2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 69 California Golden Bears
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the California Golden Bears
No. 69: California Golden Bears
California Golden Bears Prespring Status
For all the fireworks and all the fun and the end of the Sonny Dykes era, Cal only came up with five wins thanks to a defense that wasn’t even close to stopping the run – finishing with the second-worst run D in the nation – while allowing close to 43 points per game. Now it’s up to Justin Wilcox to try fixing all of that.
After years of cranking up the offense, now Cal is going the other way, getting Wisconsin’s former defensive coordinator as the head coach, and hiring former Fresno State head man Tim DeRuyter as the DC. The offense isn’t getting ignored, bringing aboard former Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin as the offensive coordinator. At the very least, it’s a good-looking staff that should change things around.
California Golden Bears Biggest Issue
Where are all the offensive stars? QB Davis Webb is gone, top back Khalfani Muhammad is done, and leading receiver Chad Hansen is leaving. Throw in the loss of two good O linemen, and the dangerous attack has to replace six key parts. Fortunately, Cal gets back Demetris Robertson and Marquise Stovall to the receiving corps, and Tre Watson and Vic Enwere are good backs, but the attack needs a triggerman to make it all go.
California Golden Bears Biggest Positive
Wilcox and DeRuyter have a slew of veterans to work with. The defense might not have been able to stop anyone, but four of the top five tacklers – and seven of the top nine – are back. There’s good depth across the board, with a good rotation coming up front, everyone returning to the linebacking corps, and three starters back in the secondary. Now the whole group has to be better.
Really, Why Are The California Golden Bears Ranked Here?
It’s going to be a different team. The offense is going to be a lot worse, the defense is going to be a lot better, and if it all works out in Wilcox’s first season, this should be a bowl team with one extra win – but it’s going to take a few upsets to get there. It’s going to be a process, but you probably won’t have Cal to push around anymore.