California Golden Bears
Even with Jared Goff in tow last season, California still finished with a losing Pac-12 record, while going 8-5 overall with a bowl win over Air Force. With Goff gone in addition to plenty more on both sides of the ball, reaching more wins may be out of the question for Sonny Dykes in his Fourth season as head coach.
Something that should help is the addition of quarterback Davis Webb, who transferred over from Texas Tech at the end of May. While he’s coming in later than some of the other options, no one really stood out in spring practices and Webb should be the starter come the first Game. Webb has experience in an open offense, with 46 career touchdowns spent with the Red Raiders. The problem for Webb and this year’s offense is that they also lost most of their receiving options from a year ago. Freshman Melquise Stovall stepped up in the spring Game, but there’s no telling whom the top receiver for Cal will be this year.
The running Game will be fully intact, though, with Four starting offensive linemen returning to the mix. The Bears will likely use a committee again out of the backfield between Khalfani Muhammad (586 yards), Vic Enwere (505 yards, 8 TDs) and Tre Watson (504 yards). But even with Webb and a decent running Game, it’s hard to see this offense being as good without Goff leading the way.
And then there’s the defense, which has often been a detriment to this team since Dykes took over. Sure, they have gotten better every year under coordinator Art Kaufman, but are still below average on a national scale. The strong suit will be on the line with DeVante Wilson and James Looney the biggest names. However, there are more than a few questions on the back end. Their best linebacker transferred out while top safety Damariay Drew injured his knee in the spring and his timetable was still unknown after practices were done.
The Golden Bears started last season ranked after starting 5-0 with wins over Texas, Washington and Washington State. Things may be a little tougher this year with a road Game at SDSU and a tougher Texas team. It’s not that California has a more difficult Schedule, it’s just that the Golden Bears aren’t as good as they were a year ago. To reach eight wins, they’ll need to find an upset or two in the Schedule, whether that’s in the beginning of the year in home Games against Utah and Oregon or in November against Stanford or UCLA.
There are definitely winnable Games, but Cal’s over/under was set at 6 wins for a reason (under 6 -210 at 5Dimes). However, Webb should give the offense a boost and if the defense doesn’t get worse, there is definitely room for six wins. But if Webb doesn’t work out, there is also room for six straight losses to close the season against the Pac-12’s best teams.
2016 California Golden Bears Football Schedule
Aug. 26 vs. Hawaii (Australia)
Sept. 10 at San Diego State
Sept. 17 vs. Texas
Sept. 24 at Arizona State
Oct. 1 vs. Utah
Oct. 8 at Oregon State
Oct. 21 vs. Oregon
Oct. 27 at USC
Nov. 5 vs. Washington
Nov. 12 at Washington State
Nov. 19 vs. Stanford
Nov. 26 vs. UCLA