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Archive for December, 2019

End of regular season thoughts

What an up and down season, huh?

  • Start with 4 wins and get ranked
  • Lose 4 straight after Garbers goes down, including two games that still stick in the craw (ASU and OSU).
  • Finally break the losing streak versus WSU (phew!)
  • Only to get exposed for lack of defensive backfield size/talent against USC
  • But manage to hobble together a couple of shakey wins against 2 mediocre teams (Stanford and UCLA)

In the end it’s a season of “what ifs”:

  • What if Garbers hadn’t gotten injured?
  • What if we were on the Colorado/Arizona cycle instead of the far superior Utah/ASU cycle?

But 7-5 is what I expected in my pre-season game-by-game prediction post, but the wins were a bit different. I expected losses to UW and UCLA and wins over ASU and OSU. And in some sense, I feel pretty good about that pre-season prediction.

So the question becomes should we be happy about the wins and losses?

One metric I like to look at is how many games went “wrong” based on finishing record. In that sense, it went as it should have. All the better teams (Utah, Oregon, USC) beat Cal and all the worse teams (WSU, Standford, UCLA) lost to Cal. Of the teams we tied in conference (UW, ASU, and OSU), we went 1-2. Particularly when one accommodates where Garbers was missing, it’s hard to criticize that 1-2.

(Also worth noting is my level of upset-ness about the OSU loss was wrong. Turns out OSU was much better than I thought.)

In the end I think it comes down to this: The program seems to be headed in the right direction overall and its biggest problem was that there wasn’t any depth at QB. While that’s a little disappointing in year 3, there are worse crimes. There is potential in Branch… he’s just young. Plus, if Bowers had stuck around there would have been more depth.

Considering the team is still young and we’re only losing a couple of important players (obviously Weaver being the most notable), there’s reason to hope that 2020 could be a break-through season if a few chips fall the right way.

Go Bears!