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Roundtables: Ranked and Undefeated

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Haven’t felt this in a while!

Idaho State v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

WE ARE RANKED. Should we be higher or lower? Who should we we definitely be above?

Joshua Morgan: I’m as happy as anyone else, but I still personally don’t think we should be ranked (yet). I think a win against Oregon makes us officially a good football team and deserving of a Top-25 rank, but I think that this week we should have remained outside of the rankings. Because of this, I don’t think they deserved to be any higher.

The second part to this question is obviously targeted at a certain team. With that said, it is still completely ridiculous that we are behind BYU. I get that they beat a Top-10 team on the road, but we beat them on the road! Makes no sense to me. If I did the rankings, Cal and BYU would both be just barely outside of the rankings.

Nick Kranz: If you’re a pure resume ranker, solely judging on the quality of teams beaten, Cal should 100% be ranked higher than the following teams: Michigan, Wisconsin, Miami, Oregon, BYU, Michigan State, and Mississippi State. All of those teams have losses without impressive wins to offset those losses, while Cal has their win over BYU. You could reasonably argue that Cal should be ranked 17th or thereabouts.

Of course, resume ranking this early in the season is somewhere between difficult and impossible - the entire conceit rests upon the idea that you can accurately assess the value of any given win and loss. When everybody has only played 3 or 4 games and many of those are against meaningless opposition, we don’t really know who is good or bad. Our conception of how impressive BYU is has swung wildly from week to week as we add more data, for just one obvious example.

So sure, rank Cal. Somebody has to be in that 20-25 range. And we’re blissfully a few years into the era in which the AP and coach’s polls are virtually meaningless. But to the extent that we have objective measures this early in the season, it’s tough to say that Cal has proven that they are truly at that level yet.

Piotr T Le: In my heart we should be above BYU. But rationally speaking simple transitive property is a terrible way to judge a team. If it was Cal beating a #8 BYU? We’d be way too low, but this feels... unearned? Oregon as Avi stated in his article, is the proving ground of whether we belong in the Top 25 or this is a fluke of a small sample size. I think we can show that we belong.

Rob Hwang: I’m with Piotr here. Sadly, transitive property doesn't apply here. At the same time we’re getting the respect for beating that BYU team in Provo, along with UNC taking down Pitt at home. It’s a start. The real criticism of votes will come after the Oregon game. If we were to win, would we be vaulted into the top 20 and Oregon out of the rankings? I have my doubts, but let’s go out and get the W first.

First game as a ranked team is against another ranked team at home. How are we feeling going ranked into the Oregon game?

Joshua Morgan: I know I just said Cal shouldn’t be ranked yet, but that doesn’t mean I think that they aren’t a Top-25 team in the country. I just think their resume doesn’t support the ranking yet. Like we have said all year, this team has a wide range of outcomes, and they very well could or could not be deserving of a ranking.

However, I actually feel pretty confident going into this Oregon game and think we have a real shot at coming out with a W. This game will truly define this Cal team and even the state of the program as a whole. So yeah, I’m nervous, but don’t we all miss being legitimately nervous for any non-Stanfurd game?

Piotr T Le: Nervous. There is a lot of unknowns about the offense and the film from the Oregon game gives me fits since Herbert is the only elite QB in the Pac-12 and has been able to play very well through long stretches of games. We won’t shut him out like we have previous 3 QBs, so it’ll come down to the offense to keep pace. The defense will do what they can to contain the Oregon offense, but it will be up to McGarbers to lead Cal to victory. I still think we’ll lose narrowly.

Rob Hwang: I’m never a fan of playing your first game as a ranked team against another ranked team. Especially with our squad which is so young at skill positions. Hopefully this lights a fire under the team wanting to be ranked higher and wanting more respect as a team. If that plus their discipline on the field shows up, Oregon could be punched in the face starting at kick off. It will be very interesting to see how the Ducks come out after that self-inflicted loss against Stanford, along with how the Bears come out of a bye being ranked. Consider me intrigued.