Originally posted on College Football Zealots  |  Last updated 7/21/13
2012 Record: 3-9 (2-7 in Pac-12) Head Coach: Sonny Dykes (first year at Cal, 22-15 at La Tech) Last Bowl Game: 2011 Holiday Bowl: lost to Texas 21-10 Stadium: Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, CA (capacity = 63,186) Home Field Advantage: ranked 57th out of 69 BCS teams Schedule Glimpse: 2013 Schedule Link Out of Conference: 8/31 vs Northwestern, 9/7 vs Portland St, 9/14 vs Ohio State Toughest Home Conference Games: 9/28 at Oregon, 10/12 at UCLA, 11/23 at Stanford Toughest Road Conference Games: 10/19 vs Oregon St, 11/9 vs USC   Statistical Snapshot: 2012 Statistics Link Stat to Fear: scored TDs on just 47.37% of red zone trips (last in Pac-12) Stat to Cheer: held opponents to 80.70% success rate in red zone (5th in Pac-12) Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 79th out of 124 teams   Personnel: Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 5, Defense: 6, Special Teams: 1 Key Defensive Returnees: LB Nick Forbes (85 tackles), DT Deandre Coleman (44 tackles) Key Offensive Returnees: RB Brendan Bigelow (431 yds rush, 9.8 ypc, 3 TD), WR Chris Harper (41 rec), G Jordan Rigsbee Top 2013 Recruits: DE Takkarist McKinley, QB Jared Goff, CB Cameron Walker   Verdict: Jeff Tedford's eleven year run at Cal came to an end with his worst performance as a head coach with the Golden Bears finishing 3-9 and winning just two conference games. The Golden Bears now turn to Sonny Dykes, who is fresh off a 9-3 season at Louisiana Tech. Can Dykes breath new air into this program? Dykes learned from coaches like Hal Mumme and Mike Leach so you can bet that this team with throw the ball around a bit but he ran the ball as much as he passed at La Tech so look for a balanced attack from this squad. As the Tedford era is over, the Zach Maynard era has also come to a close. Maynard's back-up last year Allen Bridgford has transferred so that leaves Dykes with a starting QB who has no experience at this level. All signs point to red-shirt freshman Zach Kline getting the first crack at running the offense. At RB, Cal has a weapon in Brendan Bigelow but with his size he's going to need someone like Daniel Lasco to help him carry the load. Keenan Allen departs but the receivers should still be a strong unit with Chris Harper, Bryce Treggs and TE Richard Rodgers. Cal's OLine will need to be re-tooled as they return just 28 career starts among them. The defense will move from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and they have their top three defensive linemen from last year back to help them out. Nick Forbes anchors a LB corps and will be joined by Penn State transfer Khairi Fortt. The defensive backfield loses three starters so will have a bit of rebuilding to do. The are holes in this defense but it's hard to believe they will be worse than last years defense that saw a slide of nine ppg allowed from 2011 to 2012. This will be a better Cal team but they have a pretty brutal schedule. Their three non-conference games are Portland State (ok that's a win), Northwestern (gulp) and Ohio State (double gulp). The Pac-12 had eight teams with winning records last season and Cal has to play seven of them this year (missing out on Arizona State). I like the hire of Dykes and it certainly looks like he has some tools to play with but I think it's going to take more than half a year to get the Golden Bears out of the bottom of the conference. Prediction: 4-8   Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews: ACC- Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest Big 12- Kansas, Kansas St, Texas Tech Big Ten- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue C-USA- ECU, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, Tulane, UAB, UTEP, UTSA Independent: Army, BYU, Idaho, Navy, New Mexico St, Old Dominion MAC- Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, EMU, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo, UMass, WMU MWC- Air Force, Colorado St, Fresno St, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, SDSU, SJSU, UNLV, Utah St, Wyoming Pac-12- Washington State SEC- Arkansas, Vanderbilt Sun Belt- Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, ULM, WKU The American- Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, Temple, UCF, UConn, USF
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