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Oregon State Football: A Midsummer’s Opponent Preview - California Golden Bears (Game 8)

Could the Golden Bears be a lurking darkhorse in the Pac-12 this season?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 05 Oregon at Cal Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

California Golden Bears

  • Head Coach: Justin Wilcox (5th Season)
  • 2020 Record: 1-3 (1-3 in Pac-12)
  • Last Meeting: 11/21/20 - California 31, Oregon State 27
  • Key Returners: QB - Chase Garbers, LB - Cameron Goode, LB - Kuony Deng

The Skinny

With a defensive minded head coach in Justin Wilcox at the wheel for five seasons now, you knew the adaptation of California from an air-raid based offensive juggernaut to a team who hangs their hat on their defensive prowess was bound to come eventually. However, just how good the Golden Bears can be heading into 2021 may surprise those who expect a chalk scenario at the top of the Pac-12.

California is ready to crash the party in the Pac-12 North, as long as their offense can carry it’s own weight.

NCAA Football: California at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Chase Garbers is returning for another go-round, as is his backfield parter Christopher Brown Jr., a one-two combo that give the Golden bears a steady backfield who can contend with nearly any in the Pac-12. They’ll also have their top receiver in Kekoa Crawford return to the fold and a stable crew of pass-catchers who should all be able to strut their stuff behind an offensive line that can get the job done.

Personally, I love California’s offense and what the Wilcox’s group brings to the table on that side of the ball.

NCAA Football: UC - Davis at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Now on defense, the linebacking core is destructive and imposing, anchored by Cameron Goode and Kuony Deng, two of the best linebackers on the west coast. They should carry the load to make up for a secondary and defensive line that has some questions, but will be under the tutelage of coaches whose bread and butter is over-performing with undermanned units.

So can it really be done now is the question? California was a trendy choice before the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed the normalcy of last season and across the board, the program’s depth and balance is solid, yet not elite. So will we see an uprising in the Golden State unlike years past or will it be another campaign of what could’ve been for California?

Player To Watch

Christopher Brown Jr. - Running Back

California v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A 2020 Doak Walker Award Preseason Candidate before he was sidelined by injury, Christopher Brown Jr. is primed for a crucial comeback campaign in 2021 that will rely mostly on his consistent health. In 2019, when Brown played a full campaign, he racked up 8 touchdowns on the ground on over 200 carries, while adding 4 more scores through the air as a versatile threat out of the backfield.

Game Info

  • Date: Saturday, October 30th
  • Time: TBD
  • Location: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, Oregon)

A Midsummer’s Opponent Previews