Rating the Bears: Cal at Oregon

The highest ratings all year, but moral victories don't amount to much in Year 5.

The good news: these are the highest ratings we’ve seen since last year’s win over Oregon and the second-highest ratings since the start of the 2020 season. The bad news: Cal still lost. Taking the lead against the top Pac-12 North division contender is an encouraging outcome early in a rebuilding process. But it’s Year 5. And Cal is 1-5 with slim hopes for bowl eligibility.

Rating the Bears

Well, well, well. Look who earned the highest scores of the week. Despite an offsides on the opening kickoff and a bunch of holding penalties on punt returns, special teams earned the highest scores of the week. Everyone else earned respectable scores, except arguably a run defense that had difficulty containing Travis Dye (who has now run for over 5ypc in each of his four games against the Bears).

Despite the rough season, our expectations of a win over Colorado have climbed slightly thanks to their atrocious season (although most of those predictions probably came in before Colorado throttled Arizona).

Ratings Comparison

The Bears are 2-10 against Oregon since we started this series, so Friday’s scores fare comparatively well.

Most categories fell in the top-three, so this was right up there with the 2010 game as the best loss to Oregon in recent memory. That one had more polarized scores, however, with brilliant defensive ratings and lousy offensive ratings.

Compared to the rest of the Wilcox Era, it was an above average but unspectacular performance.

It was a bright spot on Ragle’s resume, at least.


Alright let’s hand out some awards.

Old Blues

First, lowest scores of the week.

I’m genuinely surprised I had the lowest scores of the week. Despite the somewhat negative tone of this piece, I actually enjoyed watching this game. As much as one can for a loss, at least. In fact, on that third down with 10 seconds left in the 4th I paused for a moment to reflect on how invested I had become in the game and how much I genuinely cared about the outcome: my heart was in my throat and I hadn’t moved in the last 20-ish minutes. Like many of us, I’ve watched a ton of bad Cal football over the last decade. And despite a 1-4 start, I still can get sucked into the frenzy of Cal fandom. Although that might change if we lose to Colorado this week…

Sunshine Pumpers

Next we have the highest scores of the week. The lead ballot will be a surprise to no one.

The Voice of Reason

Finally, we have those whose ratings were closest to average.

Next, let’s look over the comments. Did the enthusiasm of taking a top-ten Oregon down to the final play outweigh the disappointment of our fifth loss of the season?


Any comments on the gameday experience?

  • BTown85 - Chose NOT to jinx the Bears by attending the game…..maybe I shouldn’t WATCH anymore, either…..

  • TD_24 - Autzen looked loud. The boo birds were funny. The announcers were idiots.

  • Goldenone - A very raucous crowd that we kept silent for significant parts of the game…

  • Heyalumnigo - I watched the game much longer than I thought I would. I figured I would've turned it off at halftime due to the deficit.

  • BearsWillEndMyLife - Enjoyed sandwiches at home to help the local elementary school. Got tired of ESPN talking about Thibodeaux and all things Oregon.

  • Fuzzy Wuzzy - I seriously considered not making the 40 minute drive up to Carlsbad to watch the game hosted by SD Cal alums, because...the Wazzu game. I figured the replacement nuts and bolts holding the Not-so-sturdy Golden Bears' crutches together were being held up in the mire of the global supply chain woes. However, they apparently found some duck tape (pun intended) and held those crutches together until they collapsed at the 2 yard line. So I'm glad I made the drive to see the team fight to the end of surprisingly close game.

  • Old Bear 71 - Ah Me. I'm jaded. i enjoyed the game. I enjoyed 59:58 of it. The last two seconds not so much. BUT My Bears hung with Oregon and outplayed them for three quarters. That I enjoyed. That experience makes me keep coming back. the loss? Yeah, I don't like losses, but I still prefer a clean program populated by Student athletes, rather than the best teams that can be bought, or players slipped in under shady academic practices. Am I upset? No, just reality. If players only desire football as a major, sans an academic component, they should, by all means, go to the factories of the SEC or B1G, where the ability to count past ten is waived for admission. They will get good food, a nice job in some alum's business (maybe) and a shot at the League.
    Give me a "C!"
    Give me an "A!"
    Give me an "L!"
    And Please, GIVE ME A WIN!
    I'll be back, chips, guacamole, and Nachos at the ready!

What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?

  • Sacman701 - Dinked and dunked fairly well but missed a bunch of stuff downfield. Pass pro was ragged and got called for holding repeatedly. Garbers has good pocket awareness, mobility, and improv skills but he just isn't very accurate downfield.

  • Haasbear - Repeatedly leaving Craig one-on-one with Kayvon was insane and likely lost us the game.

  • Heyalumnigo - Better than I thought it would be. Chase missed at least a couple of throws that would've ended up TDs. One was underthrown, thought it was on the run. Many throws had to get out early due to our OL not being able to block.

  • 1988goldenbear - Good Garbers is really good. Bad Garbers is quite bad. We had a lot of Good Garbers tonight, but not enough.

  • Old Bear 71 - I am sorry to see that Chase still has bounce passes in his arsenal.

What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?

  • Goldenone - Acceptable if not spectacular. However, couldn't get key conversions at the goal line in the last minute of the game.

  • Sacman701 - Pretty good. Understandably more effective when they expected us to throw, but 36 for 155 against a good defense is nothing to sneeze at.

  • BearsWillEndMyLife - Best we've looked all year. Our o-line dominated for about three and a half quarters. All the backs looked shifty and powerful. The problem is, the game is four quarters long, and we abandoned the run late/our o-line lost confidence with their horrific pass blocking.

  • Fuzzy Wuzzy - Solid, both main backs contributed for over a 100 yards, plus Garbers. They ran hard, and we saw quite a bit of fight.

  • Oskioftarth - Offensive line was winning the battle of the line of scrimmage. Whenever we ran straight at Thibodeaux, he was less effective. Should have done that at the end of the game.

What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?

  • Goldenone - Managed to avoid giving up the deep balls most of the game. Gamble played a good game at corner.

  • Sacman701 - Mostly kept plays in front of them, but had particular trouble with screens. Pass rush wasn't great, although we did get that key strip sack at the end of the first half.

  • BearsWillEndMyLife - Not much to worry about the way Brown was throwing short and missing easy throws. Still, our tackling was iffy all game.

  • Old Bear 71 - Good

  • Haasbear - Better. A few absolute dimes beat us but we were much more sound.

What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?

  • TD_24 - Travis Dye still running and breaking tackles as we speak.

  • Sacman701 - Here's where we lost the game. We kept getting gashed by that pint-sized back.

  • Heyalumnigo - Oregon should've stuck with the run more. It seemed like they got away from it in the middle of the game, allowing us to make some stops.

  • 1988goldenbear - Gave up a sh!t-ton of yards to Dye. Tackling was once again a problem.

What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?

  • Goldenone - Not noticeable, which is a good thing.

  • BTown85 - ST didn’t lose the game! ST didn’t lose the game!!!

  • Haasbear - We made all our extra points!

  • Heyalumnigo - We made a FG and 2 XPs!!  No bad snaps or kicks.

  • 1988goldenbear - Nice FG by Dario, but why were all the kickoffs so short? Coverage cost us too.

What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?

  • TD_24 - Coaches rally just dropped the ball in the 4th. They played passive defense, passive offense, and Musgrave suddenly forgot how to call a game.

  • Goldenone - Coaching was aright, but not spectacular. It was nice to see Wilcox walking around without crutches.

  • RememberTheCalamo - This team is not the team that lost to Nevada or WSU. It's the coaches' fault if the team comes un- or under-prepared.

  • Sacman701 - The game plan was sound, and the team obviously hasn't quit on the coaches, which seemed to be a possibility after the terrible game against Wazzu.

  • Heyalumnigo - Didn't like two play calls at the end of the game. The sneak and the last play. I think the last play was bunch formation on the right side. Should've assumed they were going to blitz.

  • 1988goldenbear - Musgrave did a great job for the most part, except when the game was on the line and it seemed like he got scared to call aggressive plays. Who knows. I don't necessarily thing we would have made a 2-point conversion at the end, but it sure would've been nice to have the opportunity.

  • Oskioftarth - The first attempt at 4th & 4 in the 2nd felt doomed. Cal was not executing except for Garbers scrambles. 60% chance we hit a 47 yd field goal and go up 10-3. Didn’t like the call at the time.

What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?

  • AlohaBear - Despite 5 losses, this team is very watchable. This was a good game, the most enjoyable of the year to watch. I wish the result was different, but it was a good viewing experience.

  • BTown85 - Did almost everything we needed to to get a big upset on the road (forced TOs, didn’t give the ball up, drove downfield when we had to). The margin between Winning and losing was razor thin, and we got nicked…..

  • Haasbear - Very sad that our best performance of the year sinks us to 1-5.

  • BearsWillEndMyLife - Good teams find ways to win games, and bad teams find ways to lose games. We are not the former. It says a lot a out our entire program when our best game all year BY FAR is still a loss where we shot ourselves in the foot so many times we bled out from the ankles.

  • Fuzzy Wuzzy - Great effort. I don't think anyone expected this to be that close.

  • Oskioftarth - Cal played well against a pretty good, but nowhere near playoff-caliber Oregon squad.