A trip to Berkeley ends the regular season for the the Cougars, lets take a look at what they will face.
- Sat Nov 29 in Berkeley, CA at California Memorial Stadium.
- 2013 Record - 1-11 (0-9 in Pac 12)
- Coach - Sonny Dykes (1-11 in one season at Cal)
To put it lightly, the struggle was real for Cal last season, going 1-11 with the only win coming against Portland State. New head coach Sonny Dykes led a team composed of mostly underclassmen with little experience, including true freshmen Quarterback Jared Goff. To give you an idea of how devoid their roster was of experience in 2013, Phil Steel ranked them 125th on his Combined Experience Chart. There were only 12 seniors on their 99 man roster. This year Cal comes in at number 36 on that same chart (BYU is 27th.)
The Last time these two teams played was in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2005, resulting in a Cal victory 35-28. That Cal team was led by current NFL stars Marsawn Lynch and Desean Jackson. It will likely be a very different match-up this time around.
Although Cal struggled to score points all season long, they showed flashes of the dangerous air raid offense, ranking 11th in the country with 331.4 passing yards per game. They return starting quarterback Jared Goff and their leading receivers Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs. In total they will return 8 starters from their 2013 offense. The main concern for them will be injuries and experience on the offensive line.
Coach Sonny Dykes runs the "Air Raid" offensive system that he learned under Mike Leach at Texas Tech as the Receivers coach and then as Offensive Coordinator where this system put up record breaking numbers. In their first year they threw the ball well consistently but struggled to run the ball effectively and put points on the board, averaging 23 points per game.
We should probably take into account the fact that they were facing some high-powered offensive opponents including Oregon and Ohio State, but this defense was one of the absolute worst in the nation in 2013. It gave up an average of 45.9 points per game, ranking 125th in the nation (There are 128 teams in Division 1)
They return 6 starters from this defensive unit and will be hoping for young players to make huge improvements from last year. They will get defensive end Brennan Scarlett back from injury which should help to form some semblance of a pass rush. Their secondary was dreadful last season, but return basically all of their rotation players, for better or worse.
Their defense can only go up from here.
What to Expect:
Cal has what many think to be the toughest schedule in the country this season. As a team in a transition phase, this could definitely be another tough year for Cal in the win column, and it may be coming into this game against BYU anxious for the season to be over. That being said, this by no means is a team we should be overlooking. Quarterback Jared Goff will likely be better than last season when he threw for 3,500 yards, and he will test the BYU secondary. BYU will have to be physical and stay mentally strong in the last game of the season to get a win on the road in Berkeley.