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Cal Advanced Stats: Cal v. OSU, Senior Day

Fare Thee Well Our Beloved Bears

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

We enter the late stages of the 2017 Cal football era, with that we also enter the final games for some of the Cal players who will don the blue and gold for just a handful more times.

Though the senior who were starters are but a few, they are nonetheless extremely important to the program. They gave their all during their tenure and the least we can do is to give them a hearty “Go Bears” when they come out of the tunnel for the last time as California Golden Bears.

Regarding last week’s game: Colorado broke Cal’s pass defense. With it being the truly shining spot for Cal, the tarnish Colorado put on the pass defense is very visible. With multiple blown coverages and DBs getting burned 1-on-1. However, the success rate for Cal Pass D indicates that not only was the deep pass an issue, it was the whole field.

Despite the focus of the Cal D in stopping the run, Colorado chugged along with an efficient run after run, as per Cal Ds statistical profile. This is worrying, despite focusing on defending the run Cal still allowed its usual statistical output on the run. What if Cal faces a balanced team?

California Golden Bears, 4-5 (1-5 Pac-12 North): S&P+ Overall Ranking: #101 (down 7)

Overall

Here we are, 101st, like in HC Dykes’ first season at Cal as Avi pointed out. Yet we have 3 more wins and have looked competitive in a lot of games where we looked absolutely lost. However, unlike 2013, the SOS Cal played in 2013 was 2nd in the nation, this year Cal faced only the 30th hardest schedule in FBS.

However, another stat that I look to that is simpler than S&P+, Cal is 67th in SRS (definition of SRS link).

Offense

Not much can be said that would add to what I have written in the past. Offense struggles in the air and on the ground but has flashes of brilliance in its skill players.

There are two good signs for Cal for 2018, with the return of Robertson Cal will have a really good trio of receivers with him, Noa, and Wharton who have had significant snaps played this season. With Noa really shining through on clutch conversions and catches.

Kanawai Noa will play on Sundays, continuing Cal’s most recent tradition of sending WRs to the NFL. Book it.

Defense

Sigh, a couple of weeks ago, after the WSU game, I noted that Cal sported one of the best passing down defenses in the nation... then Murphy’s Law happened and the strength became an issue for us as Tate and Montez roasted the DBs on deep passes.

Azzinaro and deRuyter will have their hands full trying to coach up the defense to defend against Nall who came in like a wrecking ball on Cal last year [that was less fun than watching the music video of the reference].

Oregon State Beavers, 1-7 (0-5 Pac-12 North): S&P+ Overall Ranking: #118 (down 7)

Overall

This is the first time, sans Weber State which has no data, in this season Cal will be facing a team that is overall statistically worse than Cal. Yet... it is scary, like in 2016, I am having a bad feeling about this screw. True, they are coming to Strawberry Canyon with QBs who combine for a 5/8 TD/INT ratio, yet there is something disquieting about OSU.

Offense

They bad. Not as bad as Cal’s, however, it is probably one of the worst we will face all season long. Which says a lot about both units. OSU runs the ball 60.8% of the time for a efficient but not explosive clip, which in Cal football parlance is bad news.

Cal DBs will have to figure out how to not get burned by mediocre QBs like Montez and not make him look like a Heisman finalist with their play. Though Darrell Garretson’s play hasn’t been awe inspiring, the Cal fan in me is already prepping for the worst. Curses.

Defense

OSU has a bad rushing defense and an even worse passing defense. Yet, this defense held a hapless Stanfurd to 15 points and can cause problems if underestimated. Their safeties have plenty of run stuffs which means they often use their safeties on run blitzes or contains against runs to the outside.

A good barometer for the game for Cal is whether or not the OSU pass-rush can reach Bowers. If they can then it will a long game due to the fact that OSU is a poor pass rushing team, if they can get to Bowers it can grind the passing attack to a halt because Cal can’t win in the trenches. (add to this the fact that the OSU DL is 129th in the country in HAVOC plays at 1.2% which means not even a sack/run-stuff per game since most offenses have 80~ish plays per game.)

Final Thoughts

Not a fun match-up to write about. A lot of statistically poor football will be played with a slight advantage for Cal for having a better defense and OSU not having much to write home about on their end.

I do see Cal winning this, but there will be a lot of “Oh, God what in the world Cal?!” moments, and a lot of angry looks by Coach Wilcox.

What angry looks?

This: