2017 Football Preview – Pac 12 – Golden Bears
Looking for 2017 California Golden Bears predictions? The Golden Bears finished in fifth place in the Pac-12 North Division last season with a 3-6 record in conference and a 5-7 record overall. The big question with all programs is, from year to year, can we improve? That question is particularly important for this group, however, considering new head coach Justin Wilcox is entering his first season at Cal.
NCAA Football Gambling Lines
- 2017-18 College Football Preview – California Golden Bears
- Head Coach: Justin Wilcox
- 2015 Record: 5-7
- California Golden Bears Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: 500/1
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With a new coach on board, Cal is looking to turn things around long-term. But if it happens to see a jolt in the right direction this season, nobody in Berkeley will complain.
2017 California Golden Bears Predictions: Team Strengths
The Passing Game: The California offense from 2016 shouldn’t be considered elite, but it did a nice job of replacing Jared Goff. The team scored an impressive 37.1 points per game, which was good enough for 22nd in the nation.
The Golden Bears also ranked 20th in total yards and sixth in total passing yards this past season.
A big part of this success came from wide receiver Chad Hansen. Out of all Power 5 Conferences, Hansen led the nation in receiving yards with 124.9 per game this past year.
The bad news? Hansen is gone to the NFL. The good news? This squad should still be able to bomb away, no problem.
Defensive Experience: Nobody is going to claim that Cal’s defense was good last year. But if the Golden Bears can hang their hats on anything on that side of the ball, it’s that most of the crew remains.
I know, I know. Why is that a good thing? Well, if we’re being honest, this is more a silver lining than a strength. But there’s something real about a team growing with the same pieces year after year.
In college football, you get four, five years max to do that. Cal now has a chance to improve upon last season with DeVante Wilson as the only starter no longer with the program.
2017 California Golden Bears Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Running Game: Cal’s running game was practically non-existent last season.
In 2016, the Golden Bears ran for just 154.3 yards per game, which was only good enough for 88th in the FBS. That ranking drops to 98th when you look at total yards on the season.
This season, Cal should be improved on that end with a new coach running the show, seeing as the team was just 111th in terms of rushing attempts a year ago. But more attempts will only do the team good if it can be more efficient while pounding away on the ground.
Last season, the Golden Bears averaged just 4.5 yards per carry, which put them at 65th in the nation.
Run Defense: During the 2016-17 campaign, opposing teams had all the success in the world running against this squad—specifically on first down. call a rushing play on first down — any rushing play — and it ended up in
If an opposing squad called a rushing play—whether down the middle, to the outside or anything in between—it almost always ended up in second-and-short. California gave up 6.15 yards per carry, which was worst in the nation.
It also gave up 32 rushing touchdowns, which landed it the penultimate spot in the Pac-12 rankings.
California Golden Bears Prediction: 5-7
When a team is rebuilding its program, it’s fair to ask what will make a successful season.
As far as the Golden Bears are concerned, making a bowl game would be a huge victory.
Unfortunately for Cal, the North Division in the Pac-12 is going to make that difficult. To be completely honest, this division has the potential to lock down the title of the nation’s toughest division by the time the year comes to a close.
California reaching six wins is doable, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point in the process.
2017 California Golden Bears Football Schedule
- 9/2/17 12:20 PM ET @UNC
- 9/2/17 12:20 PM ET @UNC
- 9/9/17 5:00 PM ET WEB
- 9/16/17 10:30 PM ET MISS
- 9/23/17 TBD USC
- 9/30/17 TBD @ORE
- 10/7/17 TBD @WASH
- 10/13/17 TBD WSU
- 10/21/17 TBD ARIZ
- 10/28/17 TBD @COLO
- 11/4/17 TBD ORST
- 11/18/17 TBD @STAN
- 11/24/17 TBD @UCLA
What do you think about our 2017 California Golden Bears predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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