California Golden Bears Football: 2015 Season Preview and Prediction


The third year for Sonny Dykes should be his best one with the California Golden Bears with QB Jared Goff among the best arms in the country.

Sonny Dykes had the big improvement that he needed last year after he led the Cal Bears to a 5-7 record after an atrocious 1-11 season in his first season in Berkeley in 2013.

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After making tremendous progress with star quarterback Jared Goff in the last two seasons, could the Bears make it to a bowl game this year?

Offensive Outlook

The offense starts and ends with Goff who should go down as the most prolific quarterback in program history after starting since his freshman year. He led the No. 6 passing offense last year when he threw for 3,973 yards and 35 touchdowns for the nation’s No. 11 scoring offense. His third year in Dykes’ Bear-raid offense should see his numbers eclipse the 4,000-yard barrier and approach 40 touchdowns.

Cal may be a pass-happy school with Dykes and Goff but the running game offers some balance with senior Daniel Lasco returning after a 1,115-yard season with 12 touchdowns. There isn’t much proven depth behind him but look for sophomores Vic Enwere and Tre Watson to vie for carries with junior Khalfani Muhammad.

Wide receiver is stacked with Kenny Lawler leading the unit after he led the team with 54 catches for 701 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games as a sophomore last year. In fact, Cal returns 328 of their 329 receptions from last year so this unit isn’t lacking for experience. Stephen Anderson, Bryce Treggs, Trevor Davis, Darius Powe and Maurice Harris will all get opportunities in this offense.

Defensive Outlook

As potent as the Cal offense was last year, that’s how bad the defense was last year when the Golden Bears defense allowed 39.8 points per game, only five teams allowed more points than them. They allowed at least 31 points in their last games and set a record for the most touchdown passes allowed with 42.

So there’s nowhere to go but up, right?

Getting defensive end Kyle Kragen back after he missed last season due to mono will help as will beefing up the defensive line in the offseason, including the transfer of former USC lineman DeVante Wilson who transferred in from junior college. Todd Barr, Mustafa Jalil and James Looney have to find a way to generate a pass rush otherwise the Bears defense won’t be better.

Linebackers Michael Barton, Hardy Nickerson and Jalen Jefferson have a lot of starting experience already are the team’s top three returning tacklers and should be the strongest part of the defense. But the secondary is the Achilles heel of this team. It was as ugly as anything we’ve seen last year and with injuries keeping guys off the field in spring practice, there isn’t much hope that this year will be anything different. Darius White and Stefan McClure have to be effective leaders on the back end.


Goff will challenge USC’s Cody Kessler for the honor of being the top quarterback in the Pac-12 and the offense should rack up points to rank as one of the 10 best scoring offenses in the country. But if Cal if going to get to a bowl game they’re going to need to win games 45-42 every week with the state of this defense.

That’s not a sustainable model of success and their schedule looks daunting with road games at Texas, Washington, Utah, UCLA, Oregon and Stanford. I think they’ll need to win at least two of these to get bowl-eligible if they go 4-2 in their home games against Grambling St., San Diego State, Washington State, USC, Oregon State and Arizona State.

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