Remember when Cal was 4-0 and ranked 15th in the country? It was not a question of whether the Bears would land a bowl berth, but how prestigious the bowl might be.
Today, five weeks later, Cal stands at 4-4, burdened by a four-game losing streak heading into this week’s bye. And now Cal’s chances of playing in a postseason game for the second straight year are disappearing.
We cited 11 noteworthy sites that project bowl matchups, and only two have Cal making it to a bowl game.
Both those sites – Sporting News and College Football News – predict Cal will play in the Redbox Bowl in nearby Santa Clara. One has Cal facing Illinois, and the other has Indiana as Cal's opponent.
Cal (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) has to win two of its remaining four games just to become bowl-eligible, and that would not guarantee the Bears a spot in a bowl game.
That four-game stretch begins with a Nov. 9 home game against Washington State (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12). That is followed by a Nov. 16 home game against USC (5-3, 4-1). The Bears finish the regular season with two road games – Nov. 23 at Stanford (4-4, 3-3) and Nov. 30 at UCLA (3-5, 3-2). Cal might not be favored in any of the four games.
The Bears’ chances of landing a bowl berth would improve if quarterback Chase Garbers returns before the season ends. Cal has not announced a timetable for his possible return, and coach Justin Wilcox said on Wednesday that Garbers has not yet been cleared to practice. Garbers has been out since injuring his shoulder in the second quarter of the Sept. 27 loss to Arizona State. The Bears have not won a game since he was hurt.
Here are the bowl projections of the 11 experts:
Sporting News: Cal vs. Indiana, Redbox Bowl (Santa Clara), Dec. 30
College Football News: Cal vs. Illinois, Redbox Bowl (Santa Clara), Dec. 30
USA Today: Cal not projected to be in a bowl
CBS Sports: Cal not projected to be in a bowl
247 Sports: Cal not projected to be in a bowl
Yahoo.com: Cal not projected to be in a bowl
Sports Illustrated: Cal not projected to play in a bowl
ESPN (Kyle Bunagura): Cal not projected to be in a bowl
ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Cal not projected to be in a bowl
Brett McMurphy: Cal not projected to play in a bowl
Bleacher Report: Cal not projected to be in a bowl (although seven Pac-12 schools are predicted to land bowl berths).