Another week, another close loss that leaves Cal ruing missed chances and costly mistakes.
1. I thought the Washington State game was the most painful of all the Wilcox games.
2. On the other hand, after WS I was seriously thinking of not watching any more games. But after seeing some improvement against Oregon, I hope to watch at least another game or two.
3. I'm also thankful to be able to comment in this thread.
I think the prior Wilcox teams win the Nevada and Washington games. While the coin flip analogy is fitting bigger picture, none of these games have come down to luck but bad mistakes and poor execution, and sometimes coaching.
As far as how this team is meaningfully different from 2017-2019, (based on a hunch, and without any supporting evidence) I'd say in two ways:
1. Mistakes - a sub-category of fundamentals
2. Inconsistency - good or bad. Every game has had such a different flavor. One unit might be sound and a strength one game, and then a glaring weakness the next week, and visa versa. I think the prior teams were way more consistent, and you had a good idea of what to expect each week. Some of this might be because of youth/inexperience.
This year has been more like a crap shoot, while the prior years were like flipping a coin.
Another great article from Nick. The Cal football team may have had its share of unlucky games but it is clear Cal rooters have the best set of writers they have ever had. Every day is a feast for Cal rooters to read about what their team did and what they probably should/could have done to win their games instead of having to suffer close losses.
One huge, glaring, obvious, clear reality revealed by the Oregon game is that speed kills. If you have it you live, if you don't you die. Our running backs spool up s l o w l y. Oregon guys were going full tilt at the snap. Is that coaching? I understand "patient, pick your hole" running, but often holes are gone by the time our guys get to the los. I wish we could see some real acceleration.
One other reality is the difference in run after catch yards. Oregon and others get many yards after the catch as they regularly catch and RUN. Our receivers seem to consistently execute a catch and SIT theme or catch and run to the sideline.
And after all that still in the game with 5:00-ish to go. ???
Man, beat SOMEbody!
1. I agree that the results are similar but this team is meaningfully different in two way. It is almost exclusively full of Wilcox recruits now and it is full of experienced veterans. I would expect to see some growth from the team due to its experience but we are playing like a team in year 1 or 2 of a transition.
2. It would be better but still not good enough because this team had actual expectations for a special season in which we would be competing to win the P12 North and a 9-10 win season.
I like to think that the collarbone injury to Garbers had much more an impact than previously thought. It's a simple reason for why he hasn't seemed to grow much since that year with McIlwain.
Nice analysis. I posted this on the other thread but for question number 1: I agree. For question number 2: No. I'm not satisfied with our consistent 6-7 win probability. I don't need us to be a 10 win every season monster, but I am not alright with the ceiling this staff has. I hope again in my lifetime we have a team that can surprise with a 10 win and consistently be 7-8. Wilcox has won some wonderful games, some great rivals, and I appreciate that. But the bone headed losses and close losses speak to a consistent lack of performance. No other way for me to see it. It's not a one season analysis. We have a pattern. I don't like the pattern.
Sorry, my post was submitted before I got to question 2. I expected Cal to do better this year, 8-4.
1.This team is what it's win / loss record says it is. It is not about luck. 2.
If the team could have won one of the at UW or at UO games the season would feel a lot different, even at 2-4. In reality Cal's program can only expect to win in Seattle or Eugene about once every 4-5 tries (or once every 10 years).
I'm kind of on the bad luck train. If you flip the coin a few times you are going to get some heads and tails in different proportions. If heads is a win and tails is a loss, then we have tossed 3 tails in a row. Meanwhile in 2019 we had more heads on those same flips.
I also believe that preparation creates your own luck. As Tsun-Tzu said "every battle is won before it's ever fought." I think we came into this season unprepared and with a hazy notion of which players had the greatest chance to succeed. Nevada punched us in the mouth and then the ennui and bad luck kicked in. It seems like the staff has a better idea now of which players give us the greatest chance of success, Bimage for example, than they did at the season's start.
I'm expecting a couple of wins over the rest of the season, but we probably will not do better than 4-8, which represents playing .500 ball in the final conference games, which would match our best late season performance in the Wilcox era. Keep in mind that Wilcox is 11-23 in conference games...