Redbox Bowl will be a chance for Oregon, Pac-12 to prove itself

By: Eric He

SAN FRANCISCO – Sitting in front of the assembled media at the Redbox Bowl press conference on Friday, Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal was asked a question about his incoming recruiting class in 2019, which is ranked sixth nationally by 247Sports.

He mentioned his previous employer, Alabama, where he spent four seasons as an assistant coach under Nick Saban.

“That needs to be the expectation,” Cristobal said. “One of those classes is fine, but you need to put two, three, four together to make the team what you want it to be. At the previous place I worked, people often asked, ‘What’s the secret sauce?’ The secret sauce was stacking six No. 1 classes together.”

Then, unprompted, he talked about the challenge of taking on Michigan State’s top-ranked run defense ahead of Monday’s bowl game at Levi’s Stadium.

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio at the Redbox Bowl press conference on Friday (photo by Eric He)

“This is not a top-5 or top-10 defense,” Cristobal said. “This is the No. 1 run stopping defense in America. They’re one of the top defenses in America, period.”

He continued with a breakdown of the Michigan State defense and what makes it so good — the Spartans allow just 81 yards per game on the ground.

“They did it to everybody they played against, whether it be Ohio State or Penn State,” Cristobal said. “We understand that this is certainly a different type of test that we’re facing.”

Offensive lineman Shane Lemieux said Michigan State’s tape lines up with the statistics.

“A couple of weeks ago, I compared [their defensive front] to [Washington] but they’re a lot better,” Lemieux said.

Cristobal and Lemieux may not have said it explicitly, but by namedropping other programs, their statements underscored the importance of how Oregon performs on Monday not just for itself, but also for the sake of the Pac-12. The conference — reeling from a woeful 1-8 record in bowl games in 2017 — is already off to an 0-2 postseason start in 2018, with Arizona State losing in the Las Vegas Bowl and Cal falling in the Cheez-It Bowl. Washington State takes on Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl later Friday.

Ignore the fact that Oregon and Michigan State enter the Redbox Bowl with identical 5-4 conference records, and the Ducks having one more win than the Spartans — Oregon has more to prove in this game.

Sure, bowl games have become increasingly tossed aside as unimportant, with more and more players sitting out as to not risk injury. And the Redbox Bowl hardly qualifies as a bowl game worth gushing over. But bowl games remain one of the few opportunities for cross-conference matchups, to compare and contrast styles of play, to see how one established program from one part of the country fares against another.

In that context, to say the Pac-12 has hurt its brand nationally in postseason play would be an understatement. Last year, USC, the conference’s marquee program, was embarrassed by Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl. It did not matter that the Trojans had future NFL lottery pick Sam Darnold at quarterback; the Buckeyes seemed on a completely different level.

This year, USC didn’t even make a bowl game. That, in and of itself, is indicative of the state of the Pac-12.

Meanwhile, Michigan State enters Monday’s game unsatisfied with a 7-5 season. Several players volunteered that they had underachieved.

“Some other teams are excited about getting six wins,” head coach Mark Dantonio said. “That’s not really where this program is right now.”

The Spartans finished in the middle of the pack in a conference that includes Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, arguably the toughest division in college football. Finishing above .500 in conference play in the Big Ten is far more impressive than a similar clip in the Pac-12, which did not even come close to placing a team in the College Football Playoff.

If the Pac-12 is to change its perception and reputation, Oregon might be the program to begin the turnaround. The Ducks will be a team to watch next season with its loaded recruiting class and crop of returning veterans, including quarterback Justin Herbert, who was projected to be the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

“The sky’s the limit for these guys,” said senior safety Ugochukwu Amadi. “I give it 2-3 years, these guys could win the national championship.”

A win over a Big Ten program in the Redbox Bowl would be a strong start toward that end.

Spartans and Ducks to meet on Monday in Redbox Bowl

Photo credit:

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO — With bowl preparations all but done, it is time for the game for the 17th annual Redbox Bowl between the Michigan State Spartans and the Oregon Ducks.

The Spartans, coached by Mark Dantonio are looking to end the 2018 with a two-game winning streak, as they look for their second consecutive win in a bowl game.

It was on this date last year, the Spartans ended their 2017 season on a high note, as they defeated the Washington State Cougars 42-17 in the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

This is the third time that the Spartans have finished their season in the state of California since the 2013 season.

It was on January 1, 2014 that the Spartans won their first Rose Bowl since 1988, when they came up with a huge defensive stop in defeating the Stanford Cardinal by the final score of 24-20.

Overall, this is the seventh time that the Spartans have made a bowl appearance in the State of California.

The Spartans are a perfect 6-0 in their previous bowl games in the Golden State, as they are 4-0 in the Rose Bowl, 1-0 in the aforementioned Holiday Bowl and 1-0 in the now defunct Silicon Valley Bowl.

In those six games, the Spartans are 4-0 against Pac-12 teams and 1-0 against teams from the Mountain West Conference.

This is the 10th time that the Spartans have played in the Bay Area, and the first since facing the CAL Golden Bears on August 30, 2008, where the Golden Bears defeated the Spartans 38-31 at Memorial Stadium.

The Spartans made their Bay Area debut against the University of San Francisco Dons, and went back to East Lansing with a 14-0 victory on November 27, 1937.

Almost two years later, the Spartans returned to the Bay Area, to face the Santa Clara Broncos; however, the Broncos defeated the Spartans 6- 0 on November 11, 1939.

On October 18, 1941, the Spartans once again faced the Broncos, and once again, the Broncos defeated the Spartans 7-0.

Seven years later, on November 27, 1948, the Spartans faced the Broncos for the final time and the game ended in a 21-21 tie.

Almost eight years later, on September 29, 1956, the 3rd ranked Spartans defeated the 12th ranked Stanford Indians (now Cardinal) 21-7 at Stanford Stadium.

Three hundred seventy-two days later, on October 5, 1957, the second ranked Spartans defeated the CAL Golden Bears 19-0 at Memorial Stadium.

In the next meeting between the Spartans and then Indians, Stanford upset the then sixth-ranked Spartans 16-13 on September 28, 1962.

The Spartans would not return to the Bay Area until they faced the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Silicon Valley Bowl on December 31, 2001 and lost to the Bulldogs 28-21 at Spartan Stadium on the campus of San Jose State University.

In their last trip to the Bay Area, the Golden Bears defeated the Spartans 38-31 under the lights at Memorial Stadium.

This season, the Spartans ended the regular season with a 7-5 record under Dantonio and are coming off a 14-10 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Spartan Stadium on November 24.

Eleven members of the Spartans team earned All-Big Ten honors, including first-team members in Junior Linebacker Joe Bachie, Sophomore Placekicker Matt Coghlin and Junior Defensive End Kenny Willekes.

The Spartans defense under Defensive Coordinator Mark Tressel, are ranked number one in the country in total rush defense, as they allow only 81.3 yards per game on the ground.

Brian Lewerke leads the Spartans offense, as the quarterback played in 10 games this season, as the redshirt Junior went 162-for-299 for 1,868 yards passing and also threw eight touchdowns, while he was picked off 10 times.

Senior Running back L.J. Scott will be playing in his final game for the Spartans, as he played in just four games and carried the ball 55 times for 180 yards.

Lewerke’s top target at wide receiver was Junior Wide Receiver Darrell Stewart, who hauled in 39 catches on the season. Cody White picked up the most yards thru the air, as he gained 491 yards.

Bachie was the team leader in tackles, as he picked up 94 tackles on the season and also intercepted one pass. Andrew Dowell was not far behind Bachie, as he ended the season with 90 tackles. Willekes led the Spartans in sacks, as he picked up 8.5 sacks in 12 games.

Still smarting from loss to Stanford, Oregon releases their frustration on Cal in 42-24 win

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, Calif. — Among the numerous elements contributing intrigue to Saturday’s Oregon-Cal matchup, one factor stood out: Ducks’ quarterback Justin Herbert–the loosely defined best player on the field–had the ability to hand deliver the outcome for his team.

And the result? Yeah, Herbert was good as advertised, but he sure had a lot of assistance from his pissed off Oregon teammates. In a mere matter of minutes before halftime the whole puzzle interlocked, and the Bears saw their 10-7 lead evaporate into an insurmountable 28-10 deficit.

Oregon cruised to a 42-24 win behind Herbert’s 225 yards passing and two touchdowns. But the real stars were Herbert’s ax safe teammates–on both sides of the ball–who were fiercely committed to erasing the memory of last week’s epic home loss to Stanford.

As always under coach Justin Wilcox, the Bears were fastidiously prepared and engaged, just outclassed by Oregon. Turnovers hurt; Oregon’s Drayton Carlberg sacked Brandon McIlwain, who fumbled, and watched LaMarr Winston Jr. race 61 yards on a scoop-and- score, the capper to Oregon’s 21-point explosion before halftime.

Bigger issues were presented by the Ducks’ speed and quickness in their defensive front, and their robust run game that was a question coming in due to injuries. Starter Tony Brooks-James, nicked up in the Stanford game, was only used on kickoffs. But backups Travis Dye and CJ Verdell both ran for over 100 yards as the Ducks found success running, which reduced the pressure on Herbert in the passing game.

Cardinal pull off come-from-behind win 38-31 to knock off Oregon

Photo credit: @StanfordFball

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, September 22, 2018

The No. 7 Stanford Cardinal used a dramatic, late comeback Saturday to upend the No. 20 Oregon Ducks 38-31 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. The Cardinal overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half.

Colby Parkinson hauled in what became the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime, beating numerous Duck defenders to tip a 23-yard scoring pass to himself from K.J. Costello at the goal line.

On fourth-and-goal to send the game into a second overtime, a pass by Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was tipped and intercepted by Lameen Murphy in the end zone to wrap up the Cardinal’s victory.

After Stanford recovered a fumble on its own 43-yard line with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Jet Toner connected on a 32-yard field goal as time expired in regulation play, sending the game into overtime.

Costello threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns for the Cardinal (4-0).

It was Oregon’s first loss after three victories.

Oregon jumped to a 24-7 lead, but the momentum shifted when the Cardinal’s Joey Alfieri returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

Bryce Love, who sat out last week’s game against UC-Davis to convalesce, ran for 89 yards and a 22-yard touchdown late in the third quarter that cut the Ducks’ lead to 24-21.

Cyrus Habibi-Likio’s 1-yard touchdown run extended the Ducks’ lead to 31-21 with 4:39 to play. Stanford then answered with a 15-yard TD pass from Costello to JJ Arcega-Whiteside making it 31-28 before Sean Barton’s fumble recovery set up the game-tying field goal.

No. 7 Stanford visits No. 8 Notre Dame next Saturday at 4:30 pm PDT.

Three takeaways from SJSU at Oregon

Photo credit: @SJSUSpartanFB

By: Ana Kieu

After thousands of folks predicted that the San Jose State Spartans would suffer a blowout from the No. 20 Oregon Ducks, SJSU proved those folks wrong. No, SJSU didn’t pull off an upset over Oregon (though, that would’ve been one of the biggest storylines in the college football world), but they lost by just 13 points, 35-22, at Autzen Stadium.

Here are three takeaways from SJSU at Oregon. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

3. Underdogs, maybe? 
The Spartans came into Autzen Stadium as 41.5-point underdogs. Not even the Spartan fans were confident in the Spartans coming close to the Ducks, but the Spartans managed to beat the spread, which was a step in the right direction.

The Spartans shook off a slow start after trailing the Ducks 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. SJSU scored six points in the second and third quarters and 10 in the fourth quarter. Oregon held on for a 35-22 win for a 3-0 record. Yes, SJSU’s record fell to 0-3, but the hapless Spartans put up a gutsy show against a talented Ducks team. The Spartans just need to refresh themselves during the bye week and build momentum for the SJSU Homecoming game vs. Hawaii on September 29th.

2. Solid Spartan defense
The solid Spartan defense looked good–if not, great–against the high-octane Duck offense. Also, the Spartans’ kicking game looked spectacular. Bryce Crawford went 3-for-3 on field goals. Two of Crawford’s field goals came in the second quarter–a 31-yarder and 28-yarder–and the latter came in the fourth quarter–a 25-yarder.

Also, the Spartans’ special teams caught the eyes of Spartan fans everywhere. Of course, there was the blocked field goal; but there was also Thai Cotrell’s amazing return game. Cotrell had two kick returns for 121 yards, However, one of Cotrell’s stood out and that was his 96-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. Cotrell’s kickoff return was a career-long (and the longest kickoff return) by a Spartan player without scoring a touchdown in school history.

1. Struggling Spartan offense
The struggling Spartan offense needs a tune up in the bye week. So the bye week couldn’t have come at a better team for the Spartans, whose wide receivers were tormented by the Ducks’ substantial secondary.

Sure, Josh Oliver and Bailey Gaither were the bright spots when it came to Spartans’ wide receivers, but this past Saturday proved to be too much for the Spartan offense. The Ducks’ aggressive pass rush was another factor that stifled the Spartan offense.

Although the Spartans had offensive struggles, they still had a lot to be happy about their most recent road performance. There’s nowhere to look, but up.

Before I hit the publish button, I’d just like to wish Jeremy Kelly and Duane Tuitasi their respective belated birthdays. Have a great bye week, guys.

SJSU shows improvement, despite 35-22 loss to Oregon

Photo credit: @lawrencefansjsu

By: Ana Kieu

The San Jose State Spartans had a tough customer in the No. 20 Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Autzen Stadium is one of the best stadiums in the country. Both Ducks and Spartans fans flocked to Eugene, Ore. to watch their favorite teams go head-to-head with each other. Though, the latter lacked in quantity in the Pacific Northwest. Still, this FBS and Pac-12 matchup was a sight to see.

Turnovers have been an issue for the Spartans, who suffered from another mishap Saturday. Josh Love’s pass was intercepted by Jevon Holland early in the first quarter. Then, the Ducks took a 7-0 lead at the 11:18 mark after four plays over 23 yards in a 1:36 span. Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown. Zach Emerson’s PAT kick was good.

The Spartans have struggled with moving the ball and the deficiencies showed when the Ducks took a 14-0 lead with 7:10 left in the first quarter. Jacob Breeman scored a 66-yard passing touchdown off a pass from Justin Herbert. Emerson’s PAT kick was good.

The Ducks led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Spartans finally got on the board at the 10:56 mark of the second quarter. Bryce Crawford kicked in a 31-yard field goal to reduce the SJSU deficit to 14-3.

The Spartans worked some more magic into the scoreboard. Crawford kicked in a 28-yard field goal to cut the SJSU deficit to 14-6 with 2:58 left in the second quarter.

The Ducks, however, extended its lead to 21-6 just 30 seconds later. Johnny Johnson III scored a 39-yard passing touchdown off a pass from Herbert. Emerson’s PAT kick was good.

The Spartans shocked most of the 54,000 fans in attendance as Tre Webb tipped the ball to Dakari Monroe with only seven seconds left in the second quarter. This was Monroe’s second interception of the season.

The Spartans trailed the Ducks 21-6 at halftime. But SJSU’s offense has started to wake up and that was a good thing.

Josh Oliver made a flawless catch off a pass from Josh Love for a 7-yard passing touchdown with five minutes left in the third quarter. The Ducks challenged the Spartans’ play, but the call on the field stood. The Spartans then went for the two-point conversion, but it was overturned as Bailey Gaither was unable to slide his foot. The score stood at 28-12 in favor of the Ducks.

The Spartans trailed the Ducks 28-12 at the end of the third quarter.

The Ducks expanded its lead to 35-12 at the 14:49 mark of the fourth quarter. Johnson III scored his second touchdown of the game–a 22-yard passing touchdown off a pass from Herbert–and Emerson’s PAT kick was good.

Crawford kicked his third field goal of the game–a 25-yard field goal–just 1:07 later to bring the Spartans within 20. The Ducks held on to a 35-15 lead.

Spartan fans breathed a sigh of relief as the Spartans scored its first touchdown of the game to pull within 13. Malik Roberson scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown for his first of the season. Crawford’s PAT kick was good. The Ducks held on to a 35-22 lead with 4:03 left in the fourth quarter.

There weren’t any brownie points in college football, but the Spartans put on a much-better show at Autzen Stadium, despite the 35-22 loss to No. 20 Oregon.

Spartans’ starters
Offense: Montel Aaron, Justin Holmes, JaQuan Blackwell, Malik Roberson, Jackson Snyder, Trevor Robbins, Jake Colman, Deano Motes, Troy Kowalski, Bailey Gaither and Josh Oliver.

Defense: Jesse Osuna, John Toussaint, Tre Webb, Sailosi Latu, Boogie Roberts, Bryson Bridges, Dakari Monroe, Jonathan Lenard Jr., Tysyn Parker and Ethan Aguayo.

Up Next 
The Spartans have a much-needed bye week and then return to CEFCU Stadium to host the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Saturday, September 29 at 4:00 pm PDT.

SJSU to take on No. 20 Oregon on Saturday

Photo credit: @SJSUAthletics

By: Ana Kieu

Things aren’t going to get any easier for the San Jose State Spartans, who will take on the No. 20 Oregon Ducks this coming Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. at 2:00 pm PDT. Of course, you can check out the action on the Pac-12 Network.

SJSU’s record: 0-2 (0-0 MW). The Spartans got blown out 31-0 at Washington State on Sept. 8.

Oregon’s record: 2-0, (0-0 Pac-12). The Ducks downed Portland State, 62-14, on Sept. 8, to earn a spot in the national weekly polls.

Play-by-play radio coverage: KLIV 1590 AM originates SJSU football broadcasts. Justin Allegri calls the play-by-play, while Kevin Richardson provides commentary. The Oregon broadcast begins at 1:30 pm PDT with a pregame show.

SJSU’s network affiliate is KION 1460 AM/101.1 FM.

Television: The Pac-12 Network will provide play-by-play coverage of the SJSU-Oregon game. Roxy Bernstein calls the play-by-play. Anthony Herron provides analysis and commentary. Lewis Johnson is the sideline reporter.

DISH Network subscribers can watch the game on Channel 409.

For local Comcast subscribers, the Pac-12 Network is on Channel 433.

Weekly press conference: The weekly SJSU football press conference is in the Simpkins Stadium Center Gold Room on Mondays at 1:00 pm PDT.

The Mountain West Network streams the press conference live through The press conference also is archived at

Series history: The Ducks lead the series, 12-6. These teams split their last 10 meetings and are playing each other for the first time since 1998 when No. 22 Oregon routed SJSU, 58-3, on Sept. 19. In that game, current Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo became the third SJSU freshman to start a game at quarterback since freshman eligibility was reinstated in 1972.

By design, Arroyo played the first and third quarters. He completed 9-of-16 passes with an interception and led the Spartans to their only scoring drive of the game–a 33-yard field goal by left-footed kicker David Silberstein–in his first year on the SJSU football home game statistics crew.

The Ducks have wins in the last three meetings between these teams. Oregon’s 1985 and 1986 victories preceded SJSU in 1975, 1982 and 1983. The Spartans’ 1975 victory was by the highly unusual score of 5-0.

Last win over a ranked opponent: SJSU plays its first nationally-ranked opponent of the season Saturday at Oregon. The last time the Spartans defeated a nationally-ranked opponent was on November 29, 2013 in a 62-52 triumph over No. 16 Fresno State in San Jose. Since then, the Spartans are 0-3 against nationally-ranked opponents.

First-time starters: Sophomore Trevor Robbins at center, redshirt freshman Jesse Chamberlain at right guard, junior Jesse Osuna at a linebacker position. Senior John Toussaint at cornerback and sophomore Tre Webb were first-time starters in the UC Davis season opener.

In the WSU game, wide receiver Austin Liles, offensive tackle Deano Motes and defensive back Tre White made their first starts at the major college level.

Three interceptions at WSU: SJSU’s three interceptions against Washington State has the Spartans ranked tied for fifth nationally in team interceptions with four entering the Oregon game. Osuna, cornerback Nehemiah Shelton and linebacker Kyle Harmon each had their first major college interception in the WSU game. Dakari Monroe had an interception against UC Davis.

Tops at his position: For the second consecutive week, Josh Oliver is the leading pass receiver among FBS tight ends. After two games, Oliver has been averaging 6.5 receptions a game and has 13 catches for the season.

He is the only TE listed among the FBS top 50 pass receivers in games played through Sept. 8. His 137 receiving yards also is tops among FBS TEs. UCLA TE Caleb Wilson is close with 128 yards on eight receptions.

Oliver caught a single-game career=best eight passes for 86 yards in the opener vs. UC Davis and five balls for 51 yards at WSU.

Nine of his 13 receptions this season resulted in a SJSU first down.

Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball Podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: Cardinal got game against Oregon schools; Can they do the same against in Utah and Colorado this week?

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

On the Stanford Men’s Basketball Podcast with Jerry:

1 The Stanford Cardinal in their last contest got back at the Oregon Ducks for last year’s loss with a crushing 96-61 win at Maples Pavilion last Saturday.

2 The Cardinal were only behind once in the game down 11-10 in the first four minutes until the Cardinal’s Dorian Pickens sank a three-pointer and Stanford never looked back.

3 After the Cardinal started the season with a 5-1 record they had three straight loses to Arizona, UCLA, and USC. The Cardinal turned things around in their last homestand with two wins over Oregon State and Oregon and improved their record to 13-11.

4 The Cardinal and Ducks were matching each other on the scoreboard but the Cardinal in the second half had a breakout half at one point outscoring the Ducks by 35 points.

5 Stanford opens a three-game road trip beginning tonight in Utah, and then moving onto Colorado on Sunday, and concluding the road trip the following Sunday, February 18th at Cal.

Jerry does the Stanford Cardinal Podcasts each Thursday at

Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball Podcast: After beating OSU, can Cardinal get back on track again vs. Ducks tonight?

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

By Matt Harrington

PALO ALTO–The Stanford Cardinal (12-11) started this two-game homestand with a win past the Oregon State Beavers (11-10) 80-71. Stanford head coach Jerod Haase came into the game last Thursday with some expectations. It had been some time since the Cardinal won a ball game dropping three straight and winning five straight before the skid. The thing that Haase is trying to teach his players is that when you have a big lead hold onto it and put on the gas.

There was a point in the game that it was 56-48 and it looked like Oregon State was going to be let back into that game, but Stanford battled and kept the game going wire to wire. That was a big win for them Thursday against the Beavers, they got loses in UCLA and USC in the Southland. They had to right the ship in a hurry after OSU ran off two 9-0 scores, but the Cardinal got back their lead up to 1 with three minutes left after Kezie Okpqala’s floater shot.

Matt Harrington does the Stanford Cardinal Podcasts each week and Joey Friedman has coverage of tonight’s Oregon-Stanford game at



Big Game aftermath: Cal, Dykes have a lot of work to do

By Morris Phillips

The 116th Big Game needed to be Cal’s last stand, their final opportunity—win or lose–to show that their football program was headed in the right direction with major improvement coming in 2014.

Instead, the Bears suffered the worst loss in Big Game history, allowing a Stanford-record 42 points in the first half alone.  Combined with Oregon’s loss to Arizona, Cal found itself trapped in the Cardinal’s big moment with nowhere to go until the final horn sounded.

Talk about a violent manner in which to swing an Axe.  According to Coach Sonny Dykes, his program is currently under reconstruction, in large part due to what transpired on Saturday at Stanford Stadium.

“Actually, we’re going to learn how to pick up our locker room.  We’re… going to learn how to go class. We’re going to fix our graduation rates, graduate.  We are going to appreciate being a Cal student, be supportive of other Cal students.  We’re going to get faster, stronger in the weight room.  We’re going to get bigger and improve our diet.  We’re going to be more committed to getting sleep, rest, recovery.  We’re going to learn how to play on offense and defense,” Dykes said.

Less than a year after accepting the job at Berkeley, Dykes admitted that he’s starting over.  And typically, that means there’s nowhere to go but up.  But when you hit rock bottom this hard, typical doesn’t apply.  When asked who among his staff would return next season, Dykes was brutally honest.

“I’ll take a look at it all,” Dykes said.  “I can’t guarantee I’ll be back next season.”

Given the millions of dollars invested in Dykes, former coach Jeff Tedford and the rebuilt Memorial Stadium, don’t expect Dykes to go anywhere but back to work.  Cal can’t afford to start over like they did in 2001 when Tom Holmoe was shown the door after a one-win season. In fact, Dykes said that process would begin soon after the bus ride back to Berkeley, saying that it couldn’t wait until Sunday afternoon or Monday to commence.

The Bears came into Saturday’s game knowing that Stanford’s physical attack could embarrass them as it had other opponents.  So Dykes and the Cal defense loaded up to stop to run only to see Stanford take to the air and take advantage of the Bears’ young secondary.  The transition for the Cardinal was seamless as star receiver Ty Montgomery racked up five touchdowns and the Stanford offense over 600 yards.

The highlights—seen by far more than the 50,000 in the stadium and those that sat through the broadcast buried deep in the recesses of expanded cable—were noticeable for the lengthy plays produced by Stanford with Cal players trailing in their wake.  Not only has Cal sunk this low, but at the same time, hated rival Stanford has reached its zenith, possibly on its way to back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances, and all of that was neatly summed up in a brief video package of Cal quarterback Jared Goff taking hits and Montgomery running into the end zone.

When you take into account that 17 and 18-year olds have short attention spans, watch television and are impressionable, you start to get a sense of what a win-win the whole afternoon was for Stanford, and just the opposite for Cal.

First, Dykes and the Bears have to learn from their mistakes and improve.  The Cal depth chart this season was littered with inexperienced first-and-second year players even before numerous injuries robbed the team of its veteran players.  In a Pac-12 conference that’s bigger than it’s ever been and likely more talent-heavy than it’s ever been, the combination proved to be pure disaster for Cal.

In addition, Dykes’ Bear Raid system is a high-risk operation with its spread sets and frequent passing. But it’s not anything new to opposing coaches and defenses.  Repeatedly, those defenses bent but didn’t break against Cal, by dialing up pressure that Cal’s offensive line, labeled as lacking physicality by even its’ own coaches, couldn’t withstand.  On Saturday, the Bears were awful on third-down, failing to convert on 11 of 13 opportunities.  If the Bear Raid can’t gain rhythm, can’t stay on the field and wear on opposing defenses, little if anything is realized.

In summary, Cal’s got a long way to go.  Dykes appears forthright and committed, but he needs help from his players and coaching staff.  Even with all the pluses afforded Cal through the university and athletic department, it won’t be easy, and it won’t be any less lengthy a process given that the competition in the Pac-12 is as steep as it’s ever been.