Sonny Dykes was one of the hottest names in the coaching ranks this offseason before eventually taking on the head coaching job with the Cal Bears. He takes over a program that plateaued under former head coach Jeff Tedford and will be charged with turning around the program. Cal fans and faculty may want to practice some patience in that turnaround, however, as Dykes tries to overcome an absolutely brutal Pac 12 schedule.
The biggest obstacle to the Bears’ turnaround won’t be talent because Cal has talent on both sides of the ball. The fact that they are installing drastically new systems on both offense and defense may be a hiccup, but it ultimately won’t be the reason Cal continues to finish near the bottom of the Pac 12 North Division. Dykes has improved the level of recruiting already and Berkeley is flush with new facilities and new uniforms, making drawing new talent a non-issue.
Cal faces one major hurdle that will pose a major problem to getting Cal back to the top of the conference; the rest of the conference. Specifically, the rest of the Pac 12 North. Cal has to play four very good to excellent teams every season, with a pair of top five teams in the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks along with strong top 25 caliber programs like the Washington Huskies and Oregon State Beavers.
Established teams ahead of them in the division will it a Herculean task for Cal to get back to the top of the division anytime soon. The Bears have the talent to steal a game or two next season, but there is too much talent in the rest of the division for Cal to expect a quick fix.
Better days are coming to Berkeley, but Bears’ fans will have to show some patience before they get there.