Rating the Bears: Cal vs. Oregon State Football

Exorcising demons against Oregon State on Halloween Eve

Two genuinely fun games in a row? From this same Cal team that fell agonizingly short in so many games during the first half of the season? I’ll take it! And while beating OSU doesn’t have nearly the same significance as beating one of the CA schools, it was nice to crush the spirits of a team that has done the same to us so many times over the last fifteen years.

Rating the Bears

Every single category is above 80, a rare feat. The ground game rated highest as the Bears run all over the Beavs and shut down an extremely productive OSU running attack. Pass offense fared well while pass defense “only” scored 81.6 thanks to a few long completions by OSU. Can’t win ‘em all…

Special teams continues its pleasant streak of not only not ruining games, but being a net positive to the team! Coaching and overall enjoyed solid scores as well. And thanks to Cal’s consecutive strong outings and Arizona’s 20-game losing streak, we’re feeling better about the trip to Tuscon than we did during preseason.

Ratings Comparison

It’s been a bizarre stretch of games against the Beavers over the last dozen years, a time period including the second peak of Mike Riley’s tenure, Gary Andersen’s atrocious teams, and the steady improvement under Jonathan Smith.

This wasn’t the largest margin of victory over Oregon State in that span, but it was the highest rated. Although the Bears were more dominant over OSU in 2018’s 49-7 victory, that OSU team went on to win only 2 games while this year’s OSU team still has an outside shot at the Pac-12 North title.

For the second week in a row we enjoyed a win that compares very favorably to other games in the Wilcox Era.

This one scored near the top in every single category since Wilcox took over as coach. In fact, this was the second-highest rated game in the time span as it only trailed the Wazzu blowout in 2017.


Now we have our trusty triumvirate of awards for the optimists, pessimists, and realists.

Sunshine Pumpers

Someone joined Calamo in handing out all perfect scores! I admit, I was tempted to do the same...

Old Blues

Considering all of these scores are above 70 and more than half were above 80, I’m going to go ahead and say that you all didn’t really deserve these awards this week. If you want to see someone who really deserves an award, check out diasfordays in the next category with the lowest Voice of Reason score we’ve seen all year!

The Voice of Reason

Scores in the 4s are fairly common, 3s are less common, but 2s are exceptionally rare. Nice work.


Any comments on the gameday experience?

  • Old Bear 71 - That was So satisfying! All the way from NC to sit with my family (and Twist for a quarter). Man, it is amazing to start a Cal game with an immediate turnover and score pronto. Then execute a punt block and score right quick. I was nervous until the Bears put up their 39th point. Up two TDs with about five minutes remaining in the game didn’t seem like enough. I told Sam, if the score was reversed, I’d say we had zero chance, but since we are Cal, I fear a comeback. But boy o boy, was that a great series to finish off the Beavers. The entire experience was great. My two Grandsons yelling “Go Bears!”, high fiving multiple times with many hands, small and large, eating over-priced hot dogs and fries, paying six bucks for a soda…it was all glorious! Wish I could be back for the beat down on U$C! I think this team has some more wins in the tank!

  • Clbear - Crowd was small but engaged. Didn't know about the costume events.

  • Krazy4Cal - Had a Great time at the game! Awesome to get the best Win of the season so far. One step closer to becoming Bowl eligible.

  • Terence - Pac-12 Network + Homefield Launch + Winning + Tedford + Nam - guess we need to do it every week

  • Tangtpt - Small crowd, especially in the student's section. Too bad for what was expected to be a competitive game.

  • Texashaterforlife - finally an autumn day that is not too hot, not too cold, but just near perfection.

  • 59RoseBowl - Would certainly like to have seen a bigger crowd -- but spreading out over three rows was pretty sweet.

What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?

  • ak_A_bear - About time

  • FriscoBear - Garber seems in stride, except for short (4 yards or less) passes. His deep balls were on point. Had some drops that weren't his fault. Overall a 95

  • Helicon - Good and could even have been better without two dropped TD throws.

  • ShanghaiDave - Critical dropped passes kept this from being a comfortable win earlier in the game. We saw good Chase tonight. Clutch catches later sealed the game.

  • FuzzyWuzzy - Excellent on Garber's part, and the receivers did a nice job getting WIDE open. Always gets high marks when you can put up close to 300 yds with no picks, and #7 made some great moves and a tough throw for one of the 3 TYD's. Can't give higher than a B+ when you drop a perfectly-thrown pass in the end zone, however.

  • Wiata78 - Took off a few points for dropped passes. Otherwise, amazingly great.

  • KJ1980 - Solid. Garbers had a very good game. Some long passes.

  • BTown85 - Chase was in the ZONE!! Poised and got rid of the ball (enough). That's what we can do on a pedestrian day, and ceiling is much higher. Try being a bit more emotional in post-game interviews.................please?

  • HaasBear - Chase was great - a few big drops from away having a 350-400 yard passing game.

What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?

  • HaasBear - Brooks is a stud. Great vision and balance.

  • TD_24 - Talk about beating OSU at their own game, this was a pleasure to watch. From Brooks, Moore, Street, and even Garbers, they all ran hard and ran well.

  • KJ1980 - Got a chance and gained some yards. And iced the game! That was nice.

  • FriscoBear - The fact that they outrushed OSU speaks volumes about the rushing game (offensively and defensively). One of their best performances in that aspect in since the days of Marshawn, JJ and Jahvid

  • Terence - The running backs and QB stats were great - which meant really that the offensive line was steamrolling. No pressures, only one tackle for a loss. This was an OLine win.

  • Diasfordays - All the backs (and I'm counting Chase in this!) looked great. Whether running through gaps or through defenders, they picked their spots wonderfully. I'd love to see Moore get to punch that one in at the end, but I'm ok with kneeling it out here. In-state rival, or UW? For the love of Oski, run up the score!

  • SacAlum - Holy Smokes! Who would have thought our running backs would tear through OSU's defense like it did.

  • 59RoseBowl - Really impressive run game today. Kudos to the O-line for a job well done. And the bevy of running backs took its tool on the Beavs.

What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?

  • 59RoseBowl - Overall, really good. It killed me that they gave up a touchdown on third and twelve (which I was afraid was going to turn the game). Must have been a missed assignment because he was WIDE open.

  • FuzzyWuzzy - Sure, there were certainly some mistakes - there were a couple drives with some wide-open Beavery from an offense not known for it's ability to pass well (there were some decent plays by Nolan, but some not-so-good throws that made a big difference) which kept the game close, but I think they've definitely improving. Plus they had 2 picks, one of them being the hammer that sealed the coffin shut. Third, the Beavs have a tough O-line, and yet the Bears finally got pressure on a QB, with some pretty decent red-zone coverage.

  • ShanghaiDave - Some good plays (ints) but again, too many wide open plays. Also, very little pressure on the QB but I guess that’s due to some key players out.

  • Diasfordays - Beat a few times by a very potent and sneaky good OSU passing attack, but made up for it with fearless interception plays. No complaints!

  • Terence - Isiah Young 4 Passes Defended! And one turned into a INT! #takers are back!

  • Clbear - Those were some fun turnovers. It's like I'm finally seeing the takers of old.

  • TD_24 - They were a bit leaky at times, but stepped up when they needed to, getting stops on 3rd and short and generating a few INT's.

What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?

  • Krazy4Cal - Played amazing! Held one of the nations best rushing offense to 134 yards and just 1 TD!!!

  • Helicon - Held OSU to their season low rushing total. Excellent.

  • ShanghaiDave - Pretty darn good considering that’s OSU’s strength. The teams to play OSU should give us something for giving them the game plan on how to defeat OSU.

  • Sacman701 - The Beavs are the best running team in the league, having paved USC, Washington, and Utah. We held them to 31/134 which is a draw in normal circumstances. And that with all the injuries to the regular LBs.

  • Texashaterforlife - best run D I have seen from Cal since 2018.

  • Tangtpt - Excellent. Holding the conference's best rusher to less than 100 yards will usually get it done for you.

What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?

  • HaasBear - We changed momentum in our favor with a special teams play!!! When was the last time that happened???

  • TD_24 - You mean to tell me they actively made a positive difference...what is this sorcery.

  • Old Bear 71 - Well, a blocked punt and no hiccups. One missed fg from aways out. They passed they passed the eye test today. Vastly improving.

  • Krazy4Cal - Would take this performance anytime. Only blemish was missing a long field goal and a kickoff that went out of bounds. This stopped it from being one of the best performances to just Good/Decent

  • Helicon - Finally a game where special teams were not noticeable, which is as it should be.

  • Diasfordays - Missing the field goal left is a mild improvement over being short I suppose, but overall it seems the kicking is improving. You can improve aim more easily than leg strength. Blocked punt: beautiful hustle. 2-point conversion: calculated execution.

  • Sacman701 - Not too bad, but missed a makeable FG.

  • Wiata78 - After nearly getting several punts blocked, they blocked a punt! Hard to believe.

  • Tangtpt - Outstanding!

What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?

  • BTown85 - The only flaw was the "end of 1st half" clock management. O'wise? Nicely done, MFs!!!!!!

  • KJ1980 - No mistakes but Wilcox should have allowed the Bears to score the last touchdown. Sportsmanship is laudable. But the team could use some more fun with a few points.

  • FriscoBear - Musgrave didn't learn one damned thing from the Nevada game at the end of first half. With 4:38 and a 14 point lead and the ball, Cal could have used a balanced, ball control offense to burn clock and maybe score (Considering they had the ball on the opening kickoff, great things COULD have been in store), but after going for a home run on the first play (and missing), and two quick runs that netted 9 yards (3 run plays likely would have gotten a first and killed more clock), Cal punted after less than a minute with the ball. Enough time for OSU to get a quick score. Pa-thet-ic. Then played it right at the end of the half, although it left the average fan frustrated. Musgrave doubled down at the end of the third quarter, but benefitted from poor OSU coverage (use to have a blackjack dealer tell me "If you are going to hit 12s, ALWAYS hit 12s", guess Musgrave was following that logic). Clock management, if continued like this, will bite us in the backside down the road.

  • Clbear - Classy not to go for that TD and smart to secure running down the clock. Turned into a teaching moment with my kid nephew. Overwrites anything I else I may have to say about tonight.

  • Terence - ​​Some questions about the end of the first half and why we didn't go for it until like 20 seconds left. I mean if we decide to not go for it (odd, because we had 3 timeouts) but understandable BUT going slow until the end was weird.

  • ShanghaiDave - Pretty good overall except for the inexplicable call with 55 seconds left and all three of you timeouts to NOT use your first TO until the clock gets to 10 secs. I know Wilcox likes to keep the score close, but sometimes you have to be more aggressive.

  • Wiata78 - Last set of downs was pretty strange. If you're going to play to not lose, why not give the backups some experience?

  • 59RoseBowl - The coaching staff had the team really prepared for this game. Kudos to all of the coaches on a very important victory for the Bears.

  • Tangtpt - Best game that Musgrave has called this year by far. There were no plays that he called that made my butthole pucker in seething anger.

What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?

  • 59RoseBowl - What impressed me the most (and not often indicative of teams in the past) is how they answered every Oregon State score and didn't let the Beavs hold momentum very long. The best game on both sides of the ball that the Bears have played in quite some time. Hope springs eternal.

  • Sacman701 - This has arguably been the best team in the league over the past two weeks. The offense and run defense seem to have found their grooves.

  • SacAlum - Easily the most impressive -- and unexpected -- win of the season. Keep it going!

  • Helicon - A great win for the Bears and hopefully a harbinger of things to come over the next 4 games!

  • Krazy4Cal - Would take this performance anyday of the week. Coaching could of made some better decisions but wasn't horrible. And I did like the play calling.

  • FriscoBear - Lots of good things (turnovers, Garbers running and passing, Run defense and rushing offense). Still room for improvement. Most complete Cal game of the season. Lets hope the OC learns how to close out a half.

  • Old Bear 71 - Best game this year. Two(!) third quarter scores and a welcome two TD win over a solid team. Two pong conversion! Yeah, we want more of these complete four full quarter competence games! Aaannnd not one holding or false start penalty! Who are these guys?!

  • Kevin - After inconsistent games to start the season, and a couple decent games against too good (Oregon) or too bad (Colorado) of opponents to get a good read on the team, we finally put in a complete performance against a strong opponent. Feels good. Hope y’all at W4C enjoyed the weekend as much as it looks like you did (and you deserve)!

  • BTown85 - We f-ing WON!!!!!! I've seen too many OSU upsets; nice to get them back.....MFs......

Please please please let us have some pleasant ratings to review next week…