California Golden Bears 2012 Football Preview

Tailback Isi Sofele is entering his senior season with Cal
2011 Record: 7-6; 4-5 Pac 12
2011 Bowl: 10-21 L to Texas @ Holiday Bowl
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Odds to win BCS: 300/1
Odds to win Pac 12: 20/1
Odds to win Pac 12 North Div: 7/1

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The Golden Bears are going to be relying on a bunch of freshman receivers. Zach Maynard will have his hands full with that group, whose inexperience will pose problems, but he does at least still have his half brother Keenan Allen to help with the duties.

Allen was his favorite target last year and was All Pac 12 first team. The other returning receivers have a combined four catches, though, so they will be counting on their highly regarded freshman to step up. Bryce Teggs, who was a five star recruit, will be at the top of that list.

Their ground game will be a little more definite with Isi Sofele back after rushing for 1300+ yards last season and C.J. Anderson is a good backup. Sophomore Brendan Bigelow and redshirt freshman Daniel Lasco are both on the rise, too. So, expect the Bears to do a good bit of running, while at the same time trying to develop their WRs for the future. They are a team in transition.

Their OL returns three starters but has lost All Pac 12 first team tackle Mitchell Schwartz.


The Bears defense was their major strength last year, as they finished 1st in the Pac 12 in yards allowed, surrendering only 322 per game, which also ranked them 25th nationally. They have some holes this year, including the loss of 2011 Pac 12 DPOY Michael Kendricks. D.J. Holt is gone, too, and they lost both DEs Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu; and also safeties Sean Cattouse and D.J. Campbell. That’s a whole lot of talent to replace.

The backups don’t have a ton of experience, so it’s pretty right to expect a regression for the Bears from their awesome defense of last year. Inside linebacker will be the least experienced of the positions, as Robert Mullins and Nick Forbes have very little game time under their belts. DE DeAndre Coleman has seen time as a backup and Mustafa Jalil played sparingly as a true freshman. Josh Hill will start at safety and does have a lot of experience, but not all of it at the safety position.

Nose tackle Aaron Tipoti has all the makings of an All Conference type of player and Chris McCain and Cecil Whiteside have a lot of talent to help solidify the outside linebacker positions, They also have two excellent cornerbacks in Steve Williams and Marc Anthony. The hope for Bears fans is that the experience and talent at these positions offsets the numerous holes I have already mentioned.

Special Teams

Cal lost their punter Bryan Anger. True frosh Cole Leininger will step in there. Vince D’Amato will be the new kicker.

Returning the ball, they rely on Allen for punt returns and Bigelow for kick returns.


Cal fans are stoked to have a great facility now that their stadium was renovated. They are still going to have issues at receiver, as mentioned, but the excitement of a new facility and a talented incoming core of freshman will keep fans spirits high.

Still, the team has been around .500 for three years straight and despite the reasons to be pumped, there’s little hope for anything much better, as Athlon magazine predicts a win better than that at 7-5. They don’t really have much of a chance of winning the North Division with Oregon at the top, but are the second favorite along with Washington, so aiming for second in the division is a realistic and palpable goal for the Bears.

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