clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 Cal vs. Colorado Report Card

Grades for a tough road loss

NCAA Football: California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Berkelium97: Ah, that was just like old times. Every receiver looked like DeSean Jackson and the QB was dropping long bombs like Jared Goff. It’s like our good friends Andy Buh or Art Kaufman were back at the helm of the defense. Our trips to the mountains have been supremely discouraging recently: there was this debacle (that I pray to Oski will not cost us a bowl), Goff’s 5-turnover game against a top-5 Utah team, the cold and miserable loss to Colorado in 2013, and the 2012 loss to Utah when Keenan Allen suffered a season-ending injury on a completely meaningless onside kick in garbage time. This week’s report card follows in the proud tradition set by those predecessors.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 35.1% 21.8
Rush Offense 29.8% 19.3
Pass Defense 18.6% 16.3
Rush Defense 27.6% 18.8
Special Teams 52.9% 27.3
Coaching 29.4% 17.9
Overall 23.6% 17.8
Win Probability vs. Oregon State 43.3% (-20.6) 25.4

In a rare showing, offense earns higher grades than the defense. Alas, that’s not a compliment to the offense’s performance. The lone bright spot on the day was special teams, which used its atmospheric advantage to send every kickoff through the back of the end zone. It must be nice to be a special teams coach at altitude.

Speaking of nice, that’s the opposite of how we’re feeling about this week’s Oregon State game. A no-longer-terrible-but-still-pretty-bad Beavers team brings the subject of many of our nightmares, Ryan Nall, to Berkeley in what I hope is not a repeat performance of last year’s breakout game. Our predictions of a win have plummeted from the 60s to the 40s. Remember the 40s? Those were good times thanks to Pappy Waldorf and a couple of Rose Bowls.


It may have been a loss, but we can still lift some spirits by handing out awards. We’ll start off by recognizing the lowest scores of the week.


Name Grade
1. Goldenbears02 0.00 (0.0%)
1. hardtobecalfan 0.00 (0.0%)
3. Uthaithani 0.25 (3.6%)
4. Bearturd 1.30 (18.6%)
5. CaliforniaPaul 1.45 (20.7%)

Yep, it was another great day in the mountains.


Name Grade
1. 1988goldenbear 4.10 (58.6%)
2. EDH Golden Bear 3.90 (55.7%)
3. m4ld 3.75 (53.6%)
4. Anon 3.50 (50.0%)
5. CoBears 3.35 (47.9%)

Those scores are pretty mediocre, even for a loss!

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. highly improbable .0571
2. Berkelium97 .0657
3. NinjaNed .0721
4. Nor-Cal Scott .0801
5. Two loose .0965

That’s right, I’ve won a VoR award two weeks in a row. I promise these awards aren’t rigged.

GoldenBearsBandwagon: Unfortunately(?)/fortunately(?) did not watch much of the game due to other obligations...

Gameday Experience

CoBears: Unenjoyable TV viewing

FacePalm Bear: Shocked at a 11:00a start time. WTF?

CaliforniaPaul: Todd McKim was having some trouble today on KGO.

Uthaithani: I was comfortable on the couch after rolling out of bed. Bummed that I wasted a good chunk of my Saturday watching terrible Cal football.

Sacman701: Colorado plays the most predictable songs. They should just let their band play.

Texashaterforlife: at least the game was early; which means the east-coasters saw how bad we are

Rollonyoubears111: I know a place where no one's lost,

I know a place where no one cries,

Crying at all is not allowed,

Not in my castle on a cloud.

David Shaw sold Uranium to the Russians: Glad I didn't make the trip to Boulder. Had a few beers and lost interest after that 100 yard pick 6.

Pass Offense

Yogi Bear: It got better at the end when Colorado wasn't really trying as hard anymore, so I graded up a bit for that, but when it mattered, it was really bad. Bowers is inconsistent at best with his accuracy and doesn't use what pass protection he does get all that well. The pass blocking was mostly lousy and the receivers just don't get any separation. Noa and Wharton had some good catches. Veasy had a nice grab for a late meaningless TD. That's about it.

FacePalm Bear: Lofty long passes. Inaccurate downfield passes. Dropped balls. Back to the disappointing Bears.

highly improbable: The fade-pick-six is by far the most embarrassing play since... yeah I got nothing. That was awful.

EDH Golden Bear: This is probably what we get for the year with Bowers learning the ropes and lack of speed to stretch the field

Bearturd: Not very good. Bowers is just too inconsistent.

CaliforniaPaul: Bowers has not played well this season and has just been awful in road games. A lot of the drops have been blamed on the WRs in previous games, but today Bowers was overthrowing, underthrowing, throwing too high etc. The WRs Veasy and Noa were actually a bright spot. The defense can keep getting stops, but it's no use when the Bears can't score, let alone get a first down (and tiring out the Bears defense more quickly).

Uthaithani: Once again, the pass offense is not good. Bowers is a good guy, plays with heart, but he's just not a good QB and nine games in, this is what he is. EWU under Baldwin had an explosive, exciting offense that scored lots of points. Cal under Baldwin has a boring, inefficient, inept offense that scores points for the opposing teams' defenses. Is this personnel, adjustment to the new system, or is Baldwin not a good Pac 12 OC? I guess we'll know for sure next year, though I'm leaning toward the latter.

Texashaterforlife: the interception showed it all; major miscommunication on the pass and lack of effort on tackling the Buffs defender who intercepted the ball.

1988goldenbear: Bowers didn't get much help from the O-line today. We looked like the less motivated team, much like against Oregon. The stat-line wasn't too bad overall. Things will get better once we have better weapons out there on the field. That pick-6 in the red zone was absolutely horrible - not sure if it was a bad pass or a bad route, but either way it was the dagger.

Anon: If Bower's isn't 100% in sync from an accuracy standpoint the climb for the Bear offense is straight up a steep hill. OLine had all sorts of issues picking up where the rush was coming from and the depth issues are coming home to roost. While Noa/Wharton/Veasy continue to perform to their capabilities, the young WR crew seems lost. Would bet big money that pick in the end zone was a miss run route. After a great start, Reinwald seems to have reverted back to true freshman form.

Rollonyoubears111: The time is near

So near it's stirring the blood in their veins!

And yet beware

Don't let the wine go to your brains!

We need a sign

To rally the people

To call them to arms

To bring them in line!

Run Offense

Justbear: being down early prevented us from running much

CoBears: Not good enough. Colorado should have been gashed. While we made our 4th downs, I kept wondering why we weren't punching it straight ahead like that more often.

Yogi Bear: We should have run the ball more. Enwere continues to run east-west too much and not enough north-south. Laird looked pretty good when we used him. Too many first down passes that were low probability throws for Bowers - if we're going to pass on first down, make it an easy throw for him. Those plays led to more passes and less runs and made it hard for us to sustain drives and we have to sustain drives because there are no explosive plays for this offense.

Go Bears :(: Vic needs to run straight. All this lateral work he tries only makes him lose yardage.

Calbear92260: Slow to the scrimmage line

Nor-Cal Scott: Horrible balance with only 25 rushing attempts and 53 passing. Pat & Vic had over 4yd avg

Anon: Enwere's default style is a complete mismatch for the Cal Zone blocking scheme. While occasionally they have been in sync after 3/4 of the season it looks like the die is cast. Time to get those young guys some touches.

Rollonyoubears111: You at the barricade listen to this

The people of Paris sleep in their beds

You have no chance

No chance at all

Why throw your lives away?

David Shaw sold Uranium to the Russians: We need more depth. We need a speedy back.

Pass Defense

FacePalm Bear: Worst performance of the year for them.

EDH Golden Bear: Lack of execution and speed. You can coach execution

CaliforniaPaul: The Bears D has been a bright spot this season but they had a poor performance today. They missed too many big plays on 3rd down. Colo WRs were wide open and Cal secondary did not look competitive, and something about that zone defense wasn't working.

Sacman701: Yuck. We sometimes got pressure and mostly defended the short stuff ok, but the secondary was MIA almost every time Colorado threw downfield. That was some of the absolute worst downfield coverage I have ever seen.

prd74 : Stop reading your clippings!!

Nor-Cal Scott: Pathetic. Montez was 20/26 for 347. Worse was Colo WR's had longs of 65, 58, and 3 more with plays greater than 20yds.

1988goldenbear: We started off getting decent pressure on Montez, but I guess we had to pull back once he repeatedly burned us deep. We couldn't keep up with their speed, which surprised me a bit, but I think we will improve on this aspect with time.

Anon: Don't know if it was scheme, effort or talent but they were completely lost Saturday. They do even 1/2 of what they are supposed to do in the first half and it's a ball game. Front line did not do their part with putting pressure on QB.

Rollonyoubears111: One day more!

Another day, another destiny.

This never-ending road to Calvary;

These men who seem to know my crime

Will surely come a second time.

One day more!

Run Defense

Justbear: was good until being gassed

Yogi Bear: It had its ups and downs. Gave up the one big run to Lindsay. I'd have stronger feelings about it but the pass defense failures loom too large for me to care much about the run defense.

Uthaithani: Surprisingly bad. Really Cal was bad in all phases, and it's not the first time this year. I'm starting to doubt that Wilcox is nearly as good as his supporters say he is.

Go Bears :(: Late in the game when we knew they'd run it, they ran it down our throats. Enough said.

Sacman701: Mostly not too bad until Colorado's FG drive at the end. We didn't lose this game because of the run defense.

prd74 : When you can’t stop third and longs, who cares about how the run defense is doing?

Rollonyoubears111: There's a grief that can't be spoken.

There's a pain goes on and on.

Empty chairs at empty tables

Now my friends are dead and gone.

David Shaw sold Uranium to the Russians: What run defense? You are supposed to tackle on defense.

Special Teams

CoBears: Nothing really to rate. The final on-side kick was actually nearly recovered for a TD.Nothing really to rate. The final on-side kick was actually nearly recovered for a TD.

FacePalm Bear: Meh.

EDH Golden Bear: Our bright spot of the day

Bearturd: Did there job.

Uthaithani: Meh.

Sacman701: Punt coverage was good.

Calbear92260: ok

Texashaterforlife: passing grade, barely

prd74 : Needed 8, got 4. Nuff said.

Nor-Cal Scott: Meh.

Anon: Altitude rules!

Rollonyoubears111: Look down, look down

Don't look 'em in the eye

Look down, look down,


CoBears: Young team. And I retain faith in this staff. But we aren't there yet. Is it because of personnel? With the injuries, maybe.

FacePalm Bear: The team looked flat and unprepared, especially our defense. But Bowers was struggling again, too (mostly do to poor blocking). They just looked flat.

highly improbable: Defense looked totally unprepared. Unbelievable to see this kind of performance after the Wazzu game.

Bearturd: Much room for improvement

CaliforniaPaul: Much like a new car smell, my enthusiasm for the new coaching staff is quickly fading. I really like their confidence in going for it on 4th down. Beyond that, the team fell apart today and some of the blame has to be on the coaching and playcalling.

Uthaithani: Coaching was flat-out awful in all phases. Boring, inept, uninspired, unprepared. Team looks worse in Game 9 than Game 1, not exactly progress from a coaching standpoint.

Calbear92260: Team not ready to play..Might have been the altitude

Texashaterforlife: the bears clearly have a mental block with playing road games; North Carolina, which has a record of 1-8, not withstanding. I seriously do not see us beating Stanford and have major doubts about pulling off an upset at UCLA. As soon as the season is over, Wilcox needs to form a game plan on how to prepare the team for conference road games.

prd74 : Totally misread the preparation of the team. Great practices do not equal great game day performances.

1988goldenbear: We were either less prepared or less motivated or both, and that has to stop.

Anon: If your team plays tired and flat, then it's on everyone.

Rollonyoubears111: At the end of the day you're another day colder

And the shirt on your back doesn't keep out the chill

And the righteous hurry past

They don't hear the little ones crying

And the plague is coming on fast, ready to kill

One day nearer to dying!

Overall Performance

Justbear: fail

CoBears: I'm disappointed. The 17 point holes we have gotten ourselves in on the road (Oregon; Washington; Colorado) are very difficult to overcome. I see this as another example of a young team with an as-expected up and down season, however. And I won't lose faith in this team or this staff as a result. On to the next winnable game at home. Go Bears! Beat the Beavs!

Yogi Bear: We spent the whole season playing teams that were much better than us and I guess my hope was that all of that would be a learning experience that we would use to our benefit once we got to the softer part of our schedule (and unfortunately, Arizona ended up not being part of that softer part of the schedule so we had to wait one game longer). Clearly we didn't learn anything or if we did, we sure as hell didn't apply it to this game. I have been confident that we would pull two wins out of the end of our schedule to get to six wins and now I'm questioning whether we even have one win left in us. I have no idea how we pulled that performance against WSU out of the hat, but it clearly isn't leading to bigger and better things for us this year. I'm just really depressed about this result and what it means for the rest of our season.

FacePalm Bear: Not the team I was expecting today and with OSU only losing by 1 to Stanfurd, they are no longer going to be a "given" win.

Sad Bear: Outcoached

CaliforniaPaul: Inconsistent Bears continue to come up short in close, winnable (if not must-win) games. Even when the lackluster defense made a stop or got that fumble recovery, the offense would go 3 and out on the next drive. All season Bowers and the offense have not executed to win close games (SC and Arizona come to mind, but even Oregon and Colorado were winnable in the 3Q). Although they could be looking at 6-3 and a great bowl berth (with a better QB and offense, imo), we're again left to wonder if they'll make it to .500.

Sacman701: Why is this team so inept on the road? We've turned in sub-2013 level performances in our last three road games.

Wiata78: Home field advantage seems to be a big thing for us. Making the bowl picture a bit dim.

prd74 : Bad. I blame the altitude. Lot of first timers in that environment. Similar to that humidity at that Maryland game. If you never experienced either of those two things you do not realize how they can mess with your mind and body.

1988goldenbear: Never felt like we were going to win this one. Assuming we beat OSU at home, we have to figure out a way to get off the schneid on the road. Is it too much to ask that we get two road wins to end the season?

Rollonyoubears111: I had a dream my life would be

So different from this hell I'm living

So different now from what it seemed

Now life has killed

The dream I dreamed

David Shaw sold Uranium to the Russians: I can't wait to get this taste out of my mouth when we destroy OSU