Rating the Bears: Cal at Washington State
Another beatdown by the Cougs--an inconceivable outcome a decade ago
Ten years ago the Bears defeated Washington State 31-17 in the Palouse to cap an undefeated decade over the Cougs. Over that span Cal averaged an 18-point victory over the hapless Cougs. Since then Wazzu has risen from the Pac-12 basement and blown out the Bears four times in the last nine games. Feels bad, man.
Rating the Bears
Below we have the average rating for each category, and it’s not pretty.
Rush defense earns the only respectable score of the week. At the opposite end of the spectrum, coaching earns the lowest scores of the week. In contrast to the excellent second half last week, this week’s regression on offense and defense did not reflect well on the coaches. That, and the whole why-is-Plummer-still-out-there fiasco.
In one sign of optimism, our predictions of a win over Colorado have risen slightly. Should they be higher considering Colorado is one of the worst teams in FBS? Probably.
It has been a weird, weird collection of games against Wazzu since we started this weekly series. From the Brock Mansion rockfight in 2010 to the 1400-yard, 119-point explosion in 2014, we’ve seen just about everything in this series.
Compared to recent games against the Cougs, Saturday’s ratings were unpleasant. We’re below the median (the horizontal line) in every single category, though none of the categories is below the 25th percentile (the bottom of the white box). So it wasn’t complete futility.
Compared to the rest of the ratings in the Wilcox Era, it was pretty bad, especially on defense.
Everything is below the median and several are at or below the 25th percentile. That’s bad. I’m running out of ways to describe how lousy this performance was, so let’s hand out some awards.
You know the drill: worst ratings, best ratings, closest to average.
Our first goose egg of the year!
Only four passing grades. Not great.
The Voice of Reason
Last week I praised our top two for posting a couple scores in the 2s and 3s. This week the best is a 6.14? Man, you all are as disappointing as the Bears were (I kid, I kid—keep submitting ratings or else I’ll have nothing to write about).
I’m out of words to describe this game, so let’s see what you all said about it.
Any comments on the gameday experience?
KJ1980 - I listened to Joe Starkey. He is a homer, which Zi like. But he never says what happens on a play. And his initial read often is wrong; “no first down” turns out to be first and ten.
Diasfordays - I feel guilty for putting my kids in Cal gear
Bowlesman80 - Streamed through Pac12 app on Apple TV. The comments on WFC were more current than my stream. Uggh, it was like have foreknowledge of disasters. One penalty, 3-n-out, or Coug score at a time. Medieval torture was kinder, IMHO.
1988goldenbear - That was hard to watch. Makes Arizona look even worse and Colorado waaaaaay worse, if that’s even possible. So we better win in Boulder.
Goldenone - About as frustrating a loss we've had in several years.
What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?
John R - I wanted to see a lot more play action and misdirection to respond to WSU's focus on Ott.
Sacman701 - Plummer's topline wasn't bad (23/33 for 273, no picks) but it was basically a handful of big plays and a lot of not much. Pass pro was a big problem again.
Bowlesman80 - Frustration with brief moments of elation. Most a non-factor, except the two clutch catches by Hunter.
1988goldenbear - No time. Whatever worked vs Arizona definitely did not work today. Also, why keep Plummer in after he couldn’t put weight on his right knee? Foolish.
Goldenone - Plummer can't execute and the playcalling sucks anyway
What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?
Sacman701 - Ott was 16-69 which isn't disastrous but he needs to find more space for this offense to be effective. The few non-Ott runs failed miserably.
Texashaterforlife - I wish the reverse play call had been called earlier, and not when the opposing defense calls a blitz. The other Cal RBs need to be used so the opposing defense cannot key in on OTT. And again, some bad communication of blocking assignments for Cal's O-line
Haasbear - The o-line got so overwhelmed today it’s hard to have comments on either pass or rush offense.
What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?
John R - Did their best to win the game singlehandedly.
Diasfordays - “Bend but don’t break” doesn’t work if it turns into “bend and then shatter predictably, repeatedly”. This isn’t Leach’s air raid and this isn’t your seasoned core of Takers.
Texashaterforlife - I do not think Cal has ever performed good on defense with a no-huddle, 4-5 spread receivers, good dual threat QB. Cal's only option is to keep pace on offense to win.
1988goldenbear - Couple of picks on some really poor decisions, but way too many big plays. Looked like we were overmatched.
What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?
Diasfordays - Did really well until Wazzu realized they didn’t actually need to run it because we gave them whatever they wanted through the air <10 yards. And then, the fam finally broke when our defense was exhausted after our offense couldn’t stay on the field.
BTown85 - We got pounded even without Cam Ward using his legs......how demoralizing.....
1988goldenbear - Rushed on the line again. Add in a bunch of missed tackles, and Wazzu was able to run clock and move the ball (and score) pretty easily.
KJ1980 - Pretty stout.
What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?
KJ1980 - No errors. That is good.
Texashaterforlife - Punt kicking was alright, punt team coverage was poor.
1988goldenbear - Many many punts. Good for Longhetto to make that 40+ yarder. Punt coverage wasn’t great either.
What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?
KJ1980 - What was the game plan?
John R - Mystified by the calls not to go for it on 4th down around midfield. Your offense only gets so many real chances against a defense like this, so why not go for it, trusting your amazing defense to hold if you don't get it?
Texashaterforlife - Not sure where to begin because there was many things, and most of it was with the offensive staff. If Cal does not make bowl eligibility, the offensive staff needs to be wholesale fired. A new, younger, more innovative OC/playcaller/playbook is needed. Even with a bowl game, Musgrave might need to retire/move on; and the O-line coach needs to do the same cuz he is old too. Not sure about Plummer's leg injury, but if a change at QB is being discussed by the staff, the bye week is the time to do it with Colorado being the best chance to get experience. Look to the future with Kai Millner. Get him valuable game time so he can improve later this season or for next year. Plummer isn't bad, just won't be more than a game manager.
GoBears99 - Why Is Bill Musgrave such a bad play caller
Goldenone - One of the worst performances by the coaches in the Wilcox era.
What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?
KJ1980 - Standard Cal. Great last week. Mediocre this week
RememberTheCalamo - 13-2, Let's go bears.
1988goldenbear - Sad game to watch. We weren’t competitive past the first quarter.
Haasbear - This was the turning point for me, a winnable game that could have propelled Cal to a contender and we played our worst game of the year. Musgrave should be let go and I don’t know many coaches who get a 3rd shot at an OC.
Texashaterforlife - Colorado and Stanford look like future wins for Cal. That gets us to 5 wins. USC and UCLA look like projected losses. They both have good offenses with duel threat QBs. OSU, UW, and Oregon are toss ups IMO based on their defense and QBs leading their offense. Best case is 8 wins and worst case is 5. my guess at this point is 6 or 7 wins. Hoping for the best; GO BEARS!
Diasfordays - Coaches let the players down. They were wholly unprepared for this matchup and it showed.
Sacman701 - Seems Wazzu's defense is better than Arizona's. We were down just 5 in the 4th quarter, but then the wheels came off. Overall, we were below average in every phase. This defense is good enough to win when the offense is clicking, but not when it isn't. The offense is going to have to do some things differently against better defenses.
This seems like a great time for a bye week. Enjoy it, everyone!