What do you think is needed in the future (recruiting, player-wise, coaching-wise) for the California Golden Bears to end the streak against the USC Trojans and play them at the level that (ugh) Stanford does?
Nick Kranz: The quick answer is recruiting. The difference between a team like USC and a team like Cal is uniformity and depth as a direct result of recruiting.
USC recruits such that any on position group is very rarely a weakness, and USC recruits such that they can deal with injuries better than most. This particular year, Cal struggled with an inexperienced offensive line and an inexperienced quarterback, and were hurt by injuries to their #1 wide receiver and #1 running back. In previous years it was different position groups and different injuries, but the basic story is the same.
Cal has at times in the past recruited well enough such that whatever talent advantage USC had, it was small enough that execution (and a bit of luck) would be enough to give the Bears a shot. Let's hope that's the case in a year or two.
Avinash: Cal almost certainly needs a better run game. The Bears averaged under three yards a carry for almost the entire game. So offensive line talent needs to be upgraded in a hurry. Almost any successful effort to beat the Trojans starts on the ground and winning the battles in the trenches. The running backs need to get better at picking up short yardage situation.
Talent-wise, Cal simply didn't have enough. The Bears could not survive the absence of Demetris Robertson and Tre Watson today, plus playing two backup offensive lineman hardly helped. The Bears need to build up their depth on the line, and hopefully in a year's time they'll have the right team ready to end this accursed streak.
Nik Jam: We just need more talent, especially in the offensive and defensive lines. We already knew this year would be tough on the O-line, and we saw it when USC kept geting to Bowers. Imagine giving Bowers, or whoever our QB is in 2018/2019 time to make the big time throws, our drives would have been more successful. (It should be noted that, even with the lack of depth, they've STILL overachieved for the most part this year...)
The defense is making strides and will keep getting better, they will be able to stack up to the big time offenses of the Pac-12 very soon, so that's not a worry for me.
Piotr Le: I think it will just need more depth in key positions: some more reliable speed on the outside, and some protection on the OL. It isn't outside of the realm of possibility that we already have players coming in or in the system that will fill those gaps. With the incoming OL class and Robertson/Stovall still at Cal I can see us winning next year even if we'll be replacing our 2 ILBs next year.
ragnarok: Struggling to come up with a different answer than everyone else, because the basic answer is recruiting/depth. The coaching staff has, over an admittedly small sample of games, demonstrated an ability to maximize talent and scheme towards strengths and their opponents' weaknesses, but injuries make fools of even the best schemers.
I suppose the other thing the Bears could use would be more game-breaking talent, like a Marshawn Lynch or a DeSean Jackson, that can create mismatches against Pac-12 talent all by themselves. The Bears have talent, but I don't know that they have anyone on the roster who forces opposing teams to overcompensate by their mere presence on the field.