California Betting Odds Preview
After a promising start the Jeff Tedford era at Cal came to a whimpering end last year. The Bears fell to 3-9, then finally made a change, bringing in Sonny Dykes from Louisiana Tech to take over.
The son of former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes will implement his up-tempo offensive attack that put up big numbers the last couple of years in the WAC, but how that style will play in the Pac-12 is up for debate.
Cal had a dozen starters back last year and was fully expected to at least get back to a bowl. Instead the Bears stumbled through their worst season in a decade, which cost coach Tedford his job. Cal started off by getting upset by Nevada, lost a tough one at eventually undefeated Ohio State, then got beat at USC and at home by Arizona State.
The Bears then showed a little life in topping UCLA and Washington, but the bottom then fell out, and they lost their last five games, the last two in particularly ugly fashion, giving up 59 points to Oregon and 62 points to Oregon State. So Cal finished 3-9 overall, 2-7 in Pac-12 play, and a pocket-picking 3-9 ATS.
This year new head coach Dykes inherits a squad that returns just 11 starters, fewest in the Pac-12. Five starters are back on offense, as the Bears will have to replace their starting QB, last year's top two rushers, their leading receiver, and three along the offensive line. And while six starters return on defense, including future NFL NT DeAndre Coleman, they'll have to replace three of last year's top four tacklers and three starters in the secondary. Also, while Dykes is something of an offensive guru, his defense at Louisiana Tech last year ranked dead last in all FBS by allowing 526 YPG. This year's schedule includes eight games against teams that made bowls last year, and one against a team that went 12-0, which is a tough row to hoe for any team, not to mention one under a new coaching regime.
The Bears start off with a quarter of a Big Ten schedule, hosting Northwestern and Ohio State in the first three weeks, then open Pac-12 play with a road game at Oregon. And things don't get a whole lot easier after that, with visits to UCLA and Stanford and home dates with Oregon State, Arizona, and USC. From afar it seems Cal might only have about three winnable games on its slate.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11
Oregon State +1050
Arizona State +1100
Washington State +6000