There are no more non-conference football games on the horizon for the 2020 college football season in the Pac-12. That means those games for the California Golden Bears against UNLV, TCU and Cal Poly are off the table. That leaves them nine Pac-12 games, starting on September 26 against Utah on the slate.
With the Pac-12 announcing a Pac-12-only schedule for fall sports including football, let’s hit the books to see what we can expect from the remaining games on the Cal schedule.
Using ESPN’s FPI, we’ll showcase the Bears win percentage against their remaining foes.
Sat, Sept 26 vs Utah — 47.5%
Sat, Oct 3 @ Washington State — 53.2%
Sat, Oct 10 @ USC — 14.1%
Sat, Oct 17 vs Oregon — 16.2%
Sat, Oct 24 @ Oregon State — 56.9%
Sat, Oct 31 vs Washington — 47.8%
Sat, Nov 7 @ Arizona State — 47.8%
Sat, Nov 21 vs Stanford — 52.9%
Fri, Nov 27 vs UCLA — 66.0%
ESPN gives Cal a 0.0% chance of winning out and a 0.6% chance of winning the Pac-12 with those results above. Their simulations have Cal going 4.0-5.0 and does note that their remaining strength of schedule ranks 28th-hardest in the country.
So, if the games against USC and Oregon are losses, do we really expect them to drop five games in Pac-12 play this year? I can see a slip-up here or there, but I hardly doubt there’s a losing record in that schedule above. Color me crazy, but I think the ‘season-opener’ against Utah would be a win and that game against Arizona State would be the fifth win on that schedule above, with Stanford and UCLA still on the horizon.