Cal slipped to 5-7 a year ago and hope to rebound in 2022. Does Justin Wilcox have the talent at his disposal to craft a turnaround and surpass their win total (5.5) at the online sportsbook?
With just seven starters returning, it will be an uphill battle. Purdue transfer Jack Plummer is likely to be named the starting quarterback, and Damien Moore leads the running back room, but this offense returns just three starters and is an unproven bunch. Wilcox has schemed a solid foundation defensively, and the Bears allowed only 22.3 points per game a year ago.
Here’s a look at California’s schedule with dates, times, opponents, and analysis:
Week 1 – vs. UC Davis Aggies
Date: September 3
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Cal has won each of the previous 10 games in this series. The Bears will have to be ready, considering Dan Hawkins and UC Davis went 8-4 a year ago, including an upset win over Tulsa.
Week 2 – vs. UNLV Rebels
Date: September 10
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools. The UNLV Rebels are just 2-18 over the last two seasons and enter Year 3 of the Marcus Arroyo era.
Week 3 – at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Date: September 17
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
This is the first time Cal has played the Notre Dame Fighting Irish since 1967 and just the fourth time overall. It’s Year 1 of the Marcus Freeman era in South Bend, and this is a difficult road trip for Wilcox and company.
Week 4 – vs. Arizona Wildcats
Date: September 24
Remarkably, the Bears have lost six straight games in this series. Cal will be hungry for revenge after being Arizona’s lone victory a year ago in a 1-11 season.
Week 5 – at Washington State Cougars
Date: October 1
California has dominated this series, winning 12 of the last 16 meetings. The Bears have won five of the previous seven trips to Pullman.
Week 6 – BYE
Week 7 – at Colorado Buffaloes
Date: October 15
Both teams will enter this Week 7 clash rested off a bye week. Cal has dropped two of its last three trips to Boulder.
Week 8 – vs. Washington Huskies
Date: October 22
The Bears’ schedule gets much more challenging to end the year beginning in Week 8 against the Washington Huskies. Cal has dropped nine of the last 12 meetings.
Week 9 – vs. Oregon Ducks
Date: October 29
A tough two-game stretch begins in Week 9 with a home game against Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks. The home team has won six of the last seven meetings.
Remember: Justin Wilcox declined Oregon’s advances in their coaching search last winter.
Sources: #Cal working on new contract for Justin Wilcox. Talks don't stem directly from Oregon offer. Primary issue isn't Wilcox comp – he wants more resources to build the program (i.e., staff salaries)
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) December 13, 2021
Week 10 – at USC Trojans
Date: November 5
Cal has won two of the last three in this series, however, this is a very different USC program. Lincoln Riley begins Year 1 in Southern California with a loaded crop of transfers led by Caleb Williams, Jordan Addison, Mario Williams, and Travis Dye.
Week 11 – at Oregon State Beavers
Date: November 12
The Bears have won five of the last eight meetings. This is a difficult scheduling spot as the second of back-to-back road games, and the Oregon State Beavers went 6-0 in Corvallis last year.
Week 12 – vs. Stanford Cardinal
Date: November 19
The first of two straight conference home games to end the year. Cal has lost six consecutive meetings against the rival Stanford Cardinal in Berkeley.
Week 13 – vs. UCLA Bruins
Date: November 25
This game will be played on a Friday so both teams will be on short rest and coming off a rivalry game. The Bears have won eight of the last ten meetings at home.