Fall practice is upon us so it is time to bring the blog out of hibernation!
It looks like expectations in Berkeley are pretty high. I was surprised to see the Pac-12 media poll put Cal in 3rd, ahead of Washington (surprising), Washington State and Oregon State (not so surprising). That would suggest they’re anticipating about a 5-4 conference record and one would expect that they would see us going 2-1 in non-conference play (losing to Texas). So a 7-5 season.
I guess that jives with what my expectations are, although I have hopes that Cal can beat Texas. I’d be surprised to see the team go 6-3 or better in conference. There’s an outside chance Cal finally gets the Ax back, but loses to Oregon and USC seem likely and ASU/Utah is the harder of the two cross-division options we have (the other being Colorado/Arizona). When you add in UCLA and even Washington (in Seattle), hard to imagine there’s only 3 losses there.
But, maybe the team takes another big step forward this year.
Speaking of which, so far at fall practice the general feel is that the defense is significantly improved. That would be great news if true. The defensive line is providing good pressure and the secondary has found a nose for the ball, with Evan Rambo alone picking off the ball 4 times in 3 days. Of course, there’s plenty of reason to wonder about all of that. Is the offense regressing? Or perhaps the offense just isn’t in rhythm yet? Or is it all talk and “significantly improved” means they’re not unbelievably horrible (125th in nation), but just really, really bad (100th in nation)? Frankly, I don’t think we’ll really know until they line up against Texas in the 3rd week.
As for the blog, here’s what you can expect this year:
- OTRH podcasts for home games
- OTRH podcast for the Texas game (yes, I’m going!)
- Weekly game preview posts with predictions
- Weekly post-game celebratory posts (or wailing and gnashing of teeth when necessary)
- Occasional mid-week posts as interesting topics come up
- A handful of fall practice posts, including one after the 8/16 practice which I will see in person
So kinda the same as the last couple years.
Here’s hoping for a great season in Berkeley!