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Rating the Bears: Cal vs. Oregon State Football
A Sonny Dykes-era throwback performance
Last time Jake Spavital’s offense faced off against the Beavers, the Bears scored 44 points. Alas, the Bears lost that one thanks to a woeful defensive effort that surrendered 47 points and 500+ yards (although the offense probably could have outpaced that if Davis Webb hadn’t been tasked with throwing wobbling ducks all over the field with his broken thumb). This year’s script was oddly similar as the Bears scored 40 points but squandered that effort as the defense gave up 52 points and 500 yards (okay, it was actually 499). This year’s Oregon State team is a bona fide top-15 team while that 2016 team was a 4-win team that was the peak of Gary Andersen’s awful 7-29 tenure. As a result, the fanbase’s ratings aren’t too bad this week despite the loss.
Rating the Bears
This week’s ratings look straight out of the Sonny Dykes era.
Both offensive categories lead the way by a large margin while pass defense earns the lowest score of the week, even worse than a special teams unit that seemed just as eager to let the Beavers saunter down the field. Run defense and coaching sit right around the middle of the rating scale while overall fares reasonably well for a loss. Thanks to this offensive resurgence led by Mendoza and the offensive void left by Cam Rising’s absence, our predictions of a win in Salt Lake City have climbed considerably since preseason.
Over the course of this series OSU has been everything from a doormat to a legitimate Pac-12 title contender. As a result, our ratings have huge spreads. Remember, the box in the boxplots below captures the middle 50% of the data.
Both offensive categories fared well, and run offense nearly earned the highest grade we’ve seen against the Beavs. Pass defense fared quite poorly, as did special teams. Special teams is the only category without an absurd range of data. They are consistently mediocre against OSU.
Compared to the rest of the games under Wilcox, this was unusual in several categories. We’ve seen many outside-the-box(plot) ratings this season…
Coaching and overall were pretty close to their respective medians. The rest of the scores were either in the top 25% or bottom 25%. This team has had a very difficult time excelling on both sides of the ball at the same time this season…
Next, the trusty triumvirate of awards.
First, the most optimistic ratings of the week.
Reigning champion Calamo earns yet another Sunshine Pumper award, while Bowlesman80 misses the number-two spot for the first time this season.
Next, the worst ratings of the week. We’re starting to see more repeat winners here, led by the appropriately named SadBear.
With a range of nearly 17%, there was a big spread across the lowest ratings this week.
The Voice of Reason
Finally, those whose ratings were closest to the community average this week.
JP90 tops a bunch of multi-time winners this week. Usually the lowest score is in the 4s or 5s, but the scores were huge this week. Double-digit scores rarely earn this award.
And now for the comments of the week:
Any comments on the gameday experience?
HaasBear: So many commercials and most of them are for the pac12, on the pac12 network…
Rose Bowl Oski: Short sleeves for a 7pm kickoff in October? Nice! Flyovers are always cool
BearsWillEndMyLife: Outstanding late Bay Area summer weather. Good crowd. Some Oregon State meathead got drunk and tried to start a fight in front of us, but Cal Security let him stay in his seats the whole game - no idea why. OMG get the in-stadium audio fixed!
GlueAndBold: First game I've seen since North Texas. As far as I knew, we had a surprisingly decent offense and a somewhat suspect defense.
RollOnYouChairs: I missed the tailgate but got to go through Telegraph and up Durant to the stadium… And the city was really thriving and busy. It was awesome to see so many fans and families having a great time and – honestly – just supporting local businesses (I swear the City of Berkeley needs to put its weight behind getting a competent AD at Cal, considering home crowds' impact on local commerce). It took a minute for the crowd to fill in, but we had really solid attendance by the end of the first quarter and the home-field advantage & noise clearly rattled the Beavers offense. The weather was PERFECT for a night game, and much better than sitting in the middle of low clouds in the low 50s, with wind, which seems to have been the norm for many of our recent night games. And while the defense was a clear disappointment, the offense looked great and Fernando's performance really energized the crowd. Probably the most fun I've had in a home loss in a while, and felt as close to a moral victory as we could've had with that score.
What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?
bigaddi: Looks like Cal's quarterback has been found
OldSoCalBear: Promising... Mendoza had time to throw, went through reads, ran ok too.
HaasBear: We have a quarterback.
sacman701: Not bad especially considering it was Mendoza's first meaningful action. I think he earned another start.
Rose Bowl Oski: Room for improvement, but I think we've found our QB. Mendoza showed a lot of maturity, especially for his first college start. Hard to believe neither team have up a sack.
Goldenone: Interesting with the addition of Mendoza. He did some good things and is tall enough to operate from the pocket, also rushed for 41 yards.
BTown85: Fernando is as Fernando does. Well played, young man; hope U stay at Cal…
What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?
HelloBowlesHall: Was ripping off chunks of yardage. Outside of an unfortunate fumble I can’t complain. Amazing how good the run game is when the pass game isn’t complete ass.
HaasBear: Curious why Ott wasn’t more involved in the second half. Hope he’s okay.
sacman701: Oregon State came into this game allowing an average of 2.3 yards per rush. We went for 7.3, including 6.9 by the running backs. We have a legit running game with a 2-headed monster at tailback.
BearsWillEndMyLife: Our RBs are all studs, the last fumble notwithstanding. However, our O line is trash, as we ask for too many hero plays and breaking tackles because we can't block anyone anywhere. Hopefully the designed QB runs can remain a part of this offense and not get anyone hurt.
FriscoBear: Ott and Ifanse did a great job. The line blocked pretty well for them. Stredick's fumble was extremely costly.
OskiOfTarth: In spite of Cal's great running back history, this is the toughest-to-tackle group of four backs for Cal, ever.
RollOnYouChairs: 241 yards rushing at 7.3 yards per carry, against one of the best rushing defenses in the conference… We did pretty darn well. Ott was electric when he found a good hole (but also cost us a possession when he danced behind the line of scrimmage instead of committing to a hole and diving for a first down), and of course I hope he's healthy next week. Isaiah is one of my favorite players on this team with an absurd 7.8 yards per carry and just pushing and breaking through tackles. And of course, our QB had 41 yards on four carries, averaging a first down per touch. Fernando also did a great job of managing RPOs and handoffs, which helped the running game tremendously.
Something worth noting is that Wilcox in his presser said that more guys could learn from Isaiah's unwillingness to be taken down… Not sure if he was alluding to Ashton, Jaivian, or JWT (who suited up but didn't play), but clearly he wants more out of some of the other RBs.
What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?
HelloBowlesHall: I’m going to be seeing wide open receivers running all across my dreams tonight.
HaasBear: Abysmal. Couldn’t pressure, couldn’t cover, and were out coached relentlessly in the red zone.
sacman701: This was a new low. No pressure, no passes defensed, Beavs just threw at will.
Rose Bowl Oski: They played okay, but DJU placed the ball perfectly on multiple occasions when Cal had great coverage.
GlueAndBold: Nothing polite.
BTown85: DJ was dropping dimes…..tough to stop that….
OskiOfTarth: Coverage by the defensive backs was close, but just far enough away to be completely ineffective.
What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?
HelloBowlesHall: That man was a beast. Our tackling has been suspect vs our d of the past few years but god that guy was good.
HaasBear: It was serviceable, the beavs can run the rock.
sacman701: Poor. Oregon State averaged 4.8 yards per rush which doesn't sound terrible, but we also regularly failed at key moments. We allowed the Beavs to convert all 5 of their 4th downs and gave up that ridiculous 23 yard run on 3rd and 17.
BearsWillEndMyLife: Watching in-person on a play-by-play basis, it didn't FEEL bad, but then you check the box score and you see over 200 yards and nearly five yards per rush. Their inside zone scheme was very effective, especially with an outstanding O line. Our tackling was atrocious throughout.
GlueAndBold: Decent but not quite strong enough. Understandably softened by the end of the game.
OskiOfTarth: Was actually quite good vs the best offensive line they'll see all season
What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?
OldSoCalBear: Inability to cover kickoffs is maddening
HelloBowlesHall: Only reason this was even acceptable was the fantastic onside coverage. The actual kick coverage was the worst I’ve select seen in the thirty years I’ve been watching cal football.
Calboy1976: Team Mateen. I'm in.
BearsWillEndMyLife: Once again, directly contributing to a loss. We gave up a couple huge returns, then tried to get cute. All that did was give their offense short fields, and they didn't need any help. Why the f*** don't we have a special teams coach?
FriscoBear: Not so special tonight. Except Lachlan Wilson and being alert on the onside kick.
Goldenone: Somewhere between horrible and atrocious on kickoff coverage.
BTown85: Vast improvements, but PLEASE let’s put KOs deep into the end zone!!!!!!
What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?
HelloBowlesHall: Mendoza looked like desperation but man was I wrong. Of course this just opens up the question of how the hell it took this long to give him a shot. And where the hell were the halftime adjustments on d???
Winebear: Special teams and offense were solidly coached, the defense was in a prevent the second half.
Calboy1976: If Cal somehow gets to 6-6 I will be amazed and happy
BearsWillEndMyLife: What the hell is going on with our defense? We had exactly one defensive stop the whole game. And, if you think you're going to be in a high-scoring game as an underdog, go get every point possible, and don't kick field goals from the 3. If that game is 52-44 late, who knows what could happen?
FriscoBear: Was ok going for it early. Showed confidence in Mendoza. OSU was out gained in total yards through 3 quarters, but primarily because OSU had short field after short field.
Goldenone: Didn't adapt or have a winning game plan when it was 35-32.
BTown85: Making bold moves, can’t ask for a different approach. 4th has become just another down, and no one will drop e’one back on KOs anymore. Keep ‘em on their toes!
jakewebs: For one, Wilcox/Spav made a bold move at QB that seemed to pay off today. On the other hand, it's been clear since the Auburn game that SJV/Finley are far from stand outs, so why not make a move sooner?
What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?
HelloBowlesHall: I’m actually moderately excited for the future. We put up a better fight tonight than against almost any other team this year. Let’s see if we can figure out the d and make some shit happen.
HaasBear: Oregon State is a much better team, hopefully we found our QB
sacman701: We seem to have a competent offense now. We ran very well and threw well enough to keep them honest. Unfortunately, the defense is a tire fire and appears to be regressing every week. The basic stats don't convey how bad this defensive performance was. Oregon State, an above average but clearly non-elite offense, had 10 possessions: 7 TD drives of which 6 covered at least 49 yards, one punt, a fumble at the end of an 18-yard pass, and a 61-yard field goal drive when they were just trying to kill the clock. It's hard to see any excuses or potential solutions for this sub-Dykes level defense.
Rose Bowl Oski: A decent showing against the number 15 team in the country. Usually scoring 40 points is enough to secure the W. Defense had a tough time with the Beavers constant misdirection.
GlueAndBold: Multiple Beavs fans expressed surprise at how dominant their offense was. DJU is good and has a great stable of receivers but we made them look like UW.
Kj1980: Cal was competitive. Cal found a QB. The fans were in it. But Cal was done by 20 in the 4th Q. I am a Bear fan so I should be happy, I guess.
Goldenone: Acceptable but not enough to win. For some reason the D did not show up especially in the secondary. I thought it was a strength of the team.
OskiOfTarth: Other than pass coverage, we played about as well as we could against a better team.
Don't have one: Cal is getting better
Thanks to all who participated! Check back Saturday afternoon following the Utah game for the insta-recap and link to submit your ratings for that game.