It’s been kind of a blah time for sports at the University of California-Berkely recently. It’s a college basketball school first, but they haven’t had a Jason Kidd type play-maker in a awhile. The Pac 10 has been down the last few years, so Golden Bears wins on the hardwood ring a little more hollow. When it comes to college football, you’re not seeing any more Aaron Rodgers or Kyle Boller type QBs passing through Sather Gate.
But all is not lost, the Golden Bears get to live in a very pleasant climate, the school’s academic reputation is as prestigious as you’ll find among BcS schools, there’s a nice hippie vibe on campus, there’s weed available everywhere if that’s what you’re into, and there’s hot Asian girls every where you look on campus. And it could be a tough season in Berkley, as they’ll play all their home games at AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Giants. They’ll also have to practice on a campus rugby field as Memorial Stadium gets a renovation.
2010 was: pretty mediocre in most areas other than the passing game and pass defense. Cal couldn’t throw the ball to save their lives (94th nationally), but they also prevented their opponents from doing the same (21st nationally). Despite giving up 30+ points to four opponents and 40+ to three foes, the Bears finished an impressive 18th nationally in total defense. California finished 5-7, 3-6 in a very mediocre conference
BMOCs: QBs Brock Mansion (what an awesome name that is) or Zach Maynard, whoever wins the derby in training camp this fall. WR Keenan Allen, Punter Bryan Anger (another sweet ass name) is a Ray Guy Award favorite. LB Mychal Kendricks is a Nagurski award candidate.
2011 will be fruitful if: The Golden Bears can find a legitimate quarterback and a real passing offense. A lot of that hinges on them finding a replacement for the departed Shane Vereen. Junior Isi Sofele is the leading candidate has he has the most experience of anyone still on the roster (81 carries). But expect huge things from Brendan “Bam Bam” Bigelow, who’s recovering from a knee injury, but a huge talent.
2011 will be awful if: The Bears defense can’t carry the load all year. It’s the strength of the unit, but if they’re on the field too long, if/when the offense struggles, it could be another below .500 campaign.
Bottom Line: They’ll need to go back to a bowl in order for Jeff Tedford to sleep a little easier. Cal suffered their first losing season in his nine years on campus. The Pac 12 North may not be very accommodating though, and they’ll need excellent special teams and a few breaks to have a winning year.
Cal Rankings: #54 Athlon, #55 Lindy’s, #42 Phil Steele
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Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on TwitterFollow paulmbanks