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Golden Nuggets: Why Cal Could Win the Pac-12 This Year

Michigan transfers could help Cal this season.

Mississippi v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


  • There’s a new Cal site in town! Former Oakland Tribune beat writer Jeff Faraudo teamed up with Jake Curtis to open up Cal Bears Maven. Their first article is sure to get some clicks. Turns out, this could be the year Cal wins the Pac-12!!! Sure, it’s not likely and you shouldn’t go put down a lot of money in Nevada, but Curtis explains why its still possible.

Colorado 2016.

This is the one that can make Cal fans salivate.

Colorado finished 4-9 overall and 1-8 in the conference in 2015, and was picked to finish dead last in the Pac-12 South in the 2016 preseason poll.

But the Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South and were ranked No. 8 in the country when they played in the 2016 conference championship game.

Like Cal’s 2018 team, Colorado had a returning starting quarterback and a no-nonsense running back (Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay, Cal’s Patrick Laird) who picked up a lot of yardage on the ground and was an outstanding receiver out of the backfield.

With 10 offensive starters back, Cal has more scoring potential than Colorado did, and although the Bears’ defense can’t measure up to what the Buffs had, Wilcox is not going to put a feeble defense on the field.

  • What is Wilcox’s mindset heading into Year 2 as HC and how is it different from year one?

Still, Wilcox acknowledged things are different beginning his second training camp as head coach instead of the first. He said most of what he learned in his first year revolves around intangibles, and has placed more of a focus on those areas this season.

”There are just a lot of conversations that you have in this role with a lot of people – the players, recruits, families, staff, support staff, administration, donors,” Wilcox said. “There are a lot of decisions to be made. You have to be in the moment. Those conversations and decisions that you are making are really important, even if they seem small.”

“Justin Wilcox was a breath of fresh air there at Cal. They went from throwing the ball all over the yard and trying to win games by outscoring teams, to a nice balance on offense and a defense that kind of turned the corner in November. By the end of the year, you could tell they knew what the hell was going on – and that’s the first big step. The next is getting players, and then it all comes together.”

”Cal is becoming a tough job as that division keeps getting better, but bringing in Justin Wilcox was good for the athletic department and their base. He’s a local guy who wants to be there long enough to build something consistent. That doesn’t mean Sonny Dykes didn’t have some legit complaints about the school, but you have to want to be at a place like Cal or it won’t work.”


We transitioned from strength-heavy workouts to speed and explosive work. We’re already starting to see it pay off. Guys like Paris Austin and Darius McNeill are jumping more. Even though he’s 7-3, you can see Connor Vanover jumping more. We’re seeing Justice Sueing get up higher than he has in a while. A ball came off the rim and Justice came from the weak side, grabbed it with both hands for a tip dunk right over someone. You’re seeing that explosiveness as the guys are jumping and dunking more.