There are few places to go but up for this California Golden Bears program.
Last season, Cal finished 1-11 and found itself at the bottom of several statistical categories. With a similar schedule this season, don’t expect too much more in terms of wins.
8/30 at Northwestern: LOSS
California could not defend the running game well last season, finishing 10th in the Pac-12 Conference in rushing defense. The Wildcats used to run the ball with multiple tailbacks, but now they have one returning veteran in Treyvon Green, who seems ready to take the bulk of the snaps this season. Look for him to torch the California defense.
9/6 vs. Sacramento State: WIN
While the Hornets did earn five wins last season, they lost horribly to Arizona State by a score of 55-0. Even though California wasn’t dominant in the Pac-12, it still belongs to that conference. This one won’t be a blowout, but it will be the first win for the Golden Bears, giving them an identical start to 2013.
9/20 at Arizona: WIN
The Golden Bears could have a shot in this game. Without running back Ka’Deem Carey and mobile quarterback B.J. Denker, the Wildcats are suddenly searching for offense. The Golden Bears did not win a game on the road last season, but that streak has to end somewhere.
9/27 vs. Colorado: WIN
The Buffaloes were the Golden Bears’ counterpart in terms of losses last season. While California finished at the bottom of the Pac-12 North, Colorado was in the depths of the Pac-12 South. However, the Golden Bears seem to have more weapons this season with returning players at the skill positions, while the Buffaloes have lost their top wide receiver, Paul Richardson, to the NFL.
10/4 at Washington State: LOSS
Having to go on the road against a WSU program that is on the rise is going to be too much for this young California squad. It might not be as big of a blowout as it was last year when the Cougars defeated the Golden Bears 44-22, but it is reasonable to expect a loss here. The Golden Bears were the worst in the Pac-12 in pass defense last season as well, so they will have a tough time containing the Air Raid offense that Mike Leach’s Cougars use.
10/11 vs. Washington: WIN
This is a transitioning Huskies team, as it has lost leading rusher Bishop Sankey and quarterback Keith Price. Former head coach Steve Sarkisian left to coach USC so the Huskies are reeling. The Golden Bears can steal one at home against a normally good Washington team.
10/18 vs. UCLA: LOSS
This is the beginning of another late season breakdown by the Golden Bears. While the losing streak won’t be as long as it was in 2013, it will begin here. The Bruins retain their three top rushers, Myles Jack, Paul Perkins, and Jordon James. Redshirt junior quarterback Brett Hundley is back, and he can score by throwing the ball through the air and carrying it on the ground. He also rarely turns the ball over. The Bruins also blew out the Golden Bears last season with these same players.
10/24 Oregon; Santa Clara, Calif.: LOSS
While it’s not in Autzen Stadium in Oregon, the Ducks’ offense runs anywhere and everywhere. This California program isn’t developed enough to give quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Ducks a run for their money.
11/1 at Oregon State: LOSS
Senior quarterback Sean Mannion will be making it rain in Corvallis for this game. The Golden Bears’ pass defense will show its vulnerability once again while facing one of the Pac-12’s premier passers.
11/13 at USC: LOSS
Going on the road against what figures to be fast offense under new head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Golden Bears will be exhausted and beaten down in this matchup. Don’t forget, they allowed the Trojans to score 62 points during last season’s matchup, and 41 of those came in the first half alone.
11/22 vs. Stanford: LOSS
The only team to put up more points against the Golden Bears than USC was the Stanford Cardinal. They dominated California in the season finale last season, scoring 63 points and holding the Golden Bears to only 13. Expect seniors Kevin Hogan and Ty Montgomery to hook up often in this one, en route to another big win over the Golden Bears.
11/29 vs. Brigham Young: LOSS
The Golden Bears will likely struggle against BYU, and will be discouraged by their long losing streak heading into this matchup. BYU ranked 22nd in the FBS in points allowed, meaning their defense is formidable. This one will probably be low scoring, but BYU quarterback Taysom Hill has the ability to break free on the ground, so if one facet of the offense isn’t working, he can make things happen another way.
2014 Cal Projected Record: 4-8 (3-6)