California Football Predictions

Written by Vegas Top Cappers | July 31, 2013

California Football Predictions

Jeff Tedford was shown the door following a 3-9 2012 record, and to replace him, the Cal Golden Bears brought in Sonny Dykes, who most recently was head coach at Louisiana Tech for three seasons, compiling a 22-15 W-L mark. Previously, Dykes served at several different schools as an assistant, including Kentucky, Texas Tech and Arizona. Dykes has earned a reputation for his ability to develop standout wide receivers, including Wes Welker at Texas Tech, and Mike Thomas and Rob Gronkowski at Arizona. Dykes is also considered to be a brilliant offensive innovator, and he’s drawn positive feedback for his recruiting prowess.

Tedford finished his time in Berkeley as the Bears’ all-time winningest coach (82-57), in addition to taking the team to eight bowl games in his 11-year tenure. 2012 was the only losing season that the Bears endured during the Tedford Era, punctuated by five consecutive lopsided losses to end the misery. The hope is that Dykes, with his sterling offensive pedigree, can revitalize both the program and the fan base.Junior Allen Bridgford is the only returning QB with experience, but he has more career INTs than TDs, and his game-time has been mainly mop-up duty.

Highly-recruited sophomre Kyle Boehm has all the intangibles and the “look” of the prototypical PAC-12 QB, but so does classmate Zack Kline. Needless to say, determining a starter is going to be critical. There’s a little better outlook with the Bears ground game, but not enough to call it a strength. Brendan Bigelow and Daniel Fasco both had their moments in 2012, but neither causes opposing defenses many sleepless nights.

The story is different with the receiving corps, even with the graduation of the school’s all-time leading receiver, Keenan Allen. Returnees Kenny Lawler, Spencer Hagan, Bryce Treggs and Darius Powe all have experience and talent. The key is finding someone to get them the football, obviously. The O-line has demonstrated above-average pass protect ability, but run blocking is not as impressive. At least four new starters are expected along the front, so teamwork and cohesiveness will be stressed in preseason practice.The linebackers are one grouping that has performed exceptionally well, and all key contributors return, led by Nick Forbes in the middle. This unit is deep, talented and loaded with superb athletes, making them the unquestioned strength of this 2013 Cal team.

The front line, as well as the secondary, has plenty of depth, and in time, will gain experience. However, with learning a new defensive scheme and so many unanswered questions across the board (especially on offense), the defense will undoubtedly be tested early and often. It’s difficult to imagine them being able to sufficiently keep Cal in close games.A tough non-conference schedule (Top 25 preseason picks Northwestern and Ohio State, although both are home games) doesn’t provide any “gimmes” early on, and once they get into conference play, the going doesn’t get any easier. If Dyke’s first Golden Bear squad reaches .500, he should be PAC-12 Coach of the Year, hands down

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