2018 Cal Golden Bears Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 5-7
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 6.5
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
Justin Wilcox could potentially make some big moves in Year 2 at Berkeley. Wilcox was able to coax a competitive season out of a young Golden Bears team last year, squeezing out five wins and a hearty 8-4 record against the spread. But now with one of the most experienced teams in the Pac-12, the Bears could be a surprise team.
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Cal was a bit of a mess offensively last year. They couldn't run the ball at all and were led in rushing by a former walk-on. The Bears finished 89 th in the country in total yards. They have 10 starters back this year, so it is safe to assume some improvement. But do we really know how good quarterback Ross Bowers is?
All five offensive linemen, their top three receivers, and their leading rusher are all back this year. But if they are going to make any strides it will be on Bowers to turn the ball over less and to improve his 59 percent completions.
Cal was competitive last season despite being well below average on defense as well. They were No. 79 in scoring defense and No. 95 in total yards allowed. Of course, that was a major upgrade after the Bears allowed a stunning 42.6 points per game in 2016. Former Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter is back as the defensive coordinator, and if this team is going to make it back to a bowl they will have to improve on this side of the ball.
The Golden Bears opened the Wilcox Era with a stunning upset at North Carolina as a two-touchdown underdog last year. They get the return game to open this season, followed by a trip to BYU and a home game against Idaho State. If Cal can win all three games they will have a lot of momentum heading into a bye week prior to hosting Oregon.
Cal has a four-week stretch in which they have to take on Washington, USC (on the road) and Stanford. The Golden Bears have just one win against those three schools over the last five years (15 games).
This team has a lot of factors pointing up this season. They outperformed their stats last year and were much more competitive than expected. But I still don't think that anyone is jumping on the Cal bandwagon, and I feel like this team is a bit under the radar in a loaded Pac-12 North. California doesn't have the goods to make a real run at winning this division. However, I think that they are capable of pulling an upset or two and being a factor in which team does emerge from the North.
This is a tough number. I would've preferred 5.5. But I still think that this one is within reach. It will be close. But I think Cal will beat Colorado in the season finale to lock up seven wins.
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