Rating the Bears: Cal at Arizona
Hello Tucson, my old friend...
After 2004 Tucson has been a nightmare for Cal football and Cal fans. 2006 saw Lavelle Hawkins get tackled by a ghost at the 1-yard line and DeSean Jackson’s one-size-too-large cleat nullify the go-ahead TD. 2008 saw Cal blow a double-digit lead as Arizona outscored the Bears 28-3 in the second half. 2010 was a masterful defensive performance…until the final minute when Arizona marched 78 yards downfield to score the game-winning TD (moments after Cal missed a field goal that would have given the Bears a 12-3 lead). 2014 saw the defense surrender a mind-boggling, even by Dykes-era standards, 36 points in the 4th quarter, culminating in the Hill Mary. In 2018 Brandon McIlwain was responsible for 4 TDs, except 2 of them were scored by Arizona. And now, the Covid Game.
Forget Rose Bowl Before I Die. I’d like to see another win in Tucson before I die…
Rating the Bears
As expected, the offense earned abysmal scores. The pass offense was a rounding error away from single digits, a feat achieved only once from 2010 to 2016 and four times under Wilcox. That’s not a great sign for QB development...
The rush offense was penalized for a bizarre mix of ineffective option plays and 0-yard QB runs. Naturally, coaching was hammered for such an unusual pivot away from a successful enough between-the-tackles run game from Brooks and Moore.
Defense fared decently well despite the heat and limited depth. Even special teams scored well thanks to Sheahan’s stellar punting. With a career-high 11 punts, his leg is probably still tired.
Our expectations of a win over USC have plummeted, not that it matters because the game was postponed and the Bears now have a tough matchup against Covid this weekend.
Obviously, it’s been a tough set of games in Tucson over the last several trips, but the home games haven’t been great since we started this series. Cal lost a surprisingly close game in 2013 and a double-OT game in 2017. That’s right, that means all the games in the following chart are losses. Arizona is the only conference team that is undefeated against the Bears since 2010.
Defense and special teams were middle-of-the-pack while offense, coaching, and overall were the worst we have seen in the last 12 years of playing Arizona.
Compared to the rest of the Wilcox Era, Saturday was…not good.
Bottom three scores in pass offense, run offense, and coaching complemented average performances for the defense and special teams.
We have our usual awards, but anyone who actually sat through that entire game deserves a participation award. I don’t think I have ever hated the game of football as much as I have while I was watching those two anemic offenses stumble about for 60 minutes.
TD_24 leads the Old Blues despite probably being the youngest person to participate in the ratings this week. I admit I nearly gave the team all 0s but then decided to give special teams and defense some credit.
Check back next week when Calamo gives the team a perfect score during the bye week.
The Voice of Reason
Scores were all over the place this week, so the deviations are much, much higher than normal. Double-digit scores rarely earn consideration for this award.
Any comments on the gameday experience?
Goldenbear88 - It absolutely SUCKED!!!! We just lost to a team that hadn't won a game in two years! I don't care if half of the offense had to stay home because of COVID, we should have won this game easily.
Old Bear 71 - Nachos and guacamole were excellent. Sadly they were about the only things that were excellent. This game felt trappy since the COVID announcement on Thursday. But my heavens, the inability to connect to several open receivers and generally inept qb play was a horribly unwelcome surprise. I thought our 2’s would be fine since many 1’s were on the field. But nope. This day’s experience was opposite from last two weeks, especially since bowl eligibility is likely gone.
Fuzzywuzzy - Well, it was a beautiful day in Southern California with an easy swell and mild wave height at the beach, perfect for burying my head below the waves and stuffing myself with kelp after this game. That was just brutal...plus, I still think Tucson is an absolute dump; I mean, I'm happy for the fans, even the ones there due to some kind of minor offender alternative sentencing program, but they literally acted like they just beat a top-10 ranked team with all of their starters, in a 50-point shootout. As an added bonus, I'll be delivering the wife to LAX on December 18th in the AM, which would fit perfectly with an LA Bowl game berth.... but nope, not gonna happen. I CANT HAVE ANYTHING WORK OUT ARRRRRGH (yak yak). I'd probably get Covid anyway.
TD_24 - I needed more alcohol. Thank God the bay area high football game of the year was on at halftime.
59rosebowl - Friends over to watch the game. Beer REALLY helped.
What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?
Goldenlikethebears - HAHAHAHA
Maxer - Nonexistent. Can’t imagine why they didn’t play Kai. Just awful to watch.
EDH GoldenBear - 5th year grad transfer taking snaps from a future starter and producing nothing.
Willis Chong - I hope everyone comes back next week.
Sacman701 - Too shorthanded to do anything. Obviously Glover isn't viable at this level, but who else was available?
TD_24 - Year 5 and we still don't have a competent backup. Rob and Leland could not have gone out there and done worse. Also Kekoa Crawford catches the ball in Q1 we probably win the game.
What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?
Goldenbear88 - They made some good plays but the Arizona defense kept stuffing the run and we couldn't get anything going.
Maxer - Had no chance due to lack of pass offense
59rosebowl - non-existent once Arizona figured out we couldn't pass the ball.
TD_24 - So naturally with a terrible backup QB we pass more than we run.....make it make sense Bill.
Sacman701 - Hard to do much when there's no threat of a pass, especially when you're missing three starting OL.
Willis Chong - Predictable once they figured out that Glover can't throw the ball beyond 3 yards, and sometimes not even that!
What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?
Goldenbear88 - Excellent for the most part (three interceptions) but they did give up some key first downs on the final drive.
EDH GoldenBear - Held AZ in check all game with no offensive support
Willis Chong - This was one reason we were even in the game.
Sacman701 - Arizona doesn't throw well, but our badly depleted defense held them to 4.3 yards per attempt with three picks. That's brilliant, considering.
TD_24 - For the guys who were there in the secondary, they eventually broke, especially on 3rd downs.
What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?
TD_24 - They did pretty well considering how many guys behind them were out.
Sacman701 - Arizona did some damage on the ground, but seeing as we were shorthanded on a 90 degree day when our offense wasn't do anything, we did very well to keep them out of the end zone until the very end.
Willis Chong - Broke down initially, but got things better as the game went along
Texashaterforlife - Frosh players stepped up. Better experience for next year. Cal also did not have the bodies on D for depth.
Goldenbear88 - It seemed pretty good but Plummer seemed to get loose at the worst times, not to mention that they couldn't stop the final rushing touchdown.
What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?
Goldenbear88 - Still sucks. Giving up that big return to Berryhill set up Arizona's final game winning drive.
EDH GoldenBear - Punter was our MVP.
Texashaterforlife - Not bad. No idea who the back up placekicker is. I was fearing much worse
KJ1980 - We made a field game. Kicking game was competent.
Sacman701 - Backup kicker made the FG, but the long punt return to set up the TD drive hurt.
59rosebowl - The lack of coverage on the last punt was a killer.
Kevin - Since we never moved the ball, Jam got lots of long punt practice at least!
What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?
59rosebowl - Musgrave didn't make adjustments but given the qb couldn't complete a pass, not sure what he could have done.
Sacman701 - They deserve some credit for the defensive scheme and for having the team ready to compete despite all the absences. Obviously Glover was ineffective, but it isn't clear if any of the alternatives would have been a better option given what was known at the time.
Old Bear 71 - Probably the worst prep I’ve seen from a power 5 conf team. I felt like the game plan was hastily thrown together if there even was a plan. The struggle that poor Mr. Glover had completing passes looked like he had zero reps with any of the receivers. Nobody looked like they were on the same page. Coaches’s jobs are to get them ready.
Azulviejo - Totally caught off guard. No imagination. No adjustments. Total crap.
Goldenbear88 - Something was off. How could they same staff that called one of the best games of the year last week lay such a stinker this week?
EDH GoldenBear - Shocking lack of preparation for the #2 QB. There must be a significant lack of talent behind Garbers
What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?
Goldenlikethebears - This is the most Cal thing that Cal could do. Like I'm not not even pissed. I'm just so disappointed. Which means we will beat $C next week, because Cal.
Goldenbear88 - It absolutely sucked! With the way we played, we should have just forfeited due to COVID. I'm not sure I can bring myself to watch Cal Football anymore this year. I hope that by some miracle we get to six wins but I'm not wasting any more Saturdays trying to find out.
Maxer - One of the worst games I’ve ever seen in 35+ years of being a fan
Texashaterforlife - At least Cal wasn't beaten down like the dopey dancing trees, they put up a fight. I will say it for the last time: PHUCK COVID-19!!!
RememberTheCalamo - Does the overall performance include Aaron Rodgers being grumpy about us not celebrating Tedford more but then him turning out to be some huge crackpot?
Sacman701 - Mulligan game. The defense was great. The offense was non-functional, but it's hard to say what could have been done given the available players. We probably would have blown them out if we had been at full strength.
TD_24 - We had tons of players out. Great. Arizona is a really bad team and we have no excuse to lose to them. Plummer as a 3rd string blows Glover out of the water. Effort doesn't matter with this much ineptitude today. USC game looks rough if these guys can't come back.
59rosebowl - on the one hand, given how many starters were out, it was a real challenge. On the other hand, the lack of basic competence was pretty appalling. Something is wrong when so many players were in covid protocol. Did they all go a party and get exposed? Seems to me that with so much on the line, there could have been more discipline.
Enjoy the unscheduled bye week, everyone. Go outside, enjoy nature, and stay away from college football (and each other if you’re in Covid outbreak central aka Berkeley).