Rating the Bears: Cal vs. Oregon Football

First win of the season!

After an agonizing start to the season, it was quite enjoyable to watch another fanbase squirm in agony over every error, both forced and unforced. Oregon committed a bunch of dumb penalties (all of which felt like they turned into Cal first downs), turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter, and succumbed to a vintage Cal rockfight. The Bears had their share of errors, two blown coverages that essentially gave Oregon its two touchdowns of the night and a couple of critical missed passes that would have extended fourth-quarter drives. But it was a much cleaner than the messes we saw over the last three weeks.

Pretty strong scores all around. The lowest score of the week was run defense, which had a comparatively poor game against a porous Oregon run defense. Otherwise, it looked like a typical Justin Wilcox win: strong scores on defense, decent scores on offense, and strong marks for the coaches.

Thanks to the Bears’ win and Wazzu’s covid-induced shutdown, our predictions of a win over the Cougs have climbed a bit since preseason. Those scores might be even higher if we had more time to digest Wazzu’s abysmal performance against USC; only four ratings came in after that game ended and their average prediction was 75%.

Ratings Comparison

It was only our second win against Oregon since we started this series, so scores will obviously be pretty favorable in comparison to the rest of the data.

Overall, a pretty strong outing. Although it will take an utter masterpiece on defense to top the scores from that incredible 2010 performance. If only we hadn’t given up that punt return TD or if Tavecchio hadn’t missed that fourth-quarter chip shot.

Like I mentioned earlier, this was a pretty typical Wilcox win. So ratings are a bit higher than normal, but right in the meaty part of the distribution.


Speaking of distributions, it’s time to hand out some awards.

Sunshine Pumpers

The highest scores of the week:

Old Blues

When the lowest scores of the week don’t drop below 50%, it’s usually a pretty good week.

The Voice of Reason

And finally, those whose scores were closest to the community average.

1988, ABVidale, and tangtpt are becoming regulars among the VoR winners.

And now, some comments. It will be nice to read some happy comments for a change…


Any comments about the gameday experience?

BearsWillEndMyLife - Early evening games are the best when we can go in person, but the worst when they conflict with dinner and putting kids to bed at home. I was able to get back to the second half just in time for the first fumble.

ghThree - Phenomenal time spent with you gents on the YouTube stream. Can’t wait to do it again.

When things are back to normal, hope we can still do it for away games.

OskiOfTarth - I try to time shift the Tivo by 90 minutes, so I can watch the game in less than 2 hours.

Sacman701 - I was going to sweep the leaves and little hard berries from the sidewalk, but my wife ordered from Habit Burger so I had to walk there with my son and by the time I got back it was too dark. So I swept the sidewalk today.

Tangtpt - Had to mute the sound while I was helping my son study for his science test this week, so I didn't have a chance to listen to the commentary for a lot of the game. I generally like Dave Fleming (even though he is a 'furd guy), but Rod Gilmore is just awful. Forgot to open a beer for the game, which is my bad.

BTown85 - It was my birthday and I got the only gift I really wanted!!!!

Bowlbasaur - I wish Cal had 4pm home games when fans could attend. Best time possible.

GoldenBear88 - Incredible! My birthday is tomorrow so this was an early present! However, a few times as the fourth quarter was winding down I was thinking, "My heart, my f@#!%* heart is going to give out."

Any comments about the pass offense?

Calbear1984 - We should have it used it more as the run was non-existent.

TD_24 - Pretty lethargic to be honest I would have liked a lot more play action especially on our final offensive drive where we ran straight up the middle then just a quick out on 4th down, try to be like Wisconsin in this regard.

BearsWillEndMyLife - Garbers missed A LOT of easy throws, and we had several drops. I guess the positive is that the scheme is starting to get receivers open. The TD to Remigio was beautiful.

JoeBear - You can't put Garber in obvious passing situations on 3rd down----they blitz, he gets flustered and takes off--either getting sacked or running a couple of yards.

Bowlbasaur - If Polk caught that late 4Q pass the game would have been less sweaty.

Tangtpt - I like the dink-and-dunk-with-the-occasional-deep-throw ball-control offense. It keeps our defense fresh. I also think that it keeps Garbers confident if he can make short, easy passes to keep the chains moving. And, if we stall out, we can flip the field position game and hope our stronger defense can get a takeaway. The first long drive for our first touchdown was fantastic. I thought that the second was even better, but I forgot that it should have been a three-and-out but for the insanely stupid Oregon substitution penalty. Nevertheless, anytime you can get over 30 plays in two drives, that's a good thing.

Any comments about the run offense?

KJ1980 - Cal has some good RBs. Moore and Dancy are exciting! In a non-COVID year with a consistent set of offensive lineman, the run game could have been great.

Goldenone - Two TD's on 4th down runs…

Sacman701 - Rough going. Our four backs collectively averaged less than 3 yards per attempt.

TD_24 - It wasn't really that great either considering how bad Oregon's run D is but it did the job and they didn't fumble the ball. Sidenote I'm not sure why Christopher Brown went missing in action after the first quarter again but it was nice to see Shaw get some productive snaps.

Wiata78 - Could have been really good if it weren’t so overused.

Any comments about the pass defense?

Calbear1984 - Overall the defense did what it needed to do, but some glaring mistakes and missed assignments that led to big gains by Oregon.

TD_24 - Now this was the star of the show, it had been solid but a step off what we are used to coming into this game but this secondary and defensive line reminded us who they are. The ILB's still give me stress though even though Deng made amazing plays at the end.

BearsWillEndMyLife - Absolute garbage for the last two minutes of the first half, great for the other 58 minutes. Shough was probably hurt for most of the second half so they couldn't find any more breakdowns. I am nervous for Wazzu.

TFunk911 - Pass defense was overall decent but let a few key big plays happen that really hurt.

Goldenone - Good other than two blown coverages

Any comments about the run defense?

JoeBear - There for stops when we needed it.

Bowlbasaur - Lots of nice 4d stops

KJ1980 - Kuony Deng had a great game. Seeing him and the defense happy made the game for me. This was a defense win. Where was the great Verdell?

Goldenone - Pretty effective all game

OskiOfTarth - D-line was great, often stopped the run before the linebackers had to. Goode is better than 2 years ago when he was our best OLB. Deng is physically gifted, but still a work in progress, vision and football IQ needs to keep improving.

Justbear - Cam Goode was on fire

Any comments about the special teams?

KJ1980 - Made our extra points. But is there any confidence in our kicking team? We passed on a field goal at the end. Another decent punt return called back? Good news is no mistakes. Good we have had a blocked kick off this year, the only mess-up not done by this year's special teams. Even the SF Chronicle gratuitously rubs the missed PAT in the Big Game: in the story on our Oregon win: "Garbers completed 10 of his first 13 passes and wound up 20 of 32 for 183 yards for the Golden Bears (1-3), who had an extra-point attempt blocked in the waning moments of a 24-23 loss to rival Stanford in the Big Game last Friday on their home field." 

The Ghost of Joe Roth - No muffs!

BTown85 - There’s no confidence there. That’s gonna have to change. Makes me think they still feel vulnerable to the over-loaded rush on PKs.

Old Bear 71 - They didn’t commit holding on all of Nikko’s returns. Next week he will bust a couple to the house.

Sacman701 - Nothing wrong this week.

1988goldenbear - Ugh. Not much trust there. That will bite us in the rear (again) at some point.

Any comments about the coaching?

BerkeleyRich - Sections of good coaching with periods of unexplainable play decisions

RememberTheCalamo - I liked the aggressive play calling in all of the 4th and short situations. Although I'm concerned about how little Wilcox trusts our kicking unit.

Wiata78 - Except for the flea flicker, for which I am grateful, too conservative toward the end.

TKE Prytanis 79 - We won

BearsWillEndMyLife - The turtling is getting old. Real old. Why were we not going for the jugular on the last drive? Sure, the result was great, but the process was highly questionable.

Drew - Give. Bill. Musgrave. A. Break. If you’re going to criticize Bill Musgrave, you have to criticize Justin Wilcox as well. The offense has never clicked under his tenure, and he’s ultimately responsible for performance in all phases of the game.

TFunk911 - The play calling was slightly creative! As a Cal fan, I didn't know this was allowed. Offensive play calling late in the game didn't make sense to me. They seemed like they couldn't decide if they wanted to be aggressive by going for it on 4th down or play it safe by running it over and over again before 4th down.

JoeBear - So far Musgrave is not looking any better than Baldwin, who was coming around at the end of last year. Musgrave needs to be more creative in short yardage.

KJ1980 - This was a WIlcox style win. Defense played well in the second half, no mistakes, average offense. But a W is a W!!

Any comments about the overall performance?

Justbear - The numbers don't add up, but win gets 100 pts.

Go Eat A Taco - Could we possibly have the Duck's number? Yes, yes we can and it's 17 (2 years in a row).

Tangtpt - Great win. Others have said it, but this team is all about what happens with just a handful of plays and we will be competitive in every game. Nice bounce-back from what was certainly an emotional loss last week.

BTown85 - So thankful the “winless” option is off the table!!!

KJ1980 - It was nice to beat the Ducks. Wish we could have won the Big Game. Wish we could have won the Big Game . .......

JoeBear - We were lucky to get a turnover to win, just like we were unlucky to give a turnover to lose at OSU and miss the extra point at Furd. It would be nice to be good enough not to have to depend on luck.

1988goldenbear - Always good to beat the Ducks, especially after giving the last two games away. One more win for a shot at a bowl game? Is that true? Go Bears!

HaasBear - Happy to see the guys happy and get that first win.

BearsWillEndMyLife - Another year, another shocking home upset. I'll take it, especially when it's all basically just extra practice. This season makes no sense whatsoever.