Rating the Bears: Cal vs. Washington Football
A fourth consecutive game against UW decided by a TD or less
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get any easier from here, Cal fans. According to our preseason predictions we expected Cal to be 5-2 at this point (of course, we expected the team to be much better and considerably healthier than they are now). At that point a 2-3 finish seemed like the likeliest outcome, putting the Bears at 7-5 overall. Now, a 2-3 finish seems woefully optimistic and still leaves Cal one game short of bowl eligibility. At this point, the most exciting prospect in Cal football’s near future is the search for a new OC this winter. Or the search for a new team to follow if Musgrave is retained.
Rating the Bears
None of the categories rates particularly well, but none fares horrifically. This is a tremendous improvement over last week’s ratings, but it’s still another loss. After years of frustrating special teams it’s nice to see the specialists earn the highest score of the week. And after years of solid, mostly mistake-free defense it’s frustrating to see the Cal defense give up tons of yards and make some bizarre mental mistakes. The Cal pass offense earns the third-highest score of the week, which is an impressive feat considering that Plummer is out there hobbling around on one leg.
Our expectations of a win over Oregon have been cut in half since preseason. Their dismantling of an undefeated UCLA team on Saturday certainly didn’t help…
Cal only has three wins over UW since we started this series and far too many blowout losses, so Saturday’s ratings compare reasonably well against our usual performances against the Huskies.
Passing, special teams, overall, and coaching (somehow) all fare better than normal, while the other three only fare slightly worse than normal.
Compared to the rest of the games under Wilcox, Saturday’s loss compares much less favorably.
Special teams was the only better-than-usual category. It was not a complete disaster, however, as every other category besides run offense was only slightly worse than usual.
We have fifteen awards to hand out, as usual: best ratings, worst ratings, and ratings closest to the community average.
First, the worst:
A two-way tie! It’s not quite on par with last week’s 8-way tie for first, but a tie at exactly 95 points is an interesting coincidence.
Calamo pumps so much sunshine that he wears sunglasses at night. And Bowlesman80 once again finishes in second place.
The Voice of Reason
A couple DBD regulars top VoR this week! And I thought DBDers never ventured to the front page…
Alright, let’s have a look at the comments.
Any comments on the gameday experience?
Brennan - Marshawn's f-bomb sums it up.
1988goldenbear - Highlight was MARSHAWN LYNCH and his sideline interview followed by the gratuitous ride in the equipment cart at halftime.
KJ1980 - Night game crowd was sparse, to say the least. At game time, Joe Starkey said that the “crowd” might fill in later. Really? Having the game on ESPN was cool. Friends and family across the country were messaging me about the Bears.
RememberTheCalamo - Ahhhhh yeah, nationally televised but ends at 1:30am. My favorite thing!
Oaklandishbear - Fun to follow the band up to the stadium from Sproul. Haven't done that in a long long time. But where were the posters? We were in the stadium early, and I didn't see anyone handing out posters. What was up with that? And Marshawn is right - we need to get more mfers in the stadium...
What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?
Heyalumnigo - Bad in the first half, much better in the 2nd half. Therefore, I gave an average of 55. Receivers were much more open in the 2nd half, but I'm not sure if that's due to a change in playcalling, or UW 2nd half changes in coverage. UW was able to put pressure and get sacks with just a 4 man rush. Blitzing wasn't required. The 2nd touchdown was a great catch by the receiver.
Sacman701 - Had some success with quick throws and play action, but the OL just isn't capable of protecting Plummer on slower developing plays in situations where play action is not a credible threat.
Bowelsman80 - We have weapons! Oh, wait they are injured. Plummer seems to do a few things right, but, then sputters and stops, like a car with an intermittent fuel blockage. FUn Fact: Seriously, why does Plummer keep playing injured? Yes, we saw Jack hobbling and, I must assume, that's why he makes a ridiculous 4th down throw instead of a run for two option. Notably still absent? Effect pass protection for Plummer and that may be why he's both injured and not running.
KJ1980 - Great 3Q! But did not come through in crunch time. That last pass? The pressure on Plummer makes it tough to pass consistently.
Frisco Bear - The offensive line is offensive. Can't see whether Plummer is a good quarterback enough because he doesn't have time to make passes. At this stage, let's put Kai Millner in for the rest of the year to get him some experience. Going 6-6 is seeming like a pipe dream, unless something drastic changes.
What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?
1988goldenbear - Ott never got going, but there seemed to be scheme changes in the 2nd half that allowed Brooks to contribute on a couple pretty decent drives.
Mendogriz - The line is pathetic. Can't run when there are no holes.
BTown85 - We NEED to find a way to get Ott some space…..
Bowelsman80 - I like mixing up our backs between Ott's finesse with Moore and Brooks heavy hitting. Where was this scheme earlier in the game so we did not fall so far behind? But, the Oline, once again seems to bump block once or twice, then quit.
Sacman701 - The backs were 26/89 which isn't a very good day against a shaky defense. We had a little bit of success in the second half, but for the most part the line didn't provide the backs nearly enough room to run.
What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?
Heyalumnigo - Bend don't break, except for twice, the whole game. We gave so much cushion all game to all receivers and Penix had time to throw. Perhaps this was due to Lu-Magia being out. Blew coverage on 2 of the TDs.
Sacman701 - Did a fine job of preventing big plays apart from the biff on UW's last TD, but a poor job of getting off the field on third down. Pressure got home from time to time.
Bowelsman80 - Honestly, defense got burned a few times, but only late in the game when they were starting to show fatigue from being in the game for nearly three fourths of the game. Honestly, because of this D, even a mildly above average offense would have us talking about the Rose Bowl.
Frisco Bear - Considering how good Penix and the Washington pass offense are, the defense did a pretty decent job. Holding them to 28 points is a pretty impressive feat, particularly considering how much time they spent on the field.
KJ1980 - Contained one of the best pass offenses in the country. Still gave up 350 plus yards in the air.
What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?
Brennan - Good. We could at least limit the Huskies on the ground.
1988goldenbear - If the crappy Furdie announcers were correct, it sounds like the defense keyed on preventing big plays through the air at the expense of allowing UW to take advantage on the ground. I guess that plan worked, and it gave us a chance to win.
Bowelsman80 - To borrow from the Furd hack announcers for ESPN, Cal baitied Washington into favoring the run. "Bend, but don't break," makes me nervous, sometimes. Overall, the D won the game for their part.
Sacman701 - Generally got the better of Washington, whose backs ended 28/102 with a long of just 12. Nobody would mistake the Huskies for an elite running team, but that's a decent result considering you never want to sell out to stop the run against them.
What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?
Bowelsman80 - Scary/funny moment. Washington rushers actually get to Sheehan, but are afraid to tackle for fear of roughing the punter? Or were they just stunned that they actually got to him before he even started to punt? Sheehan handled it very well, though. Fun Fact: Another blocking deficit? Yes, I noticed that Washington starting rushing heavy on our frequent punts.
Brennan - Is saying "too much special teams" acceptable?
Oaklandishbear - Everybody did their job.
Heyalumnigo - Made our PATs. Didn't really remember anything bad.
What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?
Brennan - Get. Rid. Of. Musgrave.
1988goldenbear - The halftime adjustments were pretty good for the offense, and the defense just got gassed from being on the field for what seemed like an eternity. But the coaches put us in a position to tie the game at the end and they held a really solid offense below their scoring average, so that's progress.
KJ1980 - The coaches had Cal prepared to be competitive. Especially the D. It was competitive. But the Bears lost
Bowelsman80 - Some improvement, but still, most of us who are not calling for firings, are, at the least, scratching our heads about nearly everything, but the defense.
Sacman701 - Had the team ready to play and the offense made some good halftime adjustments, but we still had too many slow-developing passes on obvious passing downs. There was also no excuse for having a misaligned defense right after calling a timeout to correct that exact issue.
Heyalumnigo - The Passing O was much better in the 2nd half. As i said earlier, whether this was due to a Musgrave change or a UW Pass defense change is debatable.
What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?
Heyalumnigo - I went to the game with my friend and his old-ish parents and we discussed leaving at the end of the 3rd if Cal was out of it. I went into the game fully expecting to leave at the end of the 3rd. Pleasantly surprised we were able to stay until the last possession.
Oaklandishbear - Offense was shit and the defense was fantastic in the first half. Offense finally did some good things while the defense gave up TDs in the 2nd, but the defense got some key stops at the end and did enough to win the game. The offense just couldn't deliver when it mattered.
Sacman701 - This wasn't a bad effort, and would have been more than good enough to beat Colorado. This is basically an average team in every area but the offensive line, which unfortunately is not good enough to allow us to run a full playbook against even suspect defenses. The program does not have the resources to recruit more than a handful of elite players, but it's possible to build competent offensive lines out of 3-star recruits. We have not done that, and we aren't going to consistently get back above .500 until we start doing that.
Bowelsman80 - As we have seen many times, things improve, falter, and prove to be too little, too late. The are commendable moments from our offense, but most of the light giving off from our offense is from the raging dumpster fire. "Fiat Dumpster" might be our new slogan.
KJ1980 - Cal competed. That is a victory of sorts. But the sting (stench?) of the Colorado debacle sticks in my mind. I would love to see a turnaround — or even a minor victory — but, as a long time Cal fan, I can se that it ain’t coming this year.
Mendogriz - This would be an 8 to 10 win team if we had a decent offensive line
1988goldenbear - Better than I had expected after watching the horror show in Boulder. The slow start on offense created such an imbalance in time of possession that the defense eventually broke down in the second half, but we were in a position to tie (or win) the game at the end. If you asked me if I would take that after the Colorado game, I certainly would.
For the first time in awhile I didn't input anything. I hope the Bears can beat Oregon on Saturday.
I'm kind of looking forward to a two-three year slump.
How 'bout y'all?