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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: Cal game-by-game predictions for 2016

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    This is the season Cal coach Sonny Dykes finally gets his signature victory.

    This is the season Dykes finally ends the oh-fer streak against the teams that matter most to his constituents: Oregon and USC, UCLA and Stanford.

    I’m just not sure when that signature victory comes. When you look at the games individually, identifying the win gets much tougher.

    Lacking clarity, I picked the Bears to lose all four.

    Cal fans will no doubt recognize the arc that I’ve projected for Year Four of the Dykes era. It looks much like the arcs of Year Two and Year Three: Strong start, weak finish. (The schedule, it seems, is always tougher in the second half.)

    Will the defense improve? Can the Bears run the ball effectively when the situation demands it? Will quarterback Davis Webb make a smooth transition?

    The Bears could very well be incrementally better in many aspects but not have the record to show for it because of two difficult non-conference games and the rugged North division lineup.

    Coach: Sonny Dykes
    Season: Fourth
    Record: 14-23
    Win totals by season: 1-5-8
    Job security: He wants Cal and Cal wants him, for now.
    Notable: Cal’s national ranking in total defense, by year, under Dykes: No. 124, No. 124 and No. 109.

    *** Previous installments:

    Arizona predictions
    Arizona State predictions
    Oregon State predictions
    Oregon predictions
    Colorado predictions
    Utah predictions

    Here we go …

    Aug. 27: vs. Hawaii (in Sydney, Aug. 26 PDT)
    Result: Win
    Record: 1-0
    Comment: Plenty of unknowns in this Down Under endeavor, except for this: We know Hawaii isn’t any good.

    Sept. 3: Bye
    Comment: Essential given the travel demands.

    Sept. 10: at San Diego State
    Result: Loss
    Record: 1-1
    Comment: Predicted outcome has less to do with Cal and more with SDSU, which should be one of the best teams on the west coast.

    Sept. 17: vs Texas
    Result: Win
    Record: 2-1
    Comment: Much like last year’s affair in Austin: High scoring, close, and a Cal victory.

    Sept. 24: at Arizona State
    Result: Win
    Record: 3-1/1-0
    Comment: The momentum continues, although this W will prove to be far less impressive by season’s end.

    Oct. 1: vs. Utah
    Result: Win
    Record: 4-1/2-0
    Comment: Catching the Utes at a prime time: After what I expect will be their victory over USC.

    Oct. 8: at Oregon State
    Result: Win
    Record: 5-1/3-0
    Comment: Jared who? Davis Webb carves up the Beavers.

    Oct. 15: Bye
    Comment: The hearts say: Bad time for a break. The knees, ankles, quads and hamstrings say: Speak for yourself.

    Oct. 21: vs. Oregon (Friday)
    Result: Loss
    Record: 5-2/3-1
    Comment: In three games against the Dykes defense, Oregon has scored 55, 59 and 44 points. I’ll peg them for 31 this time and figure that will be enough. (btw: Oregon will also be off a bye.)

    Oct. 27: at USC (Thursday)
    Result: Loss
    Record: 5-3/3-2
    Comment: Granted, the Friday-Thursday schedule is hardly ideal. But Cal won’t handle the Coliseum spotlight well.

    Nov. 5: vs. Washington
    Result: Loss
    Record: 5-4/3-3
    Comment: As the schedule turns relentless, the Bears start wearing down.

    Nov. 12: at Washington State
    Result: Win
    Record: 6-4/4-3
    Comment: Bear Raid’s success against Air Raid continues in a substantial upset.

    Nov. 19: vs. Stanford
    Result: Loss
    Record: 6-5/4-4
    Comment: Is this the year the Bears finally slay their rival? (Last win: 2009.) It doesn’t feel that way, but I’d give them a better shot than they’ve had recently.

    Nov. 26: vs. UCLA
    Result: Loss
    Record: 6-6/4-5
    Comment: Circumstances could work in Cal’s favor: What if, for example, UCLA has the South locked up but is not in the playoff race? But given what we know right now — which is basically nothing — I’ll lean Bruins.

    Coming next: Stanford.

    * Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

    The post Pac-12 football: Cal game-by-game predictions for 2016 appeared first on College Hotline.

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    by Jon Wilner

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