It might not seem like it at times, but the California Golden Bears do have a top 20 athletic program. Thanks to the multitude of sports, Cal provides excellent athletic performances in numerous disciplines. If you include the performances of men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s water polo, add in some rugby to boot, and take a look at the broad swath of strong athletic accomplishment you see across the board, Cal still competes at a high level compared to the majority of college athletics programs.
Cal is ranked 16th overall in a Yahoo Sports article ranking the Power 5 programs based off of Learfield Cup performance the past five seasons. Pat Forde has this short blurb on what Cal has accomplished:
Steady. Three straight top-15 finishes, despite athletic budgetary issues.
Unfortunately, you know what comes next. Here’s the top four.
4. USC Trojans.
3. UCLA Bruins.
2. Florida Gators.
1. Stanford Cardinal.
Despite having more sports than any of their California counterparts, Cal still lags way behind their in-state rivals in terms of overall athletic accomplishment. Stanford finds a way to compete for almost every national title on the board in most sports, including football and women’s basketball. USC football and UCLA basketball lift the Trojans and Bruins above their Cal counterparts.
The Bears simply do not perform well enough in football and basketball to match their Southern California nemeses, and are often outspent in the Olympic sports.
What do you think it will take for Cal to move its way up into the top five and compete hand-in-hand with USC, UCLA, and Stanford?