boomtho: Such an overused quote, but think it's true here: "they are who we thought they were." Davis Webb is really talented but prone to bad picks, the WR corps is deep and talented, the defense is young, inconsistent, and struggles to stop the run and tackle.
The team may be frustrating (given the inconsistency), but it's also FUN - I guess I'm a sucker for high-scoring games. If we're going to lose, I'd much rather lose 50-40 than 20 to 10 - so thanks to the coaching staff for installing a high-flying offense :)
Avinash: I thought Cal would win seven games before the season because the offense would be good and the Pac-12 would be down. Both of those hypotheses appear to be closer to true. No one in this conference is particularly scary and a team I feel could blow us out. Every game except maybe Big Game (which is just a terrible matchup) looks like a coin flip. Things went our way against Texas, and they went against us vs. Arizona State and San Diego State. I expect the team to bounce back and keep on learning as the year goes on. They also have no expectations to burden them.
Nick Kranz: The defense hasn't been good. 113th in S&P+, 110th in yards/play, 93rd in points/drive*. This isn't vastly different from the 2014 season, and a regression from 2015 when you consider strength of schedule. You know all of this already.
And yet I'm marginally encouraged, because I've seen flashes of good play from individual players who will hopefully be around and contributing at a higher level in future seasons, when Cal will maybe have a season with higher stakes. James Looney, Cameron Saffle, Darius Allensworth, Marloshawn Franklin and Evan Rambo have all played somewhere between promising and excellent football, and all will be back for at least one more year.
Does that solve some pretty glaring holes at other spots on the 2 deep? No, but it's better than outright despair up and down the starting lineup. If you're holding out hope for a defense-of-the-future that can support the Bear Raid, there's your hope.