The 2020 college football season is setting up to be the most anticipated start to any season of organized sports in some time as it will represent a return to normalcy for most of America. The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellations of winter postseasons and spring seasons entirely so we’re left with the next biggest sport still on schedule to start as of right now: college football in August.
With that, Caesars Palace put out their win projections for the Pac-12 during the 2020 season, with the California Golden Bears sitting with a projected record of 7-5 for the year.
Today, we’ll examine just how they got to that total and give my honest opinion on their schedule’s projected wins and losses in 2020.
Week 1 — @ UNLV
I know, I know, this one could go the way of a shocking victory for the Runnin’ Rebels. I just don’t see it that way. Should be an easy victory and Chase Garbers shouldn’t see past the third quarter in this one — 1-0.
Week 2 — vs TCU
An intriguing out-of-conference matchup brings the Horned Frogs to Berkeley. TCU has a great defense but should ultimately be plagued with quarterback questions unless they can get it figured out and Max Duggan can present as an actual competent downfield thrower. I don’t buy Duggan as that kind of guy, yet, though — 2-0.
Week 3 — vs Cal Poly
Easy, gimme the dub — 3-0.
Week 5 — vs Utah
A week off to prepare for Cameron Rising or Jake Bentley at quarterback on a completely revamped and different offense. Utah will live or die with their new offense as their defense should once again be stiff. However, I’m not sold on either Rising or Bentley just yet (could change my mind after a few weeks into the season, though). And for that reason — give me another win — 4-0.
Week 6 — @ Washington State
Head coach Nick Rolovich doesn’t necessarily have to rebuild the team to get a competent throwing offense that he wants to run. Add in a strong secondary and arguably one of the conference’s top three running backs in Max Borghi, and this one presents as a game that Cal would have to score about 45 to win. For conservative reasons, I’m taking a loss here — 4-1.
Week 7 — @ USC
Sorry, USC is my pick to win the Pac-12 this year and Kedon Slovis is my pick for one of the QBs invited to New York for the Heisman. Take the L, focus on the rest of the Pac-12 — 4-2.
Week 8 — vs Oregon
Garbers better have the best game of his life throwing the ball because the best secondary in college football lines up on the other side of the field when you take on the Ducks. Add in what should also be an experienced duo of true freshman linebackers as well and this defense presents maybe one of the nation’s top units overall — 4-3.
Week 9 — @ Oregon State
A promising season gets back on the right track with a win despite what I feel about head coach Jonathan Smith and his cast of characters in 2020. Oregon State is bringing in a bevy of transfer talent but has to rebuild with a new quarterback and the loss of Isaiah Hodgins at wide receiver. Cal gets back in the win column — 5-3.
Week 10 — vs Washington
If Oregon doesn’t have the best secondary (they do) — then it belongs potentially to Washington, or at least second best in the Pac-12. It also doesn’t help that their new head coach is the man who brought up that secondary into what it is today and I just don’t see this Huskies team not overcoming any sort of lacking they may have at the quarterback position in 2020 — 5-4.
Week 11 — @ Arizona State
Garbers vs Jayden Daniels has must-see TV written all over it. The Sun Devils are extremely talented but have to replace Eno Benjamin and Brandon Aiyuk on offense. This one can go either way, in my opinion, as these two teams likely present an evenly-matched outing — gimme the Bears though — 6-4.
Week 13 — vs Stanford
I wouldn’t feel right publishing this and saying a loss here. Also, at this time in their careers, I think the better coach is Justin Wilcox and the better quarterback is Garbers than David Shaw and Davis Mills. Of course, all of this could change by the time we get to the end of November but on paper right now — take the L Stanford — 7-4.
Week 14 — vs UCLA
This one is a win. Simple as that. 8-4.
Now, no win-loss projection or prediction for all sorts of teams and games is going to be spot on but I do see where Vegas got their 7-win prediction for Cal this year as I’d have them right around that 7-8 win plateau. I’d say 7.5 as their win total and make my money when people take the under.
What do you have as Cal’s record in 2020 with that schedule above?