What are your feelings on Cal going 7-5 in 2015 and why? How did the team's performance this regular season align with your preseason expectations?
Nik Jam: I really thought this would be the year where Cal competed as a dark horse for the Pac-12 North, possibly losing heart breakers late in the season, ala 2006, to miss the title game. I didn't expect us to be completely out of it by the end of October. Like most people, I am really sad that we still lack a California rivalry win in the Sonny Dykes era, especially for all the seniors who won't get to enjoy a win over Furd, let alone freaking UCLA. (A lot of classes don't get to see a win over USC, so that stings slightly less, but still awful).
However at the beginning of the season I expected UCLA and Furd to have down years, and they did not. So, it may be unfair to ask for our still kinda rebuilding team to take down the elite Pac-12 teams. Other than that, I will take the bowl game.
It is a step forward, but next year we have to improve even with a new offensive depth chart. Also like most, the offense underwhelmed. The defense showed flashes but still had a few "throwback to 2014" games, which probably matches most (and my own) expectations. If the defensive can keep improving, and the offense figures it out (Maybe the new blood will HELP) the team can surpass their win total once again in 2016.
KWBears: 7-5 is improvement, for sure. But, after starting off so hot, getting ranked, having GameDay cover us, and all - I'd surely have to say that expectations were revised halfway through the season. And, then those new expectations were subsequently not achieved. So, all in all, given what could have been, I am pretty disappointed in this team right now. Compared to the preseason with all that Goff and wide receivers hype, I'd also have to say this was a disappointing season - we're not going to have this kind of offensive talent for awhile, so we just wasted it, in my humble opinion.
LeonPowe: On the surface, 7-5 is exactly where I figured we'd be. It feels like a lost opportunity for those USC and Utah games (and even Stanford), but on the other hand, we could easily have lost UW, WSU, and Texas. The defense played better than we thought they would - but the offense worse. It has been an angsty season though. As someone who is a fan of what Dykes is doing away from the football field - AND as someone who thinks that culture/academics/player buy in is much much much tougher than actual football strategy - I would love for Dykes to get more time to get the football stuff right.
boomtho: I predicted 6 or 7 wins, so we came in at the upper end of what I predicted. That's good!
A lot of encouraging things happened this year - the defense improved (a lot), Jared Goff did Jared Goff things, we have some tantalizing skill position depth for the future (Hansen and Watson especially), and we did much better in close games.
I will admit to being slightly disappointed to 7-5 given our 5-0 start, but I don't think it's fair to "punish" the coaching staff for that, given they were the reason for the improved expectations in the first place!
Overall, the offense disappointed me a bit relative to my expectations, but the defense vastly exceeded what I thought they could do.