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Rating the Bears: Cal at Oregon State

Following up the worst performance of the Wilcox era with the second-best.

NCAA Football: California at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Rating the Bears

This one could have been ugly. After the worst performance of the Wilcox Era (according to our ratings), we could have set a new low with a loss to the woeful Beavers. Alas, things went well in Corvallis. Quite well, in fact. If not for the monumental spanking we delivered to the Cougs last year, this would have been the highest-rated game of the Wilcox Era.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 80.0 12.2
Rush Offense 86.7 14.1
Pass Defense 87.7 8.4
Rush Defense 86.5 8.3
Special Teams 75.7 15.9
Coaching 84.5 9.7
Overall 87.0 9.9
Win Probability vs. Washington 33.7 (+4.5) 27.3 (+10.0)

While the defense had a strong but not unexpected performance, the offense looked nothing like the inconsistent, turnover-generating mess we had seen for the past three weeks. As a result, the offensive ratings were very high this week and miraculously managed to rival the defensive ratings. Special teams were solid but not spectacular, so they earned the lowest scores of the week. Likely owing to the Huskies’ pair of losses, our predictions of a win are higher than they were at the start of the season. Still, we greatly favor the Dawgs over our beloved Bears.

Ratings Comparisons

While this was our second-best game of the Wilcox Era, this was arguably our best game against the Beavs since we started rating the Bears’ performances many moons ago.

Comparison of Saturday’s performance (gold) to other recent games against Oregon State (blue)

An amusing feature of the above chart is the grouping of the scores for coaching and overall . Either we were greatly pleased with the Bears’ performance or we were furious. That’s to be expected in a series where we have won 5 and lost 4 since we started this series on CGB, but average score differential is a whopping 25 points.

Comparing Saturday’s performance (gold) to other games in the Wilcox Era (blue)

As I mentioned in the introduction, this was the second-best performance of the Wilcox Era. Interestingly, none of the categories earned the highest score of the Wilcox Era. Instead, this solid performance was anchored by great performances across all of the team’s units.


We won so we’ll start with awards for those who most generously graded the Bears’ performance.

Sunshine Pumpers

Name Rating
1. RememberTheCalamo 700 (100.0%)
1. PRD74 700 (100.0%)
1. David Shaw is a Fucktard 700 (100.0%)
4. Berkules 699 (99.9%)
5. VermontBear 625 (89.3%)

We have a three-way tie for first. Meanwhile Berklues drops to 4th for giving 100s in every category except coaching, which earned a 99. I guess that’s evidence that he wasn’t a total homer with his ratings.

Now, the pessimists.

Old Blues

Name Rating
1. Chicken 362 (51.7%)
2. BrooklynBear 410.8 (58.7%)
3. texashaterforlife 412 (58.9%)
4. BearOnAMesa 449 (64.1%)
5. N/a 465 (66.4%)

All but three ratings would have been good enough to pass on an uncurved grading scale. That’s a sign of a good day.

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. wiata78 4.18
2. hardtobecalfan 4.30
3. Berkelium97 4.38
4. BearlyThere 4.81
5. martinibear 4.93

Finally, we have those whose report cards were closest to the community average. Am I still a voice of reason if I think we have a decent shot at upsetting UW this weekend? We have the secondary to take advantage of Browning’s bizarre bouts of poor decision-making, and UW has let most of its opponents stick around late in the second half. With a bit of luck, we may be looking at a particularly pleasant set of report cards next week. Probably not, though.


Now let’s see how you felt about the game in words.

Any comments on the gameday experience?

BearOnAMesa - It’s really nice to be able to enjoy the rest of a Saturday for once

Teepee - Much needed win against a bad team Garbers played well and was very poised. Don’t see any point in using McIlwain the way they are. Laird was great. Targeting was a problem. Bad decisions. Luckily the fumble on the goal line didn’t hurt them. Garbers was poised for the most part and delivered good balls.

PRD74 - Everyone on TV was picking the Beavers. Knowing how badly we have played the past three weeks (We stunk), this game was downright scary if you are a Cal fan. The fact that we played solidly was awesome. Last week all zeros. To be fair, this week all 100s. GO BEARS!

Poohbears - “Well, streaming the first half at Peet’s was fine. Beautiful day. Falling off my bike during halftime (damned skinny gate) and breaking my wrist sucked. All the emergency people were watching the game! Morphine, I don’t like. Lidocaine in the wrist, I don’t like. Surgery this week, I don’t like. Bears win!”

BTown85 - Awesome weather and beers in the end zone terrace at Reser, surrounded my bummed out fans, thankful that wasn’t me………

Bearonamo - Spectacular day in Corn Valley on all fronts. Shout out to the Cal Band for road-tripping north

What are your thoughts on Cal’s passing game?

BTown85 - The long pass is still hit and miss, but Chase did a nice job on the intermediate routes.

SuperEQ - Garbers was great. Settled down and hit the passes he had to after missing some reads and missing open receivers. Wish we could go back and give him the Zona and UCLA games for all the experience

Mitchgobears - Effective but still a work in process.

1988goldenbear - Garbers looked really solid - like “why the heck didn’t he play in the prior two games” solid. Sure he airmailed a couple throws, but he certainly performed as expected against a pretty crappy defense. We won’t have that luxury next week, but maybe the confidence from this game will carry over.

Lucky1715 - Garbers looked a bit more comfortable but I still noticed he tends to hang it up there too long. Surprising for a player of his size/strength. Again, I fault the QB coaching more than the player.

BearOnAMesa - The Beavs aren’t good and Garbers’ completion percentage was pretty pedestrian, but the passing game got some big plays and opened up the OSU defense for the run. O-Line still needs work.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s running game?

Berkules - Laird is back to Laird form. The stiff-arm was incredibly Beastmode.

BearOnAMesa - Very nearly perfect. Couldn’t convert on a few short yardage situations, but Laird was absolutely electrifying the whole game!

sacalum - Can’t complain about 300+ yards, even against a weak OSU defense. The line opened up some pretty good holes at times.

christopher_h - I’m glad Patrick Laird had a big game and hopefully this improves Cal’s confidence going forward, but this one had a lot more to do with OSU’s complete ineptitude and stopping the run. Laird’s post-game quote said it all: “There were a few 20-plus yard runs where I wasn’t touched for 20 yards.” While he was complimenting the Cal O-line, how does a defense even allow that to consistently happen? OSU also missed a ton of tackles, and Laird made OSU LB Matthew Tago look silly with that nasty stiff arm into the ground on his TD run. Definitely my favorite play of the game.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s pass defense?

Berkules - The Bears are who we thought they were.

BearOnAMesa - Beavers were without their starting QB so it’s hard to get an exact measure, but 7 sacks is hard to argue with. Coverage got a little soft late game but the pressure up front remained effective.

SlapHappyBear - Greeeeeaaaat!

SuperEQ - They’re really good. Weren’t tested much, and we’ll need them to dominate to get 2 more wins.

christopher_h - Cal stopped the run and forced OSU QBs Blount/Colletto to make throws they weren’t capable of making. Cal definitely has one of the best secondaries in the Pac-12, and we haven’t really seen them get challenged much outside of a future NFL 1st round QB in Justin Herbert making NFL 1st round QB throws into tight coverage. They’ll also have their hands-full next week against a team that relies more on individual talent at WR (e.g. Aaron Fuller, Ty Jones) to win match-ups and make plays on woefully-underthrown balls into coverage.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s run defense?

sacalum - Stout all day.

Mitchgobears - Set the edge.

texashaterforlife - Whomever drafts Kunaszyk (probably in the mid to late rounds) is going to get a steal.

Berkules - 95 total yards is just fine with me, though I know eight sacks helps that number.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s special teams?

Berkules - Other than the onside, solid.

hardtobecalfan - Stupid running into kicker.

Bowlesman80 - Our kickers are outstanding. By the way, let’s not run into or rough kickers. What were the OSU coaches thinking turning down those two penalties, BTW?

1988goldenbear - Solid and incognito. That’s good.

Lucky1715 - Losing another on-side kickoff is disappointing so I really don’t feel they played terribly well overall.

What are your thoughts on the coaching staff’s performance?

Rugbear - Much better but still a long way to go. Still not sold on BB’s play calling.

Bowlesman80 - BB is, at least, trying new things, loved the reverse. Wilcox blew a fuse after the running into the kicker call, but it may have been called for. Those dumb mistakes need to get coached out.

BearOnAMesa - It’s hard to be too critical in a complete win like this, but cutting down on targeting penalties is a clear place for improvement. Some of the playcalling on short-yardage situations was suspect too, but plenty of other plays benefited from some smart scheming.

SuperEQ - Solid. Got the team focused. Made the right call starting Garbers. Got the run game going. They have their work cut out for them the next 5 weeks.

Lucky1715 - Acceptable. I felt the team was properly prepared this week and showed better timing and cohesion. The offense was a bit more dynamic and Garbers looked a bit better, too. Glad to get the team’s confidence up prior to UW.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s overall performance?

Berkules - They played the way they should against the worst team in the conference.

Rugbear - B+ but we got an A+ grade on our score differential.

slaphappybear - Preparation paid off. Way to play their style of ball and sticking by each other. This is very redeeming.

texashaterforlife - Good to know we are not the bottom of the division with our first conference win. I still do not think Cal will become Bowl eligible, but there is a slimmer of hope to beating Stanford.

1988goldenbear - Solid. They beat a thoroughly overmatched team on the road. I don’t think there was much doubt about this one past the first half. Not sure it is a great measuring stick though.