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College Hotline - Cal football: Grading the Week (What’s next? A special edition)

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    As noted earlier, different approach this week: Less game review and more looking ahead to unresolved issues.

    Result: Lost at Stanford 35-22

    Grade: C-

    Comment: Expected the Bears to provide greater resistance.

    Yes, yes, yes: They were on the wrong end of a terrible non-call on the Christian McCaffrey kickoff return that gave Stanford control.

    (The officials somehow failed to see a blatant holding penalty by Stanford on kicker Matt Anderson, which left Sonny Dykes understandably irate. There are missed calls all the time; that one was inexcusable.)

    But the Bears didn’t help themselves with awful tackling, penalties, poor Red Zone execution and settling for field goals in a game that required touchdowns.

    Bottom line: There’s still a significant gap between Cal and Stanford … and Oregon and USC and UCLA.

    Dykes is 0-12 against those four, and in only one of those losses (UCLA, last year) did the Bears have a legitimate chance to win in the final minute.

    Which brings us to …

    What’s Next: Arizona State, and Dykes’ future.

    In this particular case … when you’re a third-year coach who lacks a signature win … when you start the season 5-0 … when you have a quarterback of Jared Goff’s caliber … the difference between 6-6 and 7-5 is greater than one game.

    Dykes needs this one, badly. He needs it for bowl positioning and for appearances and possibly to better his leverage with Cal and in the job market. (There are loads of vacancies out there.)

    We’re not going to delve into whether the Bears should extend his contract — he has two years left — and whether he wants to stay … and whether Cal should want him to stay.

    I have plenty of thoughts on those matters, but we’ll leave them to next week.

    But it’s fairly clear to me that if Dykes stays, the offense needs to change. It doesn’t work, at least not in the games that matter.

    The Bears cannot protect Goff consistently, cannot run the ball consistently and cannot score touchdowns consistently against the league’s upper tier.

    They haven’t scored 30 points since Oct. 3. And 30 isn’t many these days, folks. (Yes, I’m discounting the Oregon State game, because 0-8 teams cannot be a measuring stick of any sort.)

    If you dig a tad deeper, the final tally is actually inflated — the Bears have scored several TDs in garbage time:

    Goff to Muhammad when it was 40-16 with two minutes left against UCLA.

    Goff to Treggs when it was 35-16 with 1:44 left against Stanford.

    Heck, two of the TDs against Oregon came with the Bears trailing 31-13 midway through the third quarter and the outcome sealed.

    Again removing Oregon State from the equation: Cal is averaging 26 ppg in league play.

    26 ppg

    And this is with Jared Goff.

    If he decides to turn pro — if he’s tired of getting pummeled without a paycheck to show for it — how are the Bears possibly going to score touchdowns that matter?

    If Dykes returns, the offense needs to change.

    As for Arizona State …

    The Sun Devils are 4-4 in league play and haven’t won on the road since early October.

    Aside from the surprising win at UCLA, they have only beaten the league’s lower tier: Washington (3-5), Arizona (3-6) and Colorado (1-7).

    The Bears are favored by three points in what could very well be Goff’s final home game.

    Need to win.

    Should win.

    Will win.

    Or else … ?

    Continue reading...

    by Jon Wilner

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