Berkelium97: The worst part of Friday’s loss wasn’t losing on a walk-off field goal or the ineptitude of the passing game or the fact that I heard that Chip Kelly was announced as UCLA’s head coach while I was watching the recording of the second half on Saturday morning. No, the worst part about this loss is that the season is over. I’m not yet ready for this team to be finished playing. This team had heart and soul and...defense! The defense’s incredible two-touchdown-per-game improvement was certainly worthy of being rewarded with a bowl game. Alas, Cal fandom entails frequent and inevitable cruelty, so the curtains have fallen for this year’s team. I can’t believe we have to wait 9 months before the Bears take the field again.
There’s a common theme in these grades: we were pretty good on the ground but terrible in the air. Ross Bowers’ first half was arguably his worst half since the USC debacle and the Cal defense allowed Jordan Lasley to have a career day. Fortunately, Patrick Laird’s running and a fairly stout run defense kept the game close all evening. Special teams earned an oddly low score. Aside from Anderson’s missed field goal (although he was 4/5 on the night), there weren’t many mistakes. Regrettably, coaching and overall garnered pretty poor scores in a critical season finale.
I have the utmost respect for those of you who make the trek to Pasadena every other year to watch the Bears. So far in the 21st century the city of Pasadena has not been kind to the Bears. There was this year’s season-ending loss, the Alamar disaster in 2005, Nate’s backbreaking pick six in 2007, Maynard’s 5 turnovers in 2011, and several other agonizing losses. At least we had the 2009 win, which happened to be the last time I saw Cal win until this year’s North Carolina game (that was an unpleasant losing streak I had going there...).
We have our trusty triumvirate of awards. Have I given out any Editor’s Choice awards this season? I don’t recall. You all need to get more creative with your report cards next season.
First we have the lowest scores of the week.
|2. Stanford Rules
Next, our most optimistic scores of the week.
|2. David Shaw likes sweaty hairy butts
|4. highly improbable
I’m surprised I finished among the optimists because I would have given some pretty miserable grades after that first half. Also, I’d like to thank David Shaw likes sweaty hairy butts for giving us another year of great David Shaw ________ names.
Finally, we have those whose grades were closest to the community average.
The Voice of Reason
|2. Yogi Bear
sacman701 is one of our most consistently reasonable graders, so it’s appropriate that he finishes atop the VoR list in the season finale.
Well, that wraps up another year of these report cards. Next year will be our 10th year running this series. If you have any recommendations for how we can improve the report card series (new categories, different awards, more Justin puns), please let us know. A winning team usually helps increase participation, so anything you can do to improve that would also be quite welcome. Until the North Carolina report card in September of 2018 (ughhhhhh that seems so far away), thanks for participating this season and Go Bears!
GoldenBearsBandwagon: Disappointing loss, would’ve been great to go bowling. But looking forward to another year of progress under Coach Wilcox.
Yogi Bear.: Game was SLOW
Sacman701: I don't like the white pants. White isn't blue or gold.
Wilcox Must Love Times Out: Rose Bowl atmosphere is awful. Not once, not one time was there a break without some kind of piped in noise. 30 second time out, blast music the entire time. The Bruins crowd made a Stanford crowd look like a WWF gathering.
Uthaithani: Lots of empty seats, like Memorial. Lots of bad football, like every Cal Pac 12 away game.
FacePalm1: Actually was able to go to the game and was impressed with how well UCLA manages a game - loud speakers surrounded the field with the band music, breaks were filled with music and engaging events, etc. MUCH better and more fun experience than at Cal games. Cal marketing (ugh) please take notes.
BearNecessties83: Fun tailgating at Rose Bowl and half full meant easy in and easy out, loved it.
TheR: Bowers cannot be the QB next year. Also the oline is terrible in pass protection
Sotiredoflovingcal: Freaking fire everyone. Don't backpedal. Step freaking into the pocket. Bowers not the future.
Sacman701: Moved the ball at times, but we were really limited by the lack of a deep threat. Bowers also held the ball an awfully long time at times. It wasn't clear whether this was a function of the receivers' inability to get open, his inability to spot open receivers, or both.
Wilcox Must Love Times Out: I feel sorry for Bowers. He's not the greatest, but the game plans continually put him in a bad place. for instance we've seen all season with this coaching staff, when we pick up 8 or 9 yards on first down, second down is the chance to do something with your QB. let him air it out. but instead we run the ball between the tackles for 4 yards, sure we pick up the first down, but we could have done more. quick slants oveor the middle work well, so of course we don't use them a lot. 5 step drop.. Sigh.
Mitchgobears: Receivers couldn't get any separation from defenders. Bowers is incredibly inaccurate downfield. Bowers ALWAYS rolls out of the pocket and backwards. At least he would throw the ball away.
Bearturd: It is now very obvious that Ross Bowers is NOT the guy. Instead of improving as the season went on, he became more inconsistent and made bad decisions throwing the ball.
Wiata78: Run backwards away from pressure and throw the ball out of bounds, over and over. At least we usually didn't get sacked. But come on. Early on I expected Bowers to get better as the game went on. So he did! But not until the last drive of the game!
Bowlesman80: Bowers has so much heart, I gotta' love the guy. What little I saw of the game, the spirit was willing, but the passes were weak. If inentions, alone, made a player great, then Bowers would be on track for the NFL HOF. I could see him as a back up QB or a throwing RB, next year, but have my doubts that he will start. Thanks, Ross, for some exciting moments and unlooked-for success this year. Let's work on sticking that landing on the Bowers' Flip!
Texashaterforlife: Oops, there is another false start on Cal. UCLA brings the blitz so Bowers runs backwards ten yards and takes a knee. What happened to the guy who runs forward and flips over the opposing defenders?
BTown85: This game confirmed for me that Bowers has a ceiling that is overall "mediocre".
BearNecessties83: I commend Young Mr. Bowers for running our offense since he earned the job but we have to be much better in every facet next year if we are going win more games than we lose...passing accuracy, decision making, and running when there are no other options or if the opportunity is there. It took 10 games to figure out how to just throw the ball away instead of taking a huge loss...
GoshPhukkingDarnit: Laird is a joy to watch. Like I wish Goff/Webb had a defense to complement their efforts, I wish Laird's offense had a productive passing game -- the results would be even better.
TheR: Laird for mvp
Yogi Bear.: Laird was good again. I wish we'd run more.
Sotiredoflovingcal: Should have run Enwere more.
Sacman701: Very good, even considering that UCLA sucks against the run. Laird is a legit bell cow, and the young OL has mostly gotten good at run blocking although they committed a bunch of penalties at really inopportune times.
Mitchgobears: Laird and the o-line kept us in the game.
Bearturd: Wow!! Is Patrick Laird a player! Maybe the only thing to look forward to next year.
Wiata78: No redzone ability. Good otherwise.
Bowlesman80: I believe Laird, Wharton, and Enwere, pretty much were our offense in this game. Please Cal students, more walk-ons, like The Bears' Laird.
Uthaithani: Laird is a stud, but the run offense is inconsistent and inefficient - kind of like everything else about Cal's offense. This offense squanders yards like I've never seen and can't convert short 3rd downs to save their life. McMorris underutilized. No #2 running option. No commitment to gashing, smash-mouth run. It's 1,000 yards rushing and still the worst or second worst offense in the Pac, by a lot. So Beau, need help packing?
FacePalm1: Thank you Patrick Laird for an amazing season.
Texashaterforlife: Laird runs...WAIT, another false start. Laird should be a team captain next year. Just get stronger and nastier O-line.
BTown85: I love me my Patrick Laird!!!! Glad he'll be back next year!!!!
BearNecessties83: It's one of the most enjoyable parts of watching the Bears play, the O-line making holes for Young Mr. Laird is a joy to watch and making his way into the open field.
GoshPhukkingDarnit: Worried about the D-line in 2018.
Yogi Bear.: Bynum had a lot of trouble guarding #2. Rosen was shredding us before he got hurt and then Modster had a few drives where he worked us over too. Bad day.
Sotiredoflovingcal: Whoever said that pass defense is the "strength" of our team doesn't know football.
Wilcox Must Love Times Out: horrendous. allowed the back up quarterback to carve us up.
Mitchgobears: Always an open receiver.
Wiata78: Rosen is really impressive. But we did get some good sacks in.
FacePalm1: Worst performance of the year. Why, after watching USC put 2-3 guys on Lasley, were we still letting him go with only single coverage? I love Bynum, but it was ridiculous to think 1 guy could stop him. Giving up 227 yds to 1 receiver in a game is shocking.
Texashaterforlife: Byynnnuuuuummmmm! another big game for UCLA passing offense with Modster throwing it. Does Cal even play nickel or have a notion of safety help over the top?
BearNecessties83: So promising at times and hard to watch at others, this game was one of the other times.
GoshPhukkingDarnit: I miss Devante Downs.
TheR: Improved, better tackling
Mitchgobears: We made their run game look good.
Bearturd: Run defense was fair at best.
Uthaithani: Pretty poor, considering UCLA can't run on anyone.
FacePalm1: Decent for the night (haven't seen the stats). We fell apart in the 4th quarter, but I blame a lot of that on Bowers.
BearNecessties83: They mostly did their jobs, except when we really needed it most.
GoshPhukkingDarnit: Please do not run it out of the end zone. And: who is our next placekicker?
TheR: Solid unit. Didn't lose any games.
Yogi Bear.: Missed FG hurt. The kick return out of the end zone was a total fail. Shanked a punt. The three FG's were the only thing that was done well.
Sacman701: This loss is not on Anderson. 4 out of 5 from 20, 32, 34, 37, and 46 is par for the course or a little better than average for a college kicker. What killed us was running into the kicker on 4th and 6.
Mitchgobears: Missed field goal: eh. We should be scoring touchdowns!
Bearturd: Simple. Two missed makeable field goals and two defeats
Wiata78: Ouch, another critical field goal miss. Was he nervous about breaking the record?
Uthaithani: Laughably bad. Did Cal practice this week?
FacePalm1: Bad punts, Anderson missed another important FG, 1 returned punt. Yeah, uh, not a good performance.
BTown85: I know kicking field goals is hard, but MAN it sucks when makeable ones are missed........in a 3 POINT GAME!!!!!!!
BearNecessties83: We hurt ourselves many times over, shanked punt, missed field goal, costly penalties
Another one through the uprights for Matt! He's got 30 points in the last two games vs. UCLA.— Cal Football (@CalFootball) November 25, 2017
Q4 8:35 | CAL 20, UCLA 27 pic.twitter.com/Kga8VthHFJ
GoshPhukkingDarnit: I believe in this staff, but the team didn't look very well coached tonight.
TheR: Wilcox an improvement. Hoping to see more improvement as he gets his recruits in. Team didn't quit like they did with Dykes.
Yogi Bear.: Twelve games in and we're still having Bowers throw patterns that we know from experience he just can't make. The game felt like it was there for the taking, but we wouldn't take it. And then we didn't use any of our timeouts at the end and we dropped our coverage deeper, instead playing (praying?) that they would miss a FG. Might be the worst coached game of the year.
Sotiredoflovingcal: 4th and 3 on the 20 yard line down by 7 with plenty of time and we turn it over on downs? Come on. What a boneheaded move.
Sacman701: On the one hand, the team came out ready to play on the road. On the other, we probably should have cranked up the pressure more on defense after Rosen went out, and we were unable to adjust to Lasley. On the 4th and 4 clusterf**k, either a coach or Bowers should have called time out as soon as they saw how UCLA was lined up.
Wilcox Must Love Times Out: Oh, we weren't the team with a lameduck, interim coach? Terrible game plan. What was wilcox thinking not using times out at the end of the game? idiotic coaching that cost the team any chance. not using times out on ucla's last possession of 1st half (especially when they inexplicably took a time out to stop the clock and help us) and then having to just taking a knee, a pathetic way to go out with a bowl game on the line. inept red zone offense. bad coaching decisions. not going for the field goal on 4th and 3 to start the 4th quarter, but worse was the 3rd down play call that caused the 4th down.
Mitchgobears: Unprepared and made their backup look good.
Poohbears : They have done well with what they have to work with.
Bearturd: I belive Coach Wilcox is going to be highly successful and a tremendous winning coach, just not at CAL. Within the next 3 to 5 years he will be gone from the CAL football program. CAL will never be more than a 5 or 6 win team. It is a snakebite football program. The CAL fan may have "hope" but in reality any fan 2 years of age or older will never experience the joy of the 2016 Chicago Cubs fan in their lifetime.
Wiata78: I really blame it all on the coaching, namely that Baldwin's plans were known or suspected. The players were mentally off and Baldwin didn't put a good effort in himself.
Bowlesman80: Thank you for elevating our expectations and making a "rebuild year" a season worth watching and hoping about. The thing with dicey calls, is when they succeed, you're a hero, when they fail, you're a goat. I am so glad and excited we have a coach that makes smart and, sometimes, gutsy calls.
Uthaithani: LOL. The way the Bears played you'd think it was Cal whose HC was fired. Sloppy, miscues, horrible play calling. Worst coaching effort all season, and that's really saying something. This was his playoff game and Wilcox laid an egg. Better see major improvement next season or Cal should go Jim Morah on him.
FacePalm1: Very bad. Bowers was back to looking confused and ineffective, we were trying to cover a beast with a single DB, another missed FG, lots of stupid penalties, and we let a backup QB tear us apart. If anything, we got worse in the 2nd half. Possibly the worst coaching of the year, unfortunately.
Texashaterforlife: A few questionable play calls but nothing really stood out other than the really stupid mental mistakes and lack of simple execution by the players. Oops, and another false start. But hey, the men's Bball coach would love the effort the football players showed compared to their wretched attempts at execution.
BTown85: I was baffled by the clock management at the end. We had 3 TOs and we let them give us the ball with 4 seconds left. We shoud have had a minute or so to try for the tie. FTW????????
BearNecessties83: A little too conservative at times, then didn't use time outs at the end of the game, they seem like rookie coaching mistakes or maybe just a sign of uncertainty
GoshPhukkingDarnit: Such a bummer. I'll get over it. Hoping that recruiting goes well, and that Cal is improved in 2018.
TheR: Exceeded expectations, which goes to show you how low expectations are at Cal... sucks no bowl game.
Yogi Bear.: Very disappointing. In some ways, I'm glad I don't have another Cal football game to watch this year. I want to see a new QB and get our injured guys back and see a higher level of play next year.
AlohaBear: These Bears have been fun to watch. Looking forward to next season!
Sotiredoflovingcal: Clearly Beau didn't care.
Sacman701: Mediocre performance. We ran and stopped the run well enough to win, but came up short in the passing game and pass coverage. UCLA has actually been pretty good in LA this year: they have only been comically awful on the road.
Poohbears : As in the last few years, they play hard against almost always better players.
Bearturd: It was a sick performance. Lost coach, lost starting quarterback for UCLA and they still won, enough said.
Wiata78: Like last week--we should have won.
Bowlesman80: It looked like some of the team had already given in to the LA curse, before they got there. As though we had a better chance of beating Furd, than FUCLA, on an away game. Wilcox is making progress on changing this "loser" culture and making a team that believes it can win ANY game ANYwhere.
Of course, now, we just need actually to win those close games.
Honestly, how many of you would have had the slightest hope of beating UCLA or ANY PAC 12 teams at the beginning of this year? This is team was awesome and this year was far above reasonable expectations.
A-. Final grade, with "degree of difficulty" factored in.
See you all, next season on CGB.
Uthaithani: Awful. Kind of glad the season is over, I'm so sick of the lousy offense and excuses from the Wilcox pumpers. A losing season is a failure, period. Wilcox's first year has been a failure. He can and probably will improve on this, but I give him no points for scoring a "high F," and F is and F, and that's what a losing season is - an F. Just like 6 of the last 8 seasons. For most programs this would be the low point. For Cal, it's a regression to mean. I'm not sure Wilcox will get the program out of this ditch and on a different trajectory, but here's hoping.
FacePalm1: Disappointing. In the immortal words of Marlon Brando, "We coulda been somebody!" It's been a really tough year and I thought the team performed solidly all season with a lot of setbacks. Coaches did a great job for the most part. I support and thank our coaches and staff, but I will expect more next year. Beating at least 1 of the big rivals (SC, Furd, OR, WA or UCLA), winning a couple Pac12 road games, and seeing a better QB running our offense.
Texashaterforlife: There is good news and bad news. The bad news: this game sucked to watch and felt like a sucker gut punch for those of us hoping for bowl eligibility. The good news: I am no longer numb to hope and pain of losing because Cal exceeded my preseason expectations. I had Cal down for 2 to 3 wins before the opening win at NC. The win vs WSU showed the highs we could achieve, and the losses (does not matter if they were close ones at home or blowouts on the road) reminded me of how far Cal has to go. One more good news item; the conference schedule doesn't Donkey frack us with next year's schedule. Jon Wilner was right to highlight Friday Road games after Saturday Road games really shoved Pac-12 heads up their Donkey hole. A conference road win should be expected at Oregon State next year. I have hope for 6 to 7 wins next year. I honestly have not said that about Cal since 2011. Go Bears!
BTown85: We really didnt deserve a bowl after this season. Not that that makes a difference in my mind of whether I WANTED to go to a bowl, but still.....
BearNecessties83: The game felt much like the Big Game (except less passionately), early missed field goal that was costly, couple of poorly executed plays that were costly, not a particularly exciting game, seemed like they were just going through the motions and expecting a different result...