California College Football Preview

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California Golden Bears

College Football

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Schedule and Odds

California wasn’t a bad team last year and that showed after a 4-2 start. However, their problems also showed up in those Games after allowing 115 points in back-to-back wins. The Golden Bears finished the year with five wins and have their sights set on a bowl Game this time around.

ACCording to 5 dimes sportsbook, Cal is a 350 to 1 shot to win the National Title and 30 to 1 to win the PAC 12. The Golden Bears are also listed as +9.5 point underdogs at Texas on Sept 19th and -7 point favs at home against Washington State on October 3rd.

The offense should once again be able to put up a bunch of points. Quarterback Jared Goff returns to one of the best passing attacks in the nation that led to 38.3 points per Game. Eight starters return in all and Goff is getting rated as possible first-round material for next year’s NFL Draft. The pieces are there on the offense for Goff to improve on 2014’s 35 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Chris Harper may be gone from the receiving corps, but every other relevant receiver is back. Kenny LAwler (54 receptions), Bryce Treggs (52 receptions) and Stephen Anderson (46 receptions) are at the top of a deep group.

Their backfield is also filled with depth including starting senior running back Daniel Lasco (1,115 yards, 12 TDs). The offensive line was the biggest question going into the season and the unit looked to have sorted itself out. ACCording to the coaches, the line was one of the most improved units on the team in the spring. If they improve, the offense may be one of the best in the nation.

California’s defense was absolutely brutal a year ago, giving up 39.8 points per Game as well as having the worst pass defense in the country. Art Kaufman is in his second year as coordinator and things are looking up with seven starters returning. The line goes two-deep, but production will need to start showing up for that to mean anything. The linebackers are deep as well with Hardy Nickerson leading the charge, but this group could even go three-deep. The biggest question mark, as was the case last year, is the secondary. Things are still a work-in-progress for them as the group was beat-up the entire spring, causing Cal to run just 52 plays in their scrimmage.

California’s Schedule is more difficult than a season ago so getting to those six wins won’t be easy. San Diego State is a good test early in the year, but getting back-to-back road Games at Texas and Washington may be the team’s bigger focus. An upset over a team like Texas would be a huge confidence-booster. They are the perfect team to upset the Longhorns as well, with a great offense and shaky defense because Texas is the opposite. The Golden Bears’ road Schedule doesn’t get any easier with Utah, UCLA, Oregon and Stanford remaining. In fact, California may have the toughest road slate of any team in the country. On the other end of that, they will have winnable Games against Washington State and Oregon State at home. However, to get six wins, they may need to pull a road upset, unless they win all six at home.

Entering his third season as the head coach, Sonny Dykes has this team heading in the right direction. If the defense can improve, the offense should be able to do the rest. Expect five or six wins for the Bears.

2015 California Football Schedule

Sept. 5 vs. Grambling State
Sept. 12 vs. San Diego State
Sept. 19 at Texas
Sept. 25 at Washington
Oct. 3 vs. Washington State
Oct. 10 at Utah
Oct. 22 at UCLA
Oct. 31 vs. USC
Nov. 7 at Oregon
Nov. 14 vs. Oregon State
Nov. 21 at Stanford
Nov. 28 at Arizona State

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