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Rating the Bears: Cal vs. Leland Stanford Junior University

The axe remains trapped in Palo Alto.

NCAA Football: Stanford at California D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Rating the Bears

We were fortunate to see the end of one interminable losing streak to a rival this season, but breaking two streaks was too much of a task for this offense. A Big Game win would have made this season a complete success. I still think it was a successful season. After Goode’s season-ending injury and the transfers of Robertson and Stovall, I only expected 5 wins. Fortunately it’s not yet time to reflect on the season because we have a bowl game! And it’s not yet time to talk about the bowl because we must take one final look at the 121st Big Game.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 28.3 24.9
Rush Offense 49.3 24.8
Pass Defense 71.2 22.0
Rush Defense 78.2 22.1
Special Teams 59.9 23.6
Coaching 57.8 25.6
Overall 52.9 21.4

I could have pulled that table from several of our previous games and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Once again, we had lackluster offense, good defense, and reliable special teams. The coaching rating was a little lower than usual, but that may reflect growing dissatisfaction with Baldwin’s “offense.”

Ratings Comparisons

Compared to recent Big Games, the team fared better than normal. The defense was the best we had seen and the special teams, coaching, overall, and run defense were all third-best over our 9-game losing streak. When this streak finally ends, I hope to see 100s across the board.

Comparing Saturday’s performance (gold) to other recent Big Game performances.

Compared to other games in the Wilcox Era, this was fairly average. Ever since the UCLA fiasco this team has been remarkably consistent—perhaps the most consistent team we’ve seen since we’ve been doing these report cards.

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


It’s a Big Game loss, so it seems wrong to hand out awards. Nevertheless, we must recognize our usual triumvirate of raters. First we have those with the lowest ratings:

Old Blues

Name Rating
1. David Shaw can shove an axe up his ass! (Not the Axe) 0 (0.0%)
1. ShitFuck 0 (0.0%)
1. Stanford Fan 0 (0.0%)
4. Jerry 310 (44.3%)
5. xxxbear 320 (45.7%)

Look! We found a LSJU fan!

Sunshine Pumpers

Name Rating
1. David shaw needs to go! 700 (100.0%)
1. RememberTheCalamo 700 (100.0%)
3. BearlyThere 597 (85.3%)
4. Bowlesman80 575 (82.1%)
5. Terracewalk 531 (75.9%)

David Shaw has to go? Is that why he’s always making that weird face on the sidelines?

The Voice of Reason

And finally, we have those whose ratings were closest to the community average. And they’re the most handsome raters too.

Name Deviation
1. A$AP Bear 5.53
2. Berkelium97 6.45
3. KJ1980 7.01
4. hardtobecalfan 8.01
5. Bearonamo 8.30

And now for your comments.


Any comments on the gameday experience?

texashaterforlife - I’m glad it was postponed from two weeks ago. Much better day without the health hazard. And it keeps the Big Game as it should be; last regular season game before bowl season.

heyalumnigo - First Big Game in 26 years. Sun came out for a little bit. Great to be able to go to Big Games again.

Poohbears - First game out of my cast. Lots of bobbles in the house. Some rain, more sun. Oh, yeah, another big game ...

BearMD - Amazing turnout despite the weather. I was eyeballing, but I figure we had ~85% attendance by late first half. And the bobblehead giveaway was da bomb! Not cool was seeing hoarders grab more than their allotment. How is it that I see one dude carry 6, count SIX, bobbleheads!

Torreys Tacos - Great to see a nearly full house, and it would’ve been completely packed if Stanford actually had any fans. Crowd recognized momentum shifts and was loud for big moments. The missed field goal took the wind out of things because the writing was on the wall at that point.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s passing game?

BearMD - I thought Garbers would have made some progress throughout the year. But the same mistakes are still there: overthrowing receivers. Stuck on first option, not fully seeing the second/third options. I won’t mention much about the interceptions because they speak for themselves. But had Garbers managed a decent throw during the first 75% of the game, I think this game would have been much closer. In one sequence, we see Garbers roll out to right after the pocket collapses, and completely doesn’t see a receiver to the right sideline open for a potential first down. The overthrows are hurting us. I hope this is an area he makes major strides next season.

Torreys Tacos - Garbers didn’t see some open men early, rarely made good throws beyond 10 yards and had a couple of wildly inaccurate throws on deep balls. The decision-making can improve since he’s young, but the inability to throw even slightly deep (aside from one that got broken up) is a real problem. He did show good awareness in the pocket and scrambled for a couple nice runs.

1988goldenbear - I can’t imagine that this is the best the coaching staff can scheme, but yet we see the same thing over and over. My feeling is that Garbers wasn’t bad overall, but the drops were drive killers (especially the one by Hawkins that would have converted a 3rd down).

Rugbear - Garbers can make the throws. Our receivers need to be on the same page. And they need to catch the ball when it hits them in the hands.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s running game?

Rugbear - Laird is great. Running him into the middle of a 7 man box is the epitome of stupid.

texashaterforlife - Started out slow, but became better as the game wore on. One note to ask is what happened on that fly sweep early in the game. You leave a DE open to go block downfield, WTF?

Juicy Jay - Play calling is unimaginative and lack of depth is an issue, but nothing but respect for Laird as always.

BearMD - What a way to go out for Patrick Laird! That 60 yard rumble was just pure sensational. I wish the rest of the runs could have matched that. But to put up north of 100 against a staunch Stanford defense is worthy of mentioning!

1988goldenbear - We ran into the middle of the line over and over and over, and the results were marginal at best. I don’t know how many 3rd-and-long’s we had, but there seemed to be a bunch of them.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s pass defense?

texashaterforlife - This I thought was going to be a tough matchup. I believe the Bears did rather well. The situational blitzes helped rush Costello into overthrows. We still need a good speed rusher to have more sacks. But the D-line did a good job. If only Cal could have had an interception on any of those tipped balls.

Jacobs - Top defense vs a top passing offense.... if I was watching a different team lose I would applaud the effort.

heyalumnigo - Did a good job against Furd. There was one long pass down the left sideline and the long TD. Other than that we did a pretty good job. Great defense in the endzone on the two pass attempts at the end of the first half.

Torreys Tacos - If those tipped balls had gone to the right spot ... Really can’t blame them for struggling with Arcega-Whiteside. He’ a ridiculous physical specimen. Parkinson is also a big dude.

SGBear - They played their hearts out, defending fantastically well against the play that you knew was coming - the corner fades to Arcega Whiteside. Lots of broken up plays that just didn’t bounce the right way. Costello had a very pedestrian game. The big gains that they had were due to scheme gambles that we lost on, not being beaten on coverage.

1988goldenbear - Damn good overall. Furd has great receivers and a solid QB if he has time to sit in the pocket. Our secondary made some great hits and both Bynum and Hicks did a fantastic job one-on-one. But the killer penalty for roughing the passer was the final nail in the coffin - that’s inexcusable.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s run defense?

Rugbear - Stout. They only had 92 yards rushing.

texashaterforlife - If you take away that one TD run, Cal’s rush defense did A- work. Even with the TD run, I would give a satisfactory grade. Only one more game to appreciate Weaver and Kunaszyk, before questions arise about how to replace them next year.

Poohbears - Tough to tackle for no gain when you are blown up on almost every play. Linebackers will be missed.

Jerry - Generally excellent

CALiforniALUM - Shocking how our boys looked smaller, but gave up nothing.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s special teams?

Rugbear - Good but nothing special today.

Bowlesman80 - Not their best day, but a far cry from our worst ST showing.

Torreys Tacos - You can’t miss field goals inside 40 yards and you can’t commit penalties that wipe out good returns, especially with an offense that’s basically helpless.

1988goldenbear - That missed FG was a killer. Other than that, they were solid enough.

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

Rugbear - Defense: Solid (as usual). ST: Good, didn’t make any big mistakes. Offense: WTF? We had 352 yards and could not get it in the end zone.

Jacobs - Unlike Washington and USC, this time it was Cal coaching staff that blinked in the 4th. Probably because Shaw is a robot who doesn’t actually need to blink.

heyalumnigo - Not a bad gameplan. Seemed to be a vanilla gameplan the first two Furd drives. Then tightened it up.

A$AP Bear - Coaches on the D side did their job today, as they’ve done all year. But our O... Beau Baldwin seriously has to go. Playcalling is disgustingly bad. No player development. Just terrible.

BearMD - Penalties speak much of coaching for me. 3 penalties for total of 30 yards is much better than the 10 for 100+ games we’ve had in the past. Yeah that last penalty (roughing the passer) really hurt our chances and put the game away, as the Furds scored later, but overall, I think this is a well coached team.

iwasthere4theplay - We needed a strong gameplan with some new stuff to beat the furds. Seemed to be the same old stuff. We had a lot of extra time to prepare for this game.

1988goldenbear - The defensive coaches should all get raises. The offensive coaches should all be shown the door. We need a reset on offense, and I’m not sure we can expect anything special if Coach Wilcox keeps everything as is. I’d love to be wrong about that, but I won’t have much confidence in the offense if the coaches stay for another year.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s overall performance?

texashaterforlife - At the end of the 1st Qtr (10-0 trees), I was thinking this might be like the UCLA game. At halftime and the end of the 3rd Qtr (13-6 trees), I was thinking of the USC game where we come from behind late in the game to win it. It didn’t work out that way, but I am encouraged to watch the bowl game. Cal needs to cleanup the turnovers, however the bear’s season has been a good one if not a great one

BearMD - Predictable performance. Overall a very admirable defensive stance that kept us in the game and a predictably atrocious offense. I think the thing that has been obvious about the offense is that coaching will only take us so far. We need some better recruits. There is no downfield threat to keep the defense honest. This was a game I thought we legitimately had a chance to win and I’m sad that our seniors don’t get to claim one win against Stanford before leaving...

Clbear - I didn’t feel much was pretty much how we’ve played all year. Found plenty of entertainment off the field. I was very moved at how packed the stadium was...glad this team got to experience that.

iwasthere4theplay - Sad to see the seniors are leaving without a BG win. We are getting closer to furd talent and with a decent offense we could have won this game. It could have been worse but it seems the furds get really conservative with even a slight lead.

SGBear - Defense did everything they could to win the game. But Offense was ineffective and we still were close enough to win another rock fight. But 3 TOs are too much to overcome, which in part was due to a few bad bounces that didn’t go our way. We were in striking distance but couldn’t close the deal. We’ll get the bastards next year.

1988goldenbear - Freaking awesome defensive performance, yet again wasted by an anemic offense. Great effort, but too many mistakes in critical moments to beat Furd this year.

Thanks for participating! We’ll see you in a few weeks after the bowl game.