Cal football schedule predictions and early game-by-game preview for 2016. Projecting how the Bears will do this year.
California has several key replacements to make, but can new QB Davis Webb and the offense keep it all going? Can the schedule work out to get back to a bowl game? Check out the preseason predictions for every game.
Aug. 26 vs. Hawaii (in Sydney, Australia)
Who cares that the game’s happening on the other side of the world – it’s college football, and it starts out in Australia a week before the season really kicks in. It would be nice if Hawaii could provide a challenge, but Davis Webb and the Bears’ offense will explode in a breather.
Preseason Prediction: California 45, Hawaii 17
Sept. 10 at San Diego State
The Aztec defense will make a big early statement. The Cal offense will come in looking to keep things rolling after blasting away Hawaii a few weeks earlier, but this is San Diego State’s time at home to show that it’s the real deal with just enough defensive stops to pull it off.
Preseason Prediction: San Diego State 26, California 20
Sept. 17 vs. Texas
It was one of the most thrilling games of last season when Cal held on for dear life in a 45-44 win in Austin. The Longhorns will get their revenge this time around with a pounding running game keeping control of the clock and the game – and keeping Webb and the offense off the field.
Preseason Prediction: Texas 34, California 24
Sept. 24 at Arizona State
The reeling Bears will need something to turn things around in a big hurry after dropping two straight games against hard-nosed teams. It’s not going to happen. ASU will still be rebuilding, and it’ll need some time before the offense is flying, but it should be solid enough at home to get out with a win in the Pac-12 opener.
Preseason Prediction: Arizona State 37, California 31
Oct. 1 vs. Utah
Cal will have problems with the more physical teams like San Diego State, Texas, and this week, against Utah. The Utes will grind down the game and make it ugly at times, overcoming a few big plays from the Bear air attack to control the clock and the game – just like the Aztecs and Longhorns will be able to do.
Preseason Prediction: Utah 27, California 23
Oct. 8 at Oregon State
Finally, the Bears will bust through the rough losing streak and start looking like the team everyone was waiting for. The Beaver secondary should be the strength of the defense, but it’ll be dinked and dunked on to death.
Preseason Prediction: California 30, Oregon State 24
Oct. 21 vs. Oregon
The Bears get a much-needed week off to rest up and prepare for the Ducks. There’s one big problem – Oregon gets a week off, too. The Bears won’t have the defensive front to hold down the Ducks’ offense once it gets rolling – even if it takes a few quarters to get humming.
Preseason Prediction: Oregon 45, California 27
Oct. 27 at USC
It’s a short week against a USC team that gets a full week off to rest up and prepare. The results won’t be pretty at the end, but the Bears will keep up the pace for a few quarters until the Trojans kick in the running game in the second half.
Preseason Prediction: USC 37, California 21
Nov. 5 vs. Washington
The Bears will be counted out and ignored after a horrible start to the Pac-12 season, and Washington will be fired up after a road loss at Utah. The Cal offense will finally kick it all in, even though the Husky defense will be among the best in the league. Everything will click, giving the Bears hope to get the bowl hopes back.
Preseason Prediction: California 31, Washington 27
Nov. 12 at Washington State
Get ready for the shootout of all shootouts. Last year it was a 34-28 Bear win – that’ll be nothing compared to what’s coming. The two teams will combine for over 800 passing yards in a crazy back-and-forth battle that’ll come down to the final drive.
Preseason Prediction: Washington State 48, California 44
Nov. 19 vs. Stanford
Stanford has owned The Big Game with six straight wins, and it’s not going to slow down now as the Cardinal come off the road game loss to Oregon with a tough, determined effort to pull off the win. Once again this year, a pounding, physical team will be able to push past the Bears.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 34, California 23
Nov. 26 vs. UCLA
This would seem like the perfect opportunity for the flaky Bruins to biff a road game they desperately need. And it will be – but they’ll still win. It’ll be a shootout with the UCLA defense failing to show up, but Josh Rosen will win the wild duel with a massive statistical day.
Preseason Prediction: UCLA 45, California 38
2016 Prediction: 4-8
2016 Pac-12 Prediction: 2-7