Cal Football: Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Bears Just Yet

    Cal football is off to a hot, 5-0 start, but you shouldn't buy the Golden Bears just yet as a Pac-12 title and playoff contender. Here's why.

    October 8, 2015

    Sitting at a perfect 5-0 and back in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2010, Cal looks to be a legitimate threat to winning the Pac-12 and potentially even a playoff contender in the eyes of some. With the Golden Bears having cleared the first few hurdles of conference play, featuring college football’s top professional prospect at quarterback in Jared Goff, it’s easy to see why typically apathetic Bears fans feel optimistic.

    But with Cal’s great start, the devil is in the details. The Bears’ first five opponents have been merciful, to say the least. Combined, the five teams have mustered an unimpressive record of 9-13 to start the season and not a single one of them was ranked.

    It’s no comparison to how difficult the road ahead will be for the Bears. Over the next month they will play three ranked teams – two on the road, starting this Saturday night at No. 5 Utah. Cal follows that game up at No. 20 UCLA and a home game against No. 17 USC. The non-ranked team they have on their schedule in the next month? It’s a road game against Oregon at Autzen Stadium.

    And there’s more reason to doubt the Bears’ start. Opponents’ schedules aside, they have a problem of their own to address. With the Pac-12’s seventh-ranked defense – giving up 44 points to Texas—there is cause for concern as the competition ramps up. While this is not a glaring deficiency, it’s the sort of weakness that sets back an untested team like Cal from becoming a threat to win the conference championship.

    Bears head coach Sonny Dykes has brought them a long way from just two years ago when they went 1-11. The trusted analysts say he’s done a lot with the limited talent he inherited – though I don’t know how many new coaches wouldn’t want to be gifted with a 6’4″ pro prospect like Goff. Dykes is to be applauded for turning the Bears around, as he has transformed them into a bowl-worthy team with the potential to win 8 or 9 games. But it’s too early to put Cal into the “elite” category, as the next few weeks may show.

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