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2013 California Golden Bears
Schedule and Odds
With a new coach, outlooks tend to be exciting for most teams, but the situation in California might not be one that comes to fruition immediately. New head coach Sonny Dykes, formerly of Louisiana Tech, will try and implement the same offense he had last season that led the nation in scoring. It's easier said than done as the Golden Bears return only four starters on the offensive end. Still, after scoring a measly 23 points per game last year and finishing with three wins, improvement shouldn't be too difficult.
Of course, no guarantee Cal will win more than 3 games this year. One need only look at the odds on their first game this year, when they host Northwestern. Like home dogs? Cal is an 8 point home underdog on August 31st. Those odds are available at 5 Dimes Sportsbook as of this writing, mid July.
The question remains at quarterback where Dykes said he won't make a decision until the fall. Obviously, without a trusty QB this offense will continue to struggle. It doesn't get any better in the backfield as their top two RBs are dealing with injuries. Brendan Bigelow will be the starter and already said he'd be full strength for the season so that's a good sign, but he only has 50 career carries to his name. Going even further, the offense lost 2012's top wide out Keenan Allen and three of their starting linemen. As said before, this unit has a long way to go before they'll be able to reach the level Dykes will be pleased with and that probably won't be this season.
California's defense, which also struggled last year, will be switching to a 4-3. The key for them to succeed is that the players returning have to transition to the new scheme smoothly. They'll have six starters returning on the defensive end. It doesn't help that they lost their top two cornerbacks and with games against a lot of big-throwing teams in the Pac-12, that could be a major problem.
2013 California College Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Northwestern
Sept. 7 vs. Portland State
Sept. 14 vs. Ohio State
Sept. 28 at Oregon
Oct. 5 vs. Washington State
Oct. 12 at UCLA
Oct. 19 vs. Oregon State
Oct. 26 at Washington
Nov. 2 vs. Arizona
Nov. 9 vs. USC
Nov. 16 at Colorado
Nov. 23 at Stanford
Let's just say Sonny Dykes has more to worry about than just getting his team together on the field. California's schedule is one of the more difficult ones in the conference. To start, they get to face two Big Ten teams in Northwestern and Ohio State. While both games are at home, both opponents are projected to have good seasons, especially the Buckeyes.
To start conference play, they'll have to travel to Oregon and UCLA in two of the first three weeks. If their road schedule wasn't hard enough, the Golden Bears get to travel to Stanford to close out the season, a team that could be fighting for the No. 1 spot in the country at that point.
If California wants to finish with more wins than last season, they'll need to win games over Washington State, Washington and Colorado. Considering two of those games are on the road, it's going to be tough. With a new coach in a rebuilding season, not a lot should be expected from the Golden Bears.
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