Best case: California football falls to the voodoo of the Palouse

Life lesson—good things never last. Ever.

With the delay of Pac-12 Football in 2020, Write for California started the fall by covering a mock season. In place of our standard game previews, we will start our pregame “coverage” with fictitious contrasting best- and worst-case scenarios for each game (inspired by Ye Olde ESPN Pac-12 Blog) had COVID-19 never cursed us. The week will culminate in a video game simulation on Saturday (with commentary by Rob Hwang and Trace Travers) and a game recap by Nick Kranz on Monday.

With the resumption of Fall Sports, the future of this series is… TBD. It’s not all too popular (can’t even get the staff here to read it) and my time might be better used putting together bowl projections rather than having to put together two weekly posts because we’re so damn understaffed.

There might be some trouble cooking up in Pullman. After three years of the California defense magically having the antidote to neutralize Mike Leach’s Washington State offense, the Mad Pirate fled in fear to the southeast. In the ensuing power vacuum, Nick Rolovich sailed from Hawai’i to the worst state in the nation and replaced the Air Raid with the Run and Shoot.

And despite installing a new offensive scheme and trusting a defensive coordinator who’s new to the Power 5, the Cougars were notch the first big win of the Rolovich era.

The Wazzu offense somehow looked unstoppable against the storied Cal defense. The receivers made the right on-the-fly adjustments to set up the perfect mismatches against the Bears and the Leach-picked quarterbacks were more than capable of delivering the ball through the air. California tried to adjust by replacing big-boy Tevin Paul at linebacker with the svelte-r Ben Moos to help in pass defense, but that just opened up more running opportunities for Max Borghi. The sole silver lining was that—by virtue of all the passing—Daniel Scott was able to pick off the ball once.

The Bears were able to stay in the game thanks to the struggling, rebuilding defense. Up against their rookie coordinator Jake Dickert, veteran Bill Musgrave orchestrated a Masterclass in offenive playcalling. Not quite as flashy, but the game turned into an offensive shootout that reminded us of the Bear Raid days. The passing game thrived against an ailing Wazzu secondary and Nikko Remigio put in a herculean effort to try to bring a W to California, but it just wasn’t enough.

2020 Cal best-case season

UNLV: W 34–13
TCU: W 27–20
Cal Poly: W 45–17
Utah: W 27–17
Washington State: L 34–28
Oregon State:
Arizona State:
UC L.A.:

Win-loss: 4–1

This is a completely fictional account of the 2020 California football season had it transpired without COVID-19. All commentary, criticism, etc. of any player, coach, or figure is based on this total hypothetical and is not an analysis or indictment of the actual individual.