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Rating the Bears: Cal at USC


NCAA Football: California at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rating the Bears

We did it. We finally did it. We beat USC. After 14 consecutive losses, we not only beat USC, but we beat them in their own house and we made them suffer for the entirety of the second half in which their offense only put up 40-something yards. ESPN poured salt in the wound by showing sad USC fans for seemingly the entire second half. It was glorious.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 64.0 27.3
Rush Offense 71.2 23.2
Pass Defense 92.0 8.7
Rush Defense 90.4 9.6
Special Teams 80.3 16.8
Coaching 90.4 11.6
Overall 90.7 10.3
Win Probability vs. LSJU 77.0% (+18.9) 21.7 (+1.7)

Speaking of glorious, for only the second time in our 9 seasons of running this series of posts we have a pair of defensive scores in the 90s. The only other time that happened was when the Bears upset the Huskies earlier this season. The offense earned some heavily win-assisted scores, but it also deserves some praise for doing just enough in the second half and for grinding out a 5-minute drive to end the game. Naturally, coaching and overall scores were through the roof. And our predictions of a Big Game win have grown tremendously thanks to our recent momentum and some key injuries for the Lobsterbacks.

Ratings Comparison

After spending this entire decade watching the Bears repeatedly turn in their worst game of the season against a shockingly mistake-free USC team, we should not be surprised that this was the best performance against USC we have seen in our data.

Comparing Saturday’s glorious win (gold) against recent performances against USC.

Every category earned its highest scores we have ever seen against USC, and most did it by a large margin.

Thanks to a pleasant abundance of satisfying wins recently, this was not the best win we have seen in the Wilcox Era. It was close, but it fails to top last year’s unexpected annihilation of 8th-ranked Washington State and narrowly beats this year’s win against Washington.

Comparing Saturday’s performance to other games in the Wilcox era.


We have our traditional set of awards to hand out today. Rather than hand out the usual 15 (top 5, bottom 5, and 5 closest to average), we’re handing out a whopping 36 awards today. Why so many? Because we have a TWENTY-SIX WAY TIE FOR FIRST PLACE SUNSHINE PUMPER!

Sunshine Pumpers

Name Grade
1. alpha1906 700 (100.0%)
1. yobear 700 (100.0%)
1. NinjaNed 700 (100.0%)
1. RememberTheCalamo 700 (100.0%)
1. BuddyWoodchips 700 (100.0%)
1. Rollonyoubears111 700 (100.0%)
1. justbear 700 (100.0%)
1. H15Toric 700 (100.0%)
1. WeCanHazGoodThings 700 (100.0%)
1. thestreakisover 700 (100.0%)
1. 2004-present 700 (100.0%)
1. 100 700 (100.0%)
1. heyalumnigo 700 (100.0%)
1. Glenn T Gobears 700 (100.0%)
1. Mallrat92205 700 (100.0%)
1. Johngalenhoward 700 (100.0%)
1. LeonPowe 700 (100.0%)
1. Mikeymcd 700 (100.0%)
1. Goldenlikethebears 700 (100.0%)
1. GOBEARZ 700 (100.0%)
1. Berkelium97 700 (100.0%)
1. SuperEQ 700 (100.0%)
1. Old Bear 71 700 (100.0%)
1. CruzinBears 700 (100.0%)
1. the ghost of Joe Roth 700 (100.0%)
1. David Shaw is shitting his panties 700 (100.0%)


Alas, not everyone was as excited about the win as the one-quarter of us who submitted perfect scores.

Old Blues

Name Rating
1. MadCalDiseaz 405 (57.9%)
2. Stevo 417 (59.6%)
4. Joshua.Morgan 447 (63.9%)
5. senorbrx 450 (64.3%)

Finally, we have those whose scores were closest to the community average.

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. FrmrG8r 3.72
2. goldenone 4.59
3. 1988goldenbear 4.62
4. m4ld 4.64
5. sacalum 4.67

Many thanks to all of you who participated. Now let’s check out your comments about this glorious win. Go Bears!


Any comments on the gameday experience?


Berkules - I wish it was at our Memorial because I’d love to be on the field right now, but that will wait until next week. Feels damn good to beat them in their house.

diasfordays - Late kickoff + east coast family trip = internal screaming while everyone sleeps. Great game.

1988goldenbear - What an amazing, glorious, victorious evening at the Coliseum! Cal fans were loud (especially Mrs. Weaver - pretty obvious where Evan gets his motor), awesome second half adjustments, and a very cool visit to our wedge in the stands by the team after the game. Love the heart this team has!

SuperEQ - Very subdued. Stadium half empty. Southern Cal is not doing well.

coysy - :’)

What are your thoughts on Cal’s passing game?

hardtobecalfan - we need more talent at WR, and garbers also needs better accuracy

coysy - Better with Garbers, still desperately lacking athletes. 3.6 YPA gets 5 YIKES out of 5

Berkules - We didn’t throw it to the other team (yay) but I can’t say I’m blown away by how we threw it to our team.

Willis Chong - Almost nonfunctional. I think the only reason we had anything going was because Vic caused the other team to lose their cool at the right time. I’m concerned that we have lost all of our normal starting receivers. With Noa out and Vic looking pretty dead by the end of the game, Hawkins and Remigio need to step up. Or maybe, our TEs should start catching the ball. Seriously, how many balls has Hudson caught this season?

ABVidale - Garbers’ had great touch on the touchdown pass. The lack of speed and the O-Line shortcomings continue.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s running game?

Bearonimo - Until Cal can force a way to punish teams for leaving their safeties in the box this running attack is going nowhere. Did a great job on that 4th and 1 to end it though. #statement

sacalum - Good enough when it counted. Solid running from Garbers and Laird, especially that critical 4th and 1 when we were trying to run out the clock.

CoBears - Garbers looked fast, especially on the called-back 82 yard run and his 23 yard run where he unfortunately fumbled. Laird did enough, even with a stacked box.

thepillowpants - Just enough. Especially when it they needed it most

What are your thoughts on Cal’s pass defense?

GuMiBears - ho-hum. Did you expect them to suck or something? Easy Beck INT on an obvious fast short pass. USC definitely wasnt gonna run it on that 3rd and long and Cal was having their way with USC on most 3rd and longs.

707bear - Wilcox is a god.

Bowlesman80 - They gave up a few, but closed the loopholes in the second half.

mendogriz - Ferocious. Beautiful. Magnificent.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s run defense?

Stevo - Beautiful

BTown85 - Tougher than I’ve ever seen against U$C! I kept waiting for that breakaway run to kill my spirit and it never happened!!!!

Texashaterforlife - If you play better at the end of the game than in the beginning, you are OUT FREAKIN STANDING! The USC possession in the 2nd half where we stuffed them on a 3rd and very short was the momentum changer to Cal’s favor.

FrmrG8r - It’s hard to overstate just how solid this group was tonight, particularly in the second half. Smothering, swarming, overpowering.

wiata78 - Everyone gets a 99 this week! So that when we win next week, everyone can improve to 100!

What are your thoughts on Cal’s special teams?

Willis Chong - Coutts gets overtime for the game. Our KOs were pretty good. Don’t get a great score because of the two fumbles. Serious problem that hasn’t been fixed.

1988goldenbear - Solid all game, with a great read and discipline on the fake FG by Beck.

diasfordays - Early mishaps aside, great game by special teams. We killed USC with great kicking/punting and great returning, as well as shutting down their attempted trick play. Can’t ask for more.

707bear - Some ugliness at the beginning of the game, plus the heart-in-your-throat fumble out of bounds toward the end. But otherwise unremarkable, which is a good thing for cal special teams.

mvargus - They did stop the fake field goal, but Remigio did muff the punt, we had a blocking in the back penalty on another punt return and the opening kickoff return was a disaster. Overall this was not their best game.

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

Rugbear - We finally called a really smart game. Very pleased. I am pretty sure the decision to play only Garbers was Wilcox’s call.

Fan by marriage - Unlike last week, today was terrific

Worked the clock, creative run plays got first downs to work the clock!

goldenone - Made the 2nd half adjustments to stop Daniels

Jroddy - Got the boys believing. Executed an effective game plan. Held a certain someone on the bench.

imadinosaurama - I honestly really love Justin Wilcox. He’s turned this team around so much and he’s given fans our first really special Cal football moment in a very long time. New era!

Willis Chong - Kept our team’s heads in the game. The bear did not quit. Credit where credit is due. Also, no BMC, so either Wilcox made it clear to BB to stop playing him or BB finally figured out what we all saw 4 games ago. Also, we are starting playing a few younger people (for depth reasons), which, given that there are only 2 games left, might mean that some of the younger players can play in one of the next two games as well as the bowl game and still redshirt, assuming our younger players played against Idaho State. Might be nice to see what we have for our future.

sacman701 - Excellent halftime adjustments. Crucially, no one panicked after SC went up 14-0 and was knocking at our door again. To be sure most of the credit should go to the players, but probably some of it should go to the coaches.

Torreys Tacos - Great! They played to their strengths, which is what good teams do. Unlike a lot of tight games, they didnt burn early second half timeouts and it paid off, while USC suffered tremendously from those early timeouts.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s overall performance?


mvargus - It was a win. It was too close for comfort, but last season this would have been a loss. Now we see Cal pull out wins against UW and USC in close games that forced the team to play hard. I’m very happy with the progress. Sadly, we’ll have to wait for next season to see an improvement in the team speed of the offense.

WeCanHazGoodThings - The most fight, the most grit, the most proud I have ever been to be a bear.

Jacobs. - The moment Clay Helton decided not to go for it on fourth and short... was like re-watching Chris Petersen deciding to take the field goal. Priceless!

707bear - We beat USC, thats all that matters. And we WILL beat Stanford next week. The Bear wants blood.

Goldenlikethebears - 15. YEARS.

rocksanddirt - Wins Wins Wins