Getting To Know USC’s Week 13 Opponent: California Golden Bears

Justin Urgo
The Los Angeles Coliseum prepares for the calm before the storm.

Getting To Know USC’s Week 13 Opponent: Cal Bears

This Saturday evening the Trojans will travel to Northern California to take on the California Golden Bears. Both USC and Cal come into this game with a record of 4-7 and look to end the year on a positive note. It is an away game so it’s unfortunate for coach Donte Williams if this is indeed his last game with the Trojans. However, I believe the players will come to play and be motivated to perform for the coach that has that respect in the locker room. Vegas has the spread -4.5 for Cal so they expect the bears to pull off a victory against this distraught Trojan squad.

2020 Season In Review

The 2020 season was definitely a step down from the 2019 season when the Bears would go 7-5 in the regular season and beat Illinois in the RedBox Bowl. The Bears would go 4-0 to start the season but drop the next four just to bounce back and finish the season off strong. The roster for this Cal squad is around 65% upperclassmen so the experience will only help in the long run.

Last year in 2020, the Cal Bears only played four games due to the season being cut short and games being moved around due to Covid. In those games, the Bears went 1-3 with their only win being against Oregon.

Through those four games, besides the 31-10 loss to UCLA to start the season, Cal only lost the other two games against Oregon State and Stanford by three points or less. It wasn’t the greatest shortened season but not a total loss with them being able to compete in the PAC 12.

Fifth-year coach Justin Wilcox looks to take advantage of his team’s experience and replicate past years’ success.

Key Additions And Departures

The Bears actually had one of the better recruitment classes this year ranking 28th in the nation and just 3rd in the Pac 12. Cal signed six four-star recruits which are the most since 2012 when coach Jeff Tedford had seven. Mavin Anderson and J. Michael Sturdivant are two four-star receivers that will look to make an impact.

Mavin Anderson and tight end Jermaine Terry are two players that Cal was able to keep in-state. Anderson is from the Los Angeles area it was impressive a school like Cal was able to convince him to move up north. Another impactful transfer that is currently in the lineup this year is Boston College’s defensive end Marqez BimageBimage has 33 tackles, one sack, and 2 forced fumbles.

Some players that left the program are wide receivers Makai Polk and Jeremiah Hawkins, Polk to Mississippi State, and Hawkins to Texas State. Berkley didn’t lose too many players, the additions far outweighed the departures in regards to differences made on the field.

2021 Outlook

Cal started off the year with two losses to Nevada the red hot team out of the Mountain West and another close loss to TCU. They beat Sacramento State and then went on to lose the next three games to Washington, Washington State, and Oregon. So at this point, Cal was 1-5 and things were not looking great for the Golden Bears. Although this older team was able to salvage this season as much as they could. They were able to pull off two wins back to back against a good Colorado team and Oregon State.

What makes this an even more perplexing season was an uncharacteristic loss to Arizona. Nevertheless, they pulled off an impressive 41-11 victory against Stanford. The last game this team played was a beating that UCLA put on them when the Bruins put 42 points to their 14.

Both USC and Cal come into this game Saturday with the same record and the same disappointing seasons. The game this weekend that’s been postponed is actually going to probably be a better game at the end of the season rather than them facing each other earlier in the season. Disregarding the loss USC took to BYU and the loss Cal took to UCLA both teams are capable of catching fire. This will be a good indicator if this Cal squad can take this momentum into next year.

Trojans History Against Cal

This will be the 107th time these two teams meet and the series is in favor of USC 71-30 with five ties. The last time the Golden Bears won was in 2018 in a 15-14 victory. The last game these two teams played was in 2019 and USC won 41-17. This Saturday night should be a good one considering both teams want to end their season on a positive note. Coach Donte Williams will coach his last game as the head coach for USC as Lincoln Riley moves in. As for Cal, they need to remain a desirable destination for recruits.