The California Golden Bears have gone 5-7 in three of the past four seasons, but 2017 – the first season under Justin Wilcox – had a different feel to it as the 5-7 felt a bit more promising than prior seasons. Cal was competitive in a lot of games last season and has to feel good about its chances moving forward. Now, in year two of the Wilcox era, will the Golden Bears be able to take the next step and become bowl eligible?
Golden Bears 2018 regular season win total
California 2018 regular season win total
Over 5.5 (+100)
Under 5.5 (-130)
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
What Happened Last Year
Cal got off to a 3-0 start that probably gave their fans a bit of false hope as the team limped to a 2-7 finish once Pac-12 play began. However, four of those losses were by 10 points or less and although the record didn’t show it, the Golden Bears showed improvement from 2016 to 2017 and appear to be headed in the right direction.
What Will Change This Year
Not only do the Golden Bears’ players have another year of experience under their belts, but so does Justin Wilcox. The head coach will be in his second year at the helm of the program and will likely be a better coach this year, simply because of the added experience. Add that to the fact that defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter and offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin each have had another offseason to work with their players and things are looking up for Cal in 2018
Ross Bowers, who threw for 3,039 yards and 18 touchdowns (12 intercaptions) a season ago, will be back, but will also have to battle Chase Garbers and South Carolina transfer Brandon McIIwain for the job. Either way, the Bears will have some experience at quarterback to go along with a talented backfield, led by Patrick Laird, who rushed for 1,127 yards last season.
Cal’s schedule also sets up well. The Golden Bears begin the season at home against North Carolina – a team it beat on the road last season – and also plays at BYU and against Idaho State in non-conference. Cal also gets home games against Stanford and Washington and a bye week before taking on oregon to begin conference play.
Outlook & Prediction
Wilcox looks to have things headed in the right direction and while the Golden Bears may not be contending for the Pac-12 North title in 2018, reaching a bowl seems realistic and betting the over looks like a solid play.
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