Final Pac-12 Power Rankings: Parting is such sweet sorrow
Ending an eight-year epic. (Which I'm realizing sounds so much more obnoxious if you think I'm using that phrase to describe my own departure.)
Leland: Buckle in because we’ve got a long article today. That’s in part the reason why this is so late. The other reason why this was a tough article to write will (hopefully) be apparent by the end of aforementioned unreasonably long article.
Bowl season and the national championship have come and passed, meaning the 2021 college football season and the Pac-12 Power Rankings are ready to be bid adieu.
In the Power Rankings, we rank the conference teams by overall on-field performance and program morale—particularly skewed towards more recent weeks. Grading this conference is going to be extra fun since half of us were too bad to make it to a bowl and the half that did go bowling managed to lose that game!
LA Bowl: Utah State def. Oregon State, 24–13
Alamo Bowl: #16 Oklahoma def. #14 Oregon, 47–32
Las Vegas Bowl: Wisconsin def. Arizona State, 20–13
Sun Bowl: Central Michigan def. Washington State, 24–21
Originally scheduled to play the Miami Hurricanes
Rose Bowl: #6 Ohio State def. #11 Utah, 48–45
Last-minute COVID cancellation: UCLA
No bowl: Arizona, California, Colorado, Stanfurd, USC, Washington
Ruey Yen: Sure, the entire Pac-12 going 0–5 (0–6 if you count the UCLA situation as a forfeit) in bowl games is not a good look. Then again, this situation also means that Cal may get the opportunity to make a big jump in 2022 by just making “reasonable” improvements across the board.
Nick Kranz: I don’t have the energy to look this up and try to make an objective judgment, but I suspect this is the worst Pac-12 football season since I’ve been closely following the conference. That was probably true before the conference lost every bowl game on the schedule, but the post-season only solidified the idea.
Berkelium97: After looking over the final records of these Pac-12 teams and revisiting their schedules over the course of the year, I’m seeing a gleaming light in Utah and nothing but mediocrity and worse across the rest of the landscape. Interestingly, each team had some stellar highs and crushing lows over the year—enough for optimists in each fanbase to find something pleasant to reflect upon this offseason and something for the pessimists to keep them awake at night this offseason. In my final rankings, I’m rating how each fanbase should feel when they look back at the 2021 season.
Christopher_h: The Pac-12 didn’t do particularly well in bowls if you just look at the records, but so many of these teams are missing star (NFL-bound) players for their lower-tier bowl games that I don’t really think it’s fair to judge the conference on bowl record alone. Most of the games were close and I think having those NFL-bound players would have been the difference in a number of these match-ups.
Last week: 1
Nick Kranz (1): The best team in the conference by a country mile—in what many thought might be another rebuilding year. Should be heavy favorites in the South next year, if not the entire conference.
Berkelium97 (1): If they had figured out the QB situation earlier in the year, this may have been a playoff team. This was, by a huge margin, the best team in the conference and they should continue to carry that title until someone in the Pac-12 can prove otherwise.
Christopher_h (1): As already mentioned, Utah was the best team in the conference in a rebuilding year. Their offensive and defensive lines were the best in the conference by the end of the year and they’re pretty much all freshmen or redshirt freshmen. QB Cam Rising was solid, RB Tavion Thomas is an NFL talent, NFL-caliber TE Brant Kuithe returns, and their offense overall was surprisingly explosive this year for a defensive-minded team. Ohio State took advantage of Utah’s lack of depth in the secondary (Utah converted one of their 500+ yard RBs, Micah Bernard, to cornerback for his first game on defense for the Utes and he played both ways with a fantastic receiving touchdown in the first quarter), which accounts for the absurd receiving yards OSU’s receivers racked up. (Micah Bernard and Malone Mataele combined to give up 22 catches on 22 targets for 389 yards and 5 TDs.) They will need to develop their freshmen defensive backs, but their secondary coach has a long history of developing NFL DBs, so it’s not all too implausible to imagine. All eyes will be on USC, but Utah is still the team to beat. They’ll be even scarier with more experience by the time Cal plays the Utes again in 2023.
Last week: 2
Nick Kranz (2): Clearly the most talented team in the conference—and yet finished a distant second behind Utah and constantly played below their own ability level on both sides of the ball. I don’t know if Dan Lanning will be able to recruit to the same level as Mario Cristobal, but if he can do a better job developing and deploying the talent Cristobal brought on campus, Oregon should romp. But they also should’ve romped this year, so who knows?
Berkelium97 (2): Another year of QB issues and inability to take advantage of their conference-leading talent. Sure, the Ohio State win was nice, but the lasting memory of Oregon in 2021 will be getting outscored 123–49 in their three late-season losses. Oregon had no answers for Utah or Oklahoma. Will the new coaching regime be able to recruit well? Absolutely. Will they be able to do anything with all that talent? We’ll see.
Christopher_h (2): This was a match-up that I think would have ended differently if Oregon had their star players. Missing DE Kayvon Thibodeaux and NT Popo Aumavae, they were unable to generate pressure on the quarterback the way they usually would and their freshmen corners were exploited. They were missing pretty much all of their starting receivers, but Oregon started to get their offense going in the second half (and RB Travis Dye was pretty much the lone bright spot for Oregon all game). Given all the players out for Oregon, this should have been a blowout if Oklahoma were really as good as advertised. Next year, they will have younger talent on defense and they will probably need to look to a young (but highly touted) quarterback—and I think that will determine their success.
Last week: 6
Nick Kranz (3): Arizona State had one of the most forgettable eight-win seasons I’ve ever not noticed. 7–0 against FCS teams and teams below .500, and 1–5 vs. the actual good teams on their schedule, with only two of those games decided by single digits. A talented, solid, boring, anonymous team.
Berkelium97 (5): This year should have been a big step forward for ASU under Herm Edwards, but they were plagued with turnovers, penalties, and a surprising regression for QB Jayden Daniels. Eight wins is nice, I guess—but this team could have achieved much, much more against this down Pac-12. At least ASU fans can be thankful that the NCAA apparently didn’t care at all that the team spent the 2020–21 offseason repeatedly breaking Covid protocols–that’s probably the biggest win in 2021.
Christopher_h (4): Honestly, what happened to ASU? They should have been a dark horse contender for the Pac-12, but I feel like their coaching staff has been absolutely mailing it in the past year. Without star running backs Rachaad White (NFL Draft prep) and Chip Trayanum (disgruntled transfer), ASU didn’t seem to have much of a game plan for Wisconsin other than “Well, I guess Jayden Daniels can still run the ball.” Speaking of Jayden Daniels, he reminds me of a slimmer version of Khalil Tate. He’s a phenomenal athlete, but the coaching staff has absolutely squandered his talent. What else could you call it when a quarterback looks way better as a true freshman (17 TD/2 INT) than as a junior (10 TD/10 INT)? He’s got better talent around him and yet he’s playing worse. I think, like Tate, he might find second life in the NFL at another position, but who knows what he could have developed into with some better QB coaching.
Last week: 3
Nick Kranz (5): I’ll be fascinated to see how Jake Dickert settles in at Wazzu. He did a good job with their defense, which in some ways may have been the strength of the team. But it’s going to be a transition after years of offensively minded coaches—and I can’t help but think there will be some transition costs.
Berkelium97 (4): Like Utah, this was a team that figured things out a little too late. If not for a now-inexplicable blowout loss to USC, they could have taken the Pac-12 North title.
Christopher_h (3): The heavy rain in the bowl game did Washington State no favors with the pass-happy offense they like to run—and they didn’t have RB Max Borghi or Deon McIntosh to fall back on. With Rolovich gone and Jayden de Laura out with an injury at halftime, I was finally able to really root for Washington State and QB Victor Gabalis, who did pretty well despite the lack of experience. Washington State was missing their starting tackles (one for the NFL Draft, the other to injury) and their edges were abused all game. Still, Victor Gabalis nearly led a huge comeback and a diving fourth-down catch by WR Joey Hobert came inches short as Wazzu also came inches short of the comeback, outsourcing CMU 21–3 in the second half to lose 24–21. This was just a confluence of bad luck for Wazzu this game and I don’t think it’s fair to judge them too much for this loss, as they were still one of the better teams in the Pac-12 this year.
Last week: 4
Nick Kranz (4): Maybe the best offense in the conference—and definitely the best QB/RB combo with DTR and Zach Charbonnet giving opponents fits. But the defense was still pretty bad and UCLA is losing more talent than maybe any other team in the conference. If the high point of the Chip Kelly era is 8–4 and embarrassing communication during a cancelled bowl game, I can’t imagine UCLA fans are super thrilled.
Berkelium97 (3): The Bruins rode a dominant run game and a surprisingly effective DTR to a solid season. Other than the loss to ASU, all their losses came to teams with 10 wins. In isolation, it was a solid year. But UCLA fans have been waiting for years for Chip Kelly to do something with this team and this is the best he can do? That’s probably why UCLA still hasn’t extended his contract, which expires this season…
Christopher_h (5): I bet on them to beat NC State, but is anyone really shocked that Chip Kelly and UCLA pulled the ultimate… uncool move to NC State? I can’t imagine how angry I’d be if I had made flight plans, hotel and car reservations, purchased bowl tickets, etc., all for the opposing coach to do my school dirty at the last possible minute like this. You can probably get your bowl tickets refunded, but that’s about it. I know I am biased in my blurbs against UCLA, but they’ve just become more odious with each passing year. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson is set to return to UCLA, presumably because he didn’t get the NFL Draft grade he expected. I hope Wilcox can complete the CA trifecta and finally figure out this UCLA offense because I hate when Cal loses to these guys. The young defense looked promising and late in the season we saw the defensive stars of the future.
Last week: 5
Nick Kranz (6): The people’s Pac-12 North champs, Oregon State was maybe the most fun team in the conference, with an efficient offense built behind a stout line and interesting play calling trying to outrun a defense that mostly struggled. Three of those starting linemen may elect to move on, but I’d wager that enough talent will be back on offense to keep the Beavs intriguing.
Berkelium97 (6): At 5-2 following a huge upset win over Utah, the Beavs looked poised to make a run at the Pac-12 North. Following consecutive, confounding losses to Cal and Colorado, the dream was dead. Smith has steadily turned OSU from abysmal to solid, but it’s hard not to feel some disappointment when pondering what could have been for the Beavs this season.
Christopher_h (7): I just want to point out that their bowl game featured a vomiting “Jimmy Camel” (Kimmel) mascot. Utah State running back Calvin Tyler Jr. actually left Oregon State after being buried on the depth chart for 4 years, but he got the better of this matchup. When Utah State dominated Washington State on both the offensive and defensive lines to start the season, I thought it was a bad omen for Wazzu’s lines… but it turns out that Utah State’s lines are just that good. Oregon State probably had the best run blocking in the conference, but Utah State went after them in pass protection, and Oregon State struggled to sustain drives. Oregon State is going to need to improve their defense if they want to get to that next level next year.
Last week: 7
Nick Kranz (7): It took an impressive confluence of bad luck in close games and COVID weirdness to deny the Bears a bowl game, but by that same token, the absolute best-case scenario if Cal had gotten every bounce was 8–4 (5–4) and 3rd place in the North, which would have been fun but not exactly earth-shattering. Now the rebuild on offense begins.
Berkelium97 (7): Under Justin Wilcox, Cal has been a team that always seems to find itself in close games. When they get some fortunate coin flips, they get an eight-win season like 2019. When they suffer through some unfortunate luck, they get a 2021 year in which they were 0–5 in one-score games. Flip some of those the other way and we’re looking at a seven- or eight-win season for the Bears. Cal overcame a rough start on defense, but could never find any consistency on offense—and when that offense was off, it was abysmal. I suspect we’ll see more of the same in 2022.
Christopher_h (6): Cal finished the year relatively strong after an awful start and I am sure I’m going to look back on this year as a huge missed opportunity after all the stars aligned for Cal (super seniors, a down Pac-12, no overwhelming conference powerhouse, an absurd 5 of their 7 losses being decided by one score, etc). That said, I think Wilcox has bought a ton of good will by turning down his alma mater to help build the Cal football program—and I’m hoping that translates into more wins. It’ll be interesting to see how the offense rebuilds as Chase Garbers finally moves on to greener pastures.
Last week: 8
Leland (7): So far, they’re looking to be the biggest winners of the offseason with the hiring of superstar head coach Lincoln Riley and his preparation of recruiting SoCal for months already.
Nick Kranz (8): I’m on record as thinking that Riley will need a year to get USC back up to speed as the defense was bereft of talent (by USC standards). But I have no doubt that he will instantly vault USC towards the top on offense—and maybe that will be enough in a very down conference.
Berkelium97 (9): The Trojans spent the first month of the season flailing about before winning only one of their final seven wins. And that win was a one-score affair against a then-winless Arizona squad. However, the hiring of Lincoln Riley has already made this season a distant memory.
Christopher_h (8): USC was the clear winner of the offseason—and USC fans will be quick to put this season behind them. Next year’s team will look completely different—the Death Star juggernaut-type of villains of the Pac-12. I was surprised to see how quickly Lincoln Riley turned slimy heel and perhaps that shows he’ll be a good fit at USC.
Last week: 9
Nick Kranz (10): The indignity of your starting quarterback transferring to a conference rival only to ride the bench played out exactly as you would imagine; Colorado had the worst offense in the conference by a wide margin—and one of the worst offenses the conference has seen since the days of Paul Wulff. Not exactly an encouraging year under an offensively minded head coach.
Berkelium97 (8): They may sit at eighth, but the gulf between the mediocre teams (3–7 in my rankings) and the bad teams (8–12) is enormous. The offense was unfathomably bad in the first half of the year before a late-season swoon (24 ppg!) helped propel them to a couple wins. There’s not much reason to expect notable improvement next season.
Christopher_h (9): They were pretty much doomed from the start with an inexperienced and struggling freshman quarterback and didn’t have the star skill players (e.g. Laviska Shenault) that they did in previous years to ease that transition. They’re going to need some big leaps at the QB position if they want to improve.
Last week: 10
Nick Kranz (9): Many suspected that UW’s offense might collapse without an established quarterback and helmed by an unsuccessful coordinator. Few suspected that UW’s defensive line would struggle to slow down opponent run games or get any kind of QB pressure. Washington was an awesome secondary let down by pretty much the entire rest of the team—particularly the coaching staff. I’m reasonably bullish on new coach Kalen DeBoer, but UW recruiting has suffered under Jimmy Lake, so I’m pretty sure the brief days of UW hegemony in the north aren’t coming back any time soon.
Berkelium97 (10): The season-opening loss to Montana foretold doom for this surprisingly dysfunctional offense. Fortunately, the pass defense was strong enough to allow the flailing offense to keep pace with most opponents. Still, it was a season to forget in Seattle. Now they turn to the 2022 season with their hopes riding on a coach with a season-and-a-half of head coaching experience at Fresno State. I’m not saying DeBoer won’t be a decent coach, but I think UW fans probably had their sights set a bit higher than this…
Christopher_h (10): Pretty much the only team in the Pac-12 to get worse in each game. QB Dylan Morris fell apart late in the season and UW players are abandoning ship… DeBoer certainly has his work cut out for him next year.
Last week: 12
Nick Kranz (11): Bad on offense, bad on defense, just bad bad bad bad bad. Lost their last four games by an average of 32 points. Sure, injuries played a role, but there was no depth on the roster. Maddeningly, Shaw is still recruiting well so the specter of a bounce back season can’t be ignored.
Berkelium97 (11): The season started pleasantly well with wins over USC and Oregon. Then they started looking worse and worse each week as they finished the year on a remarkable seven-game losing streak. Like Nick said, David Shaw is surely capable of a bounce-back year. But it feels like the excruciating series of 9+ win seasons has finally come to a merciful and permanent end.
Christopher_h (11): Stanford self-destructed this season and I’m all for it. Unit by unit, they’ve slowly lost their advantages over other teams (future NFL linemen, RBs, QBs, etc) and it’s hard to see how they can turn this one around. I still think Tanner McKee is an excellent quarterback and WR Brycen Tremayne will be a star, but they’re going to need a lot more than that to exit the conference cellar.
Last week: 11
Nick Kranz (12): There was a sense mid-season that the Wildcats were improving—and not just because of that bizarre win over Cal. But they suffered back-to-back blowout losses to Utah and Arizona State to end the season. To Jedd Fisch’s credit, he’s recruited as well as one could expect when the team is awful, but you’d have to think that Arizona is at least a year away still.
Berkelium97 (12): I don’t think anyone expected much from the Wildcats this year, but they were competitive in most of their games and they even managed to upset a COVID-depleted Cal team. I have a hard time seeing them being much better than three wins next season, but they shouldn’t have to worry about going winless over the year.
Christopher_h (12): Apparently they’ve been recruiting really well, which is really surprising given the state of that program. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything untoward going on over there, but I also wouldn’t be that surprised after seeing ASU’s “punishment” for recruiting violations.
Seven of us writers showed up KN95-masked and fully vaxxed to TwistNHook’s cottage to submit our final votes. You can check those out in Table 1.
Our entire 2021 rankings are graphed in Figure 1. The Bears end the season ranked seventh and as the best sub-0.500 team in the conference. For eight weeks running, we have a split between the same six teams in the top half of the conference and the same six teams in the bottom half; a cursory scan through the past years that I’ve run our Power Rankings (starting 2014) shows the longest previous season-ending split lasted for six weeks, so this is a new record.
I’m pretty proud of how the Power Rankings have evolved over time, adding new features and getting refined to be a better product over time (hopefully). The addition of Madness is one of my favorites because that came from our own readers. The Madness metric tells you how many spaces up or down the teams moved; Table 2 shows the Madness each week and Figure 2 shows how the Total Madness for each team progressed as the the year crept on.
By virtue of struggling all year, Arizona was a shoo-in for Least Mad team of the conference—the only team with a Madness score in the single digits. The battle at the other end of the spectrum—for the title of the Maddest team—was a much closer contest. Stanfurd has been on top since Week 6, but their stability at the bottom of the conference coupled with Oregon State’s late-season struggles meant the latter was closing in—but Stanfurd rising one spot this week helped them lock things up.
For a final comparison in Madness, Table 3 shows how far each team changed since our preseason ranking. We nailed the Wildcats and the Buffaloes with perfect predictions of how much they’d suffer this year. The Golden Bears were slightly overrated at the start of the season compared to how things ended up. And our most off-target predictions belong to teams from the state of Washingon. It was tough to predict how far Jimmy Lake would fall and how the Cougs would succeed in spite of Nick Rolovich, but the one certainty about that state is that it is a piece of moldy, rotting filth.
For another look at our postseason rankings in particular, we can also study the precise scores that we collectively graded the teams—the mathematical results from averaging our scores (Fig. 3). Though we were unanimous in our rankings of Utah and Oregon, the other ten teams have error bars to denote how divided we were in our opinions—larger error bars mean more disagreement. Figure 4 graphs this same kind of precise scoring, but as a function of time.
With the season complete, we can also take a look at some (potentially meaningless) data assessing the season as a whole. Namely, asking the question of what each team’s average ranking this whole season was. Figure 5 shows the score for each team when you average their votes all season long. Oregon has a commanding lead on the top spot—perhaps unfairly as they were exposed once their hit the Utah roadblock. Unsurprisingly, Arizona also has a decisive hold on the bottom spot for struggling all year. Despite earning a pretty clear failing grade, Stanfurd ranks relatively high thanks to some early-season heroics twice gave them second place in our rankings. I guess that no matter where you go, grade inflation is always there to boost those Furdies.
The big, big picture
It’s becoming quite overused at this point, but there’s a joke floating around the internet that “scientists were so busy asking if they could that they didn’t bother asking if they should”.
Just because I have access to eight seasons worth of Power Rankings, doesn’t mean I should attempt to analyze such a unwieldy dataset. This is 116 weeks of rankings for 12 schools—almost 1500 data points. Trying to tame such a massive amount of data would probably drive anyone mad.
Joke’s on you because I’ve already gone mad.
Figure 6 is a look at the average ranking that each team held for the past eight seasons. When you see that the top team—the Ducks—have an average score around 4, that tells you that every team struggled to some degree during this window and flirted with the lower-half of the conference at least. For the Ducks, that would be thanks to Mark Helfrich and the resulting rebuild. Staying with our northern neighbors, the team at the other end of the scale is Oregon State, who have just one winning season during this window—this past season. These years have been tough for the buck-toothed Beavers, who bore witness to the fall of Mike Riley and the false hope of Gary Andersen, with Jonathan Smith appearing to finally have the program on the right path again.
Unfortunately, Cal barely (and Bear-ly) fared any better, with our average score placing us as the ninth-best team during these years (Fig. 6). We’ve objectively been a middling program under Sonny Dykes and Justin Wilcox despite both coaches offering glimmers of hope at times—glimmers that history has shown to be fleeting.
Perhaps a more informative takeaway is just how much time each team spent at the top and bottom of the conference (Table 4). One of my meaningless findings is that we have once had a tie for the top team—compared to six times we’ve had a tie for the worst team.
That’s right—Cal has never been the top team during this stretch of Power Rankings even though this is a damn Cal site with homers often voting. I double-checked the entire mess of data because it seemed unfathomable given the sheer span of time we’re covering. The closest we’ve come was following the Week 4 games in 2019—after we beat Ole Miss on the road and as we were getting hyped up for a Friday night game against Arizona State. We scored a 1.700 to lose to a 1.600 score by Oregon… One-tenth of a damn point. I’m not sure how far back you’d have to go in history to give the Bears a reasonable shot at being the top team. 2007 is a safe bet as we were the highest-ranked Pac-10 team for a stretch, but was there anything more recent?
On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve agonized for two weeks at the bottom spot; if I had been running our Power Rankings in 2013 instead of ragnarok—and thus had easy access to that data—this figure would be far, far higher. Our Bizarro team is Arizona State, which has been our top team twice while never succumbing to the bottom.
For you full-on psychos, my first gift unto thee is the full, unadulterated graph of precise ranks from 2014 to today (Fig. 7).
If you’re looking to make your life a little easier, Figure 8 shows the five-week rolling average for each team instead—which reduces the volatility, so teams aren’t making as many massive and sudden changes. And since this is a Cal site first and foremost, I’ve also turned down the colors on the eleven lamest teams in the conference to make your Bears stand out a little bolder.
To make things a little more Cal-centric, Figure 9 is the pure precise rankings (i.e., not the rolling average), but just for the Bears. It’s tough to find any rhyme or reason to our performance… we tend to just yo-yo up and down. Notable exceptions include a strong start in 2015 (behind Jared Goff’s golden arm) and a potential Wilcox trend (in 2018 and 2019) of starting and ending the season strong to sandwich a midseason collapse.
They say someone like me doesn’t retire—someone like me just stops showing up.
It’s still incredibly strange to me that I somehow became involved in a college athletics site. I didn’t get into my position here because I was the most knowledgeable of football. (That title belongs to HydroTech or Kodiak.) I don’t have the depth of Cal history knowledge like Nick or Vlad.
I started off writing here because Twist knew me from the DBD and knows how to manipulate people to do his bidding. (He definitely enjoys doing so, but that’s another story for another time.) As time passed, the site became more and more entrenched as a hobby in my life and more and more of the writers more senior than me retired—resulting in a void that I was able to fill because I knew the system, because I was dedicated to the site and the community, and because I was still around.
I was able to write too many data-based pieces and bring some of my work world to my creative world, hopefully bridging the gap in a way that made countless figures, numbers, and graphs approachable and comprehensible for a broad audience. I—shockingly—was somehow able to cover fashion not once, but twice in the context of Cal Athletics and bring our site closer to Twist’s ultimate vision of being a fashion blog. Speaking of Twist, he managed to coerce me into writing the Golden Nuggets for far too long and to make an academics-based series that only a few people seemed to care for. I tried my hand at play breakdowns—quite possibly the feature that pulled me into CGB in the first place—but quickly quit as I was all too aware my Xs and Os were never up to the quality set by past writers and because I always questioned if my amateur analyses were just outright wrong. (1, 2, and 3. There was a fourth article teased in the Beau Baldwin preview that never saw the light of day, but perhaps has the greatest title I’ve ever crafted: “A Gold-ish Night Light on using presnap motion to create commotion. What a notion!”)
I’ve stuck around here for so long and became a higher-up purely out of this labor of love.
Writing for CGB and WFC was special to me. I’m not begrudging anyone who left to go write for another site, but for me, I wasn’t interested in writing about Cal—I was interested in writing for CGB and WFC. I was interested in writing for this community. Of course I want to represent my alma mater, but writing dry, boring articles on those other sites or for their audiences never appealed to me. I like writing about Cal with the classic CGB/WFC inanity that put us on the map. (It’s a small, regional map—but a map nonetheless.) The humor always kept things fresh and interesting to me as a writer and—more importantly than that—there were so many in the community whom I considered a real-life friend. (But if you’re reading this, know that I’m probably not referring to you.)
Unfortunately, it’s just time to go. As exciting as it is to have created Write For California and foster its growth, we’ve also been growing apart. WFC’s trajectory is no longer aligned with my vision for the community and how the site should be run; my feedback and contributions aren’t really recognized back behind the curtain, which makes it tough to keep toiling away in the content mines.
It’s a tough move to have to walk away from the site given how entrenched it has become in my life. Even now… in spite of the fact my time spent on the site as a user has been diminishing (though I think I’m still probably the writer who’s most active at reading our articles and getting into the comments). For a long stretch of time, visiting CGB/WFC first thing in the morning to make sure everything was running smoothly was part of my daily routine. WFC has been my most-visited site on those Chrome/Firefox quick access screens for far too long and I visited CGB so much that it’s still ranking somewhere on that list.
Thanks for taking the time to read this long, self-serving catharsis. You won’t be able find me on Twitter because I don’t use it—largely because it’s a garbage platform, but also because I always sought to use it as a tool to grow CGB/WFC rather than my own personal brand. (I only regret that a little bit.) If you squint a little, you’ll find me on Instagram. Thanks for reading anything I’ve written over the course of my time at California Golden Blogs and Write For California—nearly a decade! Sorry (not sorry) again to those of you whom I annoyed, angered, or trolled with my writing style. Thanks for being part of this inane community. (Most of you only annoyed me somewhat sometimes.)
On our rugged eastern foothills
Stands our symbol clear and bold
Big C means to [write] and strive
And win for Blue and Gold