Hey, remember when the Cal Bears were in first place in the Pac 12 North? It wasn’t that long ago, really. It was actually the beginning of October. Since being 4-1, the Bears are now 4-4 and in danger of slipping under .500 for the first time this season if they lose at Oregon State this Saturday night.
But while that should be somewhat of a concern to Bear backers, Cal fans ought to be more concerned that Cal could very easily be on a six-game losing streak and 0-6 in the conference instead of 2-4.
Consider that Cal’s first conference win was a 59-56 double-overtime victory over the Colorado Buffaloes, a game that could very easily have gone the other way. And the 60-59 win over Washington State was, well, you know what happened there. The Cougar kicker biffed a 19-yard field goal with 14 seconds to play.
The counter-argument is that Cal could be 4-2 instead of 2-4 in conference if Arizona doesn’t come down with the “Hill Mary” and if the Bears scored on the final drive against UCLA instead of getting intercepted. A turnover was the only way the Bears weren’t scoring on that drive, and that’s exactly what happened.
But neither the best-case nor worst-case scenarios occurred. Instead, November will come along and Cal will be at .500, needing two wins in their final four games to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. That’s a scenario few outside the program expected when the season began.
Sonny Dykes has the team moving in the right direction overall, and Jared Goff has shown sure signs of growth at quarterback. The Bears may not be in first place anymore, but they sure aren’t in last place. You may remember that’s where they were all of last year. With that in mind, being at .500 or close to it doesn’t look bad at all.