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Cal football roundtable: How much is Big Game a must-win for Sonny Dykes?

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Go Bears! Beat Stanford!

NCAA Football: California at Stanford Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

atomsareenough: "Must-win"? In order for what to happen? There's no "must win" at this point. It pretty much just is what it is. If we win, fantastic. If we don't, well, it's no surprise. I guess a win could help us get to a bowl game. Does that make a big difference, I don't know.

Andy Johnston: It is a bit difficult to nail down this game as must win but I would say winning at least one of the next two games is a must. Stanford is vulnerable, UCLA is beyond repair. If we lose both and go a fourth consecutive year without beating a California school Dykes may be cooked.

Ruey Yen: Sonny Dykes' Cal tenure will ultimately be defined by how many "good" AKA bowl seasons that he have. 2016 can still be a bowl season if the Bears can win the next two games, both at home, against our California rivals. This Big Game is a "must win" to salvage this season. The next two weeks can catapult this so far "meh" season into one of the most memorable in the past decade.

Nik Jam: Absolutely have to have a good showing Saturday, but if that's the case we might as well win the game given the stakes. Getting blown out in the Big Game (even if that's what Vegas expects) is going to deeply demoralize the fanbase and could cost Cal Athletics as far as Season Ticket renewals are concerned. This question is about Sonny Dykes, so I'll just add that if Season Ticket renewals go down, and donations go down... who's going to be the one that takes the blame? Sonny. He might wind up having to stay in 2017, but the hot seat will be big. A Big Game win (especially a Big Game AND UCLA win) and he's probably safe for the next few years.

Oh, and if we lose we're eliminated from bowl contention (barring some spots left for 5-7 teams), so the team absolutely has to be motivated to win. Another UW/WSU type game will be a VERY bad look if the team doesn't show up, especially on offense (defense may have an excuse... but even then...)

boomtho: It's a really important game for Sonny, for sure. While he finally beat a (doooooooooown) Oregon team, he's still winless against the CA trio, and Cal fans are rightfully anxious for a win. In a more micro sense, we've seen a serious downslide in results the last couple weeks, and if Sonny wants to enter the offseason with any kind of momentum (to help drive recruiting and change the administration's mind about considering letting him go), a Furd win could be the answer.

HydroTech: I think Big Game is a must win for Sonny Dykes if Cal wants to play in a bowl game. That's stating the obvious. But Big Game is a definite must-win game for Sonny if he wants to keep himself in good standing with Cal fans. He certainly hasn't won over any more believers with the results from this season. Sonny can turn things around with wins over Stanfurd and UC Los Angeles to put Cal into a bowl game. That will earn him an easy "pass" grade for this year and he can hopefully improve the team even more in 2017.

However, if you put me on the hot seat, I don't think Sonny gets fired this offseason unless he goes 0-2 and does something crazy, like stealing Kevin Parker's rope. So in that sense, it's not a must-win for Sonny.

Kevin Wu: I don't think this a must-win game for Dykes. For this 2016 season, those games have already come and gone. No Cal fan in their right mind is expecting a bowl game anymore this season. The team has shown nothing on the field recently that says they deserve a bowl game. It's all about Bowl Games for me, and Dykes has failed yet again to deliver on that this season. Big Game is just 1 game in a long season - all games matter equally in the W-L columns.