of the reality of being a Cal fan......
Piedmont: The UCLA fans are the quietest around. Felt like a nice, well mannered beat down. Halftime performance was fun though.
Goldenone: Frustrating loss because we could never stop UCLA, and the receivers never got any separation, plus Goff had no time to throw.
GradeInflation: Thankfully, I had my eyes closed
gumibears: I finally watched a Cal game at a bar. It was great except for the two games being shown. 49ers getting stomped and Cal getting stomped. Also the sharks game was after the 49ers game and were also getting stomped. I heard the Warriors won a preseason game though....
Goldenlikethebear: I had pretty good seats. Good things happened in front of me on occasion. Thanks to the fans in sections 22-24 for shouting GO BEARS with me.
At least I got some some free booze out of it.
CalBearoutEast: Drew was the only defensive player who played physically. Others seemed to stand around, looking intimidated.
BeenherebeforeBear: SoCal friend attended on my behalf (damn you, lack of vacation time!). The pics he sent back showed an abysmally empty Rosebowl. Hard to get students and fans to a Thursday night game at rush hour. On the plus side, I was able to hear the Cal Band's pregame show clearly on the radio.
Everything is awful
Everything is flat when we're off of a bye
Everything is awful
When we're falling on our face
: I didn't give up on us until the team did but holy sh*t did we look bad. I was sending some friends live updates/commentary and it rapidly devolved from stats and highlights to groans and swearing.
ironiCALly: Abysmal performance = major disappointment. It was another year that I wanted to believe, but instead it was another night with the painful realization that we are just a mediocre team.
sacman701: So annoying to lose to the Ruins when they wear their ass-tacular all-black poseur uniforms. Some of them were also wearing way too much eye black, which is stupid.
Oso De Oro 83: Glad I didn't go! Thursday night Socal traffic, Rose Bowl mess, woulda got home really late...

Pass Offense

heyalumnigo: bad
ChairmanMeow: If I wanted some Butterfingers, I would have stopped by the local Safeway.
j.lee: Crap
KTJ: Goff needs to improve for any chance at USC.
slaphancock: The O line makes kittens cry bitter tears of melancholy
calbeargal: What happened to Bryce Treggs?
sf-gigantes: In the words of Radon Randell: "O-line can't hold him today, coach!"
Prd74: Out played by a true freshman. Again.
Fr0bos: I think the receivers thought they were in defense and were supposed to knock the balls down. Offensive line is still impotent. Jared can overcome one of those but not both.
AlohaBear: Terrible protection. Goff is pretty good under pressure, but we still have to slow down the pass rush of the defenses in upcoming games or this could get ugly.
BrooklynBear: WRs had little separation. Goff threw poorly for second straight game
The Ghost of Joe Roth: Is Goff regressing or is the O line just plain terrible? Both?
nedbear: ucla played tight coverage, but Goff overthrew, under threw, threw the ball behind receivers... And his play calling was soooooo predictable. Run, short pass, bomb--usually to Treggs who couldn't catch it if had been given to him in a fucking basket with a bow.
boomtho: The final stats lie. Someone might look at Goff's stats (32/53, 325 yds, 3TD/0INT) and think it wasn't a bad performance. That person would be deceived.
The pass offense was listless, error-prone, predictable, and stagnant. Goff looked off the whole day, the line played like a pile of moldy feces, and our receivers were characteristically unsharp (can't remember this many drops in a long time).

Run Offense

bowlesman: It was great to see Lasco, but let's not ruin his career by playing him before he's recovered. As for the run, "up the middle," when they already have a stacked rush defense seems predictable, fails, then we're back to third and long desperate pass- on third down key on Lawler and Anderson, guys.
San Diego Oski: It'd be nice to run the ball on 3rd and 1 and actually think we're going to pick up a first down.
#BearRaid: What run offense? We have none.
And it was very interesting watching UCLA run the ball at will. Our offenses mirror each other. Exact same concepts, only their running backs would have a hole, or be able to wait for a hole to show itself by being patient.
We had nothing. Just a mess.
GradeInflation: I miss Marshawn.
sup_doe_library: Totally underutilized, though hard to keep running when you're down 3 scores in the first half. Once they were up big, we went one-dimensional, which made us easy to defend. More effective running would have helped.
At this point, what's up with Lasco??? And KM needs more carries.
Uthaithani: Running. LOL. Cal, this is where a player on offense carries the ball in his hands and runs toward the opposing team's goal. Just like the whole "OLine hitting people" thing, if you try it, you might find it makes the game of football more fun than throwing the football into the stands on every play.
80Bear: What run offense?
Winebear: Where did it go? Lasco not hitting the holes with same momentum. O-line was M.I.A.
I married a Longhorn: The run game was pretty much non-existent. In the first half, we were consistently getting 2-3 ypc, which isn't going to get it done.
2004-present: Continues to suck
NapaBear: Not getting it done in the trenches. The rest of the offense and the team go downhill starting there.
sacman701: The RBs had 118 yards on 24 carries (5.0 a pop) which sounds good, but a lot of that came in garbage time. Our running game wasn't much of a factor while the game was in doubt.
Lucky1715: Wait, we ran the ball?

Pass Defense

Oso De Oro 83: Although we got burned a few times, I counted 4 possible interceptions we could (should?) have had but ended up with zero! The first half drops could have changed some momentum and sometimes you have to create that momentum.
ironiCALly: Was Buh rehired? Why can't we have tight coverage . . . especially when we are only rushing three. I'd be curious to know the stats, but seems we like we often rush only three on long third downs, and then still give away first down. And, I'm sick and tired of opposing QBs setting career and school records against us.
BeenHereBeforeBear: Horrific. Think tissue paper in a hail storm.
Goldenlikethebear: 2013 called, they want their team back.
Back to the Future Day does not mean playing like the 2013 team. Or are we just playing like Cal from the future. Either way, it was bleak.
gumibears: Bad. Leaving open spaces for WRs just doesnt cut when the pass rush cant even get close to Rosen. Baiting worked in previous games, but when given time, it aint gonna work. In all our previous games, we were decently able to rush the QB. I'm surprised UCLA has a "decent" Oline.
Piedmont: Soft zone doesn't work against a decent QB. Too many open receivers on 3rd and long, if you're rushing 3 or 4, you have to cover tighter. Balls didn't bounce our way, there were 4 or 5 possible interceptions we just didn't catch.
Its that damn Rosen! He's so hot right now.: "I just wanted to make you proud of me, pop."
"How? With your pass coverage? Prancing around in your underwear with your wiener hanging out for everyone to see?"
Bowlesman: Secondary had some great saves. I can't get mad about missed interceptions. We're spoiled by great turnovers and seem to whine when the pass defense plays normally, which often means less pass interference calls. Our pass rush is improving- the opposing QB now only has time for a shower, no shave.
Datastorm1: Josh Rosen did not have to make a single difficult throw. Wide open guys and very little semblance of a pass rush.
lithiumsorbet: No pass rush so hard to ask much, but folks couldn't tackle/were out of position.
dbromon: Instead of playing to stop the run and apply pressure on a freshman qb, we fell back into zone coverage and let them run over and pick us apart. That and dropping balls that had been interceptions all year sealed our fate on that side of the ball.

Run Defense

Fr0bos: Perkins would have run for 200+ yards if he doesn't get injured. He was able to run with impunity.
Prd74: Yuck.
mendogriz: What run defense?
FrmrG8r: Continuing to falter with the now desperate attempts to get anywhere near the QB.
F for effort: By the time Perkins got hurt, the damage was done.
Yosemite Golden Bear: I shudder to think what Perkins would have done....
Paulievon: Yes, toughen up and learn to tackle. UCLA running backs looked like high school studs playing against 5th graders. Ridiculous!
hardtobecalfan: seemed like we can't get anyone down at first contact.
calbeargal: What run defense? Non-existent because we don't know how to tackle.
alpha1906: We has a run defense?
KMAC: Our D-line sucks

Special Teams

alpha1906: No more freaking fakes.
hardtobecalfan: why fake punt on 4th and 10 and punt away on 4th and 1?
mendogriz: Other than the utterly idiotic fake punt, nothing too dramatic here.
Unhappy Blue: Fake punt in your own zone resembled the Coogs. Stupid ill-conceived play.
lithiumsorbet: We didn't give up PR TDs... I guess.... that fake punt was pretty poor...
AlohaBear: The Adolphus fake punt was weird. We don't send him out on regular punts often, so if he's out there, the other team is going to notice.
BrooklynBear: Good kick offs. Fine punts.
But ZERO return game in the few chances provided.
nedbear: I saw that field goal. I was there. Amazing! Oh, you mean Cal? Fake punt on, what, 4th and 8 on your own 25 yard line? Dykes should be fired just for that. Pick your battles.
boomtho: I don't blame the ST for the fake punt failing, that was set up to fail to start.
Crazy bad luck that UCLA made a 60 yard field goal - per Twitter, only the 10th one since 1995 in the FBS!
Coverage and kickoffs seemed fine.
#BearRaid: We made a FG!
I was fine with the crap Fake Punt. What else were we going to do.
sup_doe_library: The fake punt was ugh.
Also what's gotten into Matt Anderson? the touchbacks are a nice improvement from early season.


gumibears: I dunno if its really coachings fault. We were outskilled apparently.
goldenlikethebear: Used two timeouts in the first quarter (I don't know why we called the second one) and then dragging out the last 2 minutes. I liked going for 2 both times. Goff design runs are a great thing to add to the mix, glad to see those in the play book. We've had worse coaching days.
CalBearoutEast: Offensive play-calling seems muddled. We need more run plays. Defense needs to gamble more earlier.
Uthaithani: Way to earn your lowest salary in the Pac 12. Let's just say Sonny put the "D" in "Dykes this week. D-lightful.
TypiCAL: We were out game-planned again on both sides of the ball. No successful adjustments made. Seems to be consistent theme against better teams.
I married a Longhorn: The team didn't appear ready to play. That's on the coaches.
We seemed to be aggressive at the wrong times. Throwing a bomb on 3rd and 1 then punting? Faking a punt on 4th and 10 deep in our own territory? I'm all for being aggressive, but not for being reckless.
Lucky1715: Horrible. We didn't stick to any game plan at all. We gave up on running the ball way too early. We faked when we shouldn't have, then we kicked when we should have faked - ugh!
Defense simply cannot stand up to the larger, more physical offenses we're going to see a lot of.
ironiCALly: I've been generous with Dykes, but last night was perplexing. Waste of timeouts in the first quarter, stupid calls. Too aggressive at the wrong times. A few creative plays, but still too predictable most of the time. For the first time, I'll state that I don't know Dykes is the right long term coach for Cal.
sacman701: Wretched. The playcalling on our second possession was unforgivable: with 3rd and inches and a chance to establish some rhythm, we throw an ultra-low-percentage deep ball. This would have been ok if we had gone for it on 4th and inches, but we then punted. On top of that, we called an idiotic fake punt on 4th and 10, punted on 4th and 1 when we desperately needed a score, abandoned the running game too early, and insisted on going with a 3 man rush most of the time when it was clearly not getting remotely enough pressure. The only call that worked was the flea flicker.
KMAC: How were we not ready after 12 days off
1017: I like Sonny Dykes, I really do. And I would love to see him have another season with Goff to see if he can really get a good defense together. But he almost definitely doesn't have another season with Goff. I don't know what our team is going to look like next year when we lose a lot of the talent that has kept this team barely floating, or at the very least, not drowning. I hope he can pull it out and manage to make this team look good for the rest of the season. Otherwise, idk about how people are going to feel about a contract extension. We've had a QB sent from angels, and we have nothing to show for it. That says something, at the very least that he can't recruit. As for our DC.... get your act together, you're making everyone look bad.
Mephistopheles: Before the year, I would have said 6-6 deserved a 2-3 year extension, but that was when I thought the Pac-12 was extremely strong. 6-6 in an awful conference just won't cut it. 7-5 might though that would be more out of a sense of fairness than excitement for the future.

Overall Performance

Yosemite Golden Bear: This was a loss when evaluating the schedule in August, circumstances made it seem like maybe the Bears could hang...alas, typiCAL.
F for effort: The baby bears came out ready to play and angry. The grown up adult bears forgot how to block for their quarterback and basically play decent football. With our luck, USC will figure itself out and come out harder than UCLA. We will see. After this game, I'm not even sure how I feel about the Oregon State game. On the plus side, no interceptions? No one got hurt (knock on wood, but why are we running Jared Goff down 3 scores in the 4th quarter). Cal needs to come out focused and ready to play in these coming up games or it's 2007 all over again. #blockforgoff
FrmrG8r: How do you go from believing you can compete with anyone in the PAC12 to wondering if we can get that sixth win against Oregon State and get to the Weedwhacker Bowl - all in the span of ten days?
Prd74: It was one bad game, but it was just another one of those games that Cal has had over the decades. Ucla 1978 with the ten interceptions on national TV, the Arizona loss after their team mutinied against their coach, 1991 Big Game, the first Holiday Bowl game against Texas Tech: all games where the Bear fans felt good going into the game, but with each of these games the Cal football team did their best to suck every little bit of life out of their fans' optimism and hope for a decent season. Tonight was another one of those games. No one expected our team to play this poorly. Embarrassing, pathetic, out coached, over rated are all words that this team earned tonight. Excuses? There were none. Go Bears! Beat SUC!
Fr0bos: An embarrassment that puts on display all the deep flaws on both sides of the ball, particularly on the line. Even worse, it seemed at times that we just gave up. If we continue to play like that, we will struggle to reach bowl eligibility. A major, disheartening regression to the worst pre-season expectations.
dbroman: Game plan was horrible, coaching lost this game. Pass against a good pass defense, instead of running on a poor run defense. Falling back into zone against a good run offense and freshman qb... We didn't have a chance with that game plan.
Datastorm1: Jared Goff is the best QB in the country, but he is not superhuman. You cannot expect him to put up 40 points when no one is open all night and the OL played like cardboard cut outs of football players. Not a good day in bear territory all around.
Bowlesman: Not pleasant, but not hopeless. I think all the ranking nonsense had us rummy. We needed this wake-up call. We cannot phone-it-in against any team in our schedule. The Bear does not quit, the Bear never dies!
San Diego Oski: That was the worst performance in the past year and a half and the guys should be embarrassed. Now they get a long week to prepare for U$C.
#BearRaid: Our defense has carried this team. We could easily be 2-5. The defense had a bad night... so you'd HOPE the offense would step up and try to win a shoot out.
Nope. Goff and Co still look uninspired.
I'm starting to think the #BearRaid will never reach it's full potential without a dual-threat QB. It's the only way to keep defenses honest and open up the passing lanes if our run game is lethargic.
I LOVE THIS TEAM. I hoped they could do something special.
Now, sadly, I see them getting smoked by SC, OREGON, and FURD.
Hopefully we beat Beeve St and maybe upset ASU to finish 7-5... but after last night, 5-7 is a real possibility. (sigh)
Go Bears

Thanks to everyone that filled out a report card this week and hopefully next week's is better. BEAT USC! GO BEARS!