Friends of Write For Cal give their Season Predictions
Presented by Dokkaebier
Cal Football’s season begins in about 48 hours time. So we decided to ask our cool friends about how they think the season will go.
Steve Kroner (SF Chronicle)
Season Prediction: 8-5 (Including Bowl Win)
Because so much is unknown about this team -- how the QB will fare, how good the WRs can be, how good Brett Johnson can be in his return after a year absence, et al. -- it's hard to make even a semi-definitive prediction. If all of the unknowns turn into positives, 8-5 likely is underselling. If most of the unknowns turn into negatives, 8-5 probably is overselling. That, as they say, is why they play the games.
Grant Marek (SF Gate)
Season Prediction: 8-4
No one expects Cal to be very good this year (the media poll had them 9th?), which is exactly when Cal ends up being pretty good historically.
And I think the reason they end up being good is Jack Plummer. He won’t do anything special, he’ll stay in the pocket, and he’ll mostly throw underneath, but he’ll move the chains on third downs — which will be enough to have a surprise season with a solid OL and this defense.
I think The Big Unit (Brett Johnson) has a huge year but not huge numbers — he’s going to eat up OL attention and clog up the running lanes, and instead opens things up for the rest of Cal’s front 7 to get a lot of pressure.
I also think Ott does some really special things.
I also also also think Stanfurd sucks.
Ed Quinn (Former Cal Football & Rugby, Current President on BET’s The Oval)
Season Prediction: 9-3
Look, I’m just gonna be honest. I am an eternal optimist when it comes to Cal Football. Some say I myopic, others say I'm delusional. But after an entire lifetime of being a Cal fan, I see it as my only option... and my only salvation. That being said, I am extremely fired up for the 2022 season. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I got some opportunities to hang out with Coach Wilcox in the off season, and to hang around the facilities and the staff. I love the energy. Cal Football was in a phenomenal place in 2019 coming off that great bowl win over Illinois. Covid was an unmitigated disaster that not only cost us the 2020 season but set us back in the 2021 season.(Only a Berkeley Native such as myself can truly understand the bureaucratic disfunction that was bestowed upon our program.) But all that is behind us now. The 2 things I am most excited about: the Defense, and Jack Plummer. I won't bore you with my hot take on the defense, a lot of people a lot more informed than I am have done great breakdowns on their talent, depth, and development. But I do want to pump some sunshine about Jack Plummer. One of the great laments of long suffering Cal Fans has always been the "what-ifs". Especially around the QB situations. What if Joe Kapp hadn’t blown Troy Taylor’s redshirt season. What if Coach Gilbertson hadn’t blown Tom Brady‘s recruitment. What if Coach Holmoe hadn’t blown Kyle Bowler’s redshirt season. What if Aaron Rodgers had played in 2005. And what if Jared Goff had had any semblance of a defense.
With Chase Garber‘s playing for the Raiders , it was a precarious position for our team. We have a phenomenal defense on paper, but "what if" we couldn't find a pro style quarterback to fit Coach Bill Musgrave‘s offense. Well, I think Jack Plummer is a perfect fit. A big Pro style pocket passer who has never had the benefit of a real run game to set up the passing lanes. His receivers may be untested but they are wildly talented. I’d love to believe we have a breakthrough season. 9-3. Another good bowl game. And a lot of momentum heading into The B1G in 2024. 💙💛
Roxy Bernstein (ESPN, Pac-12 Network, Oakland A’s, 95.7 The Game & Sirius XM)
Season Prediction: 8-4
Really bummed for Brett Johnson and creates massive hole up front defensively. The defense will still be really good. I think Xavier Carlton has a chance to be a real breakout star in this defense. Wilcox and Sirmon scheme fits him perfectly. Offensively, they will be better than people think. Plummer is really good and is suited to run Musgrave's offense. Ott has star potential!
Season Prediction: 8-5
Plummer has a better season than Garbers, and Musgrave is more consistent as a play caller with a true pro-style QB. If Plummer goes down for whatever reason, Mendoza goes in before Millner and Johnson. Ott will lead the team in rushing yards (not necessarily carries). Long shot but gimme Ashton Hayes to break a long run vs UC Davis for a TD. OL has better play than the past number of years and we’re not as terrified if a starter goes down to injury. Ben Coleman has a crazy good season and declares for the draft. Sioape Vatikani contributes and is solid. Terry and Latu get more targets than our top 2 WRs. Hunter and Sturdivant do their thing, but Mavin Anderson comes on to the scene in a big way! Fan favorite of the team, and je has a better career than Remigio. Christakos becomes a secret weapon in the red zone (at least to start until teams catch on). Grant Daley contributes the most out of any walk on. Defensively, our front 7 is our strongest unit. We’re top 3 in the PAC12 in run defense, and we have the most sacks in the Wilcox era. Ethan Saunders goes crazy in a number of games then disappears in a few games. We play with 2 down linemen a lot because of how stacked our LB rooms are. Our CBs are our weakest unit on the team, but Lu will flash. Earby will have to contribute and will look solid for a true frosh. Wouldn’t be surprised if Gamble got benched at some point. Our safeties mask a lot of the growing pains at corner, and they’ll take advantage of good DL play with turnovers. Longhetto will hit a 55 yard FG at some point. Sheahan will be solid but not superb. I predict one catastrophic ST moment during the season. Overall, our team is young and unproven but also deeper than it’s ever been which will keep us strong through the season. We beat UC Davis but don’t cover the spread. We beat UNLV easily. We lose a one score game late vs ND. We pummel Arizona. Wazzu is a toss up, but we win close. We beat Colorado. We beat UDub in a close one. We go on a 3 game skid… Bears win the Big Game in Berkeley with ease to bounce back. We give UCLA a heck of a fight but lose. With that said… We’ll win one to two games we shouldn’t but unfortunately we’ll lose one to two game we shouldn’t. The season feels like 2019 and we cap it off with a big bowl game win. We go into 2023 as a very serious contender to win the PAC and advance to the Rose Bowl. A Covid season does not kill our momentum. Unfortunately, Iosefa never plays for the Bears again, Patu transfers, and B Johnson medically retires. Plummer declares no matter how good or bad of a season we have. We get a middle upper recruiting class. Wilcox name gets thrown around again for open coaching jobs, but he stays. Cal gets invited to the Big Ten.