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Athlon Sports ranks all 130 FBS teams... and it’s not too friendly for Cal

Yet another publication predicts poor performance in the Pac-12 for the Golden Bears.

NCAA Football: California at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a shocker—the California Golden Bears football team will (probably) have a rebuilding year in 2017. It’s as clear as my flawless skin. We’ve already discussed Bill Connelly’s last-in-the-Pac-12 projection. We covered our worst-in-the-conference over/under. Today, we’ve got another! Athlon Sports ranked all 130 FBS teams and they came to the same conclusion for the Golden Bears.

Athlon Sports Pac-12 rankings

Nat'l Rank P12 rank School
Nat'l Rank P12 rank School
4 1 Wash
5 2 USC
17 3 Stanfurd
21 4 Oregon
28 5 WSU
33 6 UCLA
34 7 Colorado
38 8 Utah
53 9 ASU
65 10 OSU
66 11 Arizona
76 12 Cal

Athlon’s reasoning for our placement is a tale as old as time. (Or as old as that line.) Cal’s not only in the process of rebuilding, but in need of rebuilding a struggling defense.

How much of a difference can Wilcox make in one season? After giving up 42.6 points and more than 500 yards per game last fall, this unit can only go one way. The overall depth and talent level needs to improve, but Wilcox has some talented pieces to work with, including end James Looney and linebackers Devante Downs and Raymond Davison. The secondary features just one returning starter but a return to full health from cornerback Darius Allensworth and safety Evan Rambo could alleviate some of the concerns about the pass defense.

Offensively, the Bears will do some rejiggering; the parts should be there, but it all hinges on the emergence of a quarterback. Chase Forrest and Ross Bowers—we all hope you’re ready for the spotlight.

I’ve compiled these preseason Pac-12 ranks and over/unders in the table below.

Compiled Pac-12 preseason assessments

Athlon Nat'l Rank Athlon P12 rank Connelly P12 rank Vegas O/U School
Athlon Nat'l Rank Athlon P12 rank Connelly P12 rank Vegas O/U School
4 1 2 10 Wash
5 2 1 10 USC
17 3 3 9 Stanfurd
21 4 4 7.5 Oregon
28 5 5 7 WSU
33 6 8 7 UCLA
34 7 6 7.5 Colorado
38 8 7 5.5 Utah
53 9 11 5 ASU
65 10 9 5.5 OSU
66 11 10 4.5 Arizona
76 12 12 3.5 Cal

Let’s prove ‘em all wrong, Bears!