Cal Football Update: Cain’s Probably-Too-Naive Midseason Recap
Six games down, and Cal is out here surprising everyone. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that we’d be 5-1, with solid road wins at Texas and Washington … I’d have told you to fuck off with that nonsense (but really in my head I’d be convincing myself that you were 10000% correct and we’d be on our way to winning the National Championship).
But lo and behold, this is actually real life. We don’t stink. Jared Goff is awesome. Go bleeping Bears.
So here’s a quick recap of each game:
Grambling State (Home)
First off, I had no clue where Grambling State was located. I wasn’t even sure they were a real school. Had to look them up:
Joke was on me! Here I was questioning whether or not this was a real university when in fact, not only is it a real university, but there’s a Panda Express like 50 feet away (true story, I was once walking out of a Panda Express next to the Oakland Coliseum when Coco Crisp rolled through the drive through in his Bentley convertible, like 3 hours before first pitch). Pros eat Panda Express, that’s a fact, so no way could I underestimate this team now.
This one was close for maybe the first two drives. Goff even threw a pick. But then Cal figured it out and blew this thing open in the first 15 minutes. Grambling State has an awesome band, though.
Beer Enjoyment Score: 10+++ (had about a million happy beers, great day)
San Diego State (Home)
This game was seen as a test for the Cal defense, which at this point was still considered one of the worst in the universe. Yes, the starters pretty much held Grambling State scoreless, but could they do the same when facing SDSU’s offense?
Didn’t start off that well for Cal, when SDSU scored on a touchdown pass to a wide open TE. Closest defender was honestly somewhere in Oakland.
Sphincters were tight for the first half, but Goff did his thing, and after scoring on a 75-yard GoffBomb 10 seconds into the second half, things were pretty much done. Most exciting part after that was when my wife got stung by a bee in the Young Alumni section and had to hunt for an ice pack. Buuuummmerrrrr.
Beer Enjoyment Score: 6.5 (would’ve been higher, but that bee was no joke)
Big game for Cal. It was time to avenge Aaron Rodgers and the 2004 Bears, who were shafted from playing in their first Rose Bowl since 1959.
Fast forward. Cal is up 21 heading into the 4th. I’m at a bar, loving this game. Happy beers! Guy next to me finishes his drink, pays, gets up and loudly proclaims, “Yeah, this one is done, time to get outta here.” Me, in my head — “Welp, dude jinxed it. Fuuuuuuu-”
Texas scores. And scores. And with just over a minute left, scores again. Down 1, with a gimme extra point away from basically heading to overtime. This was it. This was where the Cal season falls apart. Enter the Texas kicker, Nick Rose:
MISSED. EXTRA. POINT. Cal wins! In hindsight, I’m not sure how I didn’t predict it. Dude’s hair is wiiiiiiiide right. Should’ve known. Definitely dodged a bullet on this one.
Beer Enjoyment Score: 8, until we choked and dropped the score down to a -4, until the Texas kicker super-ultra-choked, and the score shot up to 9.9999999. Many happy beers were had after this game. Probably too many.
Pac-12 opener against a team we hadn’t beat since 2008, and hadn’t beat in Washington since 2006. But at 3-0, and coming off a victory over Texas, this was a HUNGRY Cal team.
Shaky start, but the Cal offense took over this game, and the defense was actually — dare I say it — IMPRESSIVE. Sure, they gave up 24 points, but any of the last two years, we’d have lost 90 – 45. Looks like Dykes finally realized the point of the game is to STOP the other team from scoring.
Beer Enjoyment Score: 8.5 (1-0 in the Pac-12 so fill me up with happy beers kind of day)
Washington State (Home)
Over-confidence kicks in at this point, so all week I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was a trap game for Cal. Especially when we were finally ranked, #24, for the first time since 2010. And it sure looked like a trap game heading into the half, down 21-13.
So who’da thunk it that this would be the defense’s coming out party? Four forced turnovers, seven sacks, 1 special teams TD after we clobbered the WSU punter on a fake. The Cal D kept them in the game, and Goff tossed 4 GoffBombs like it was nothing. Loved it.
Beer Enjoyment Score: 9 (comeback victories sealed at the very end = bonus points)
Ugly game from Cal. Goff threw 5, count’em, FIVE, picks. Combine that with the fact that I was watching this on the Sling TV app on my Xbox One that still sucks balls, and this was a game I wish I could forget.
Of course, I’m a cup half full guy, so here’s my takeaway: Cal was in position at the end of the 4th to drive down and score a game-winning TD. Five interceptions from Goff and six turnovers altogether, and we could still have won. At Utah. The #4 team in the nation. If you really think about it, that’s what great teams do. So … maybe we’re a great team?
Beer Enjoyment Score: 3 (sad beers all around)
Second half predictions: this is when the schedule gets rough. I’m thinking:
4 – 2 in the second half to end the season with a 9 – 3 record. GO BEARS!*
* Will probably go 1-5 and I’ll cry myself to sleep.