Cal Football: Bears Ranked in Top-25 for 2020 in 3 of 10 Sites

Jake Curtis

Cal is generating some pretty high expectations among Golden Bears fans for the 2020 football season. The way Cal finished the 2019 season, the return of virtually all the key offensive players and the addition of offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave have some of the Cal faithful thinking Rose Bowl.

Cal quarterback Chase Garbers talked about the prospects for 2020 right after the Redbox Bowl win in the video above.

But how does the rest of the country view the 2020 prospects of the Pac-12 in general and Cal in particular?

We take a look at 10 respected sites that recently provided way-too-early top-25 2020 preseason rankings.

Two of them have only one Pac-12 team in their top 25, but three of them have four Pac-12 squads in their rankings. As usual there is a difference of opinion when it comes to that conference.

Oregon is ranked in all of them, and is placed in the top 10 in all but one. USC, Arizona State, Utah, Cal and Washington are the other Pac-12 schools that received mention in at least one top-25 ranking.

What is noteworthy to Cal fans is that three of the 10 have Cal in their preseason top 25. Of course, that means seven of them do not.

Virtually all of them list Clemson as their No. 1 team for next season, but let’s take a look at those 10 sites one by one to see how they view the Pac-12 and Cal as well as every other team in the nation. The three that include Cal in their top 25 are listed first with their description of the Bears’ prospects:

The Athletic – Four Pac-12 teams are ranked, including Cal

The Athletic top 25

Oregon No. 8

USC No. 14

Arizona State No. 24

Cal No. 25

The Athletic on Cal: “The Bears were 7-1 when QB Chase Garbers was healthy, lifting a previously woeful offense that could return nearly every starter — most notably RB Chris Brown and top WR Nikko Remigio. Cal's stout defense will endure considerable losses, including all-everything LB Evan Weaver.”

USA Today – Four Pac-12 teams ranked, including Cal

USA Today top 25

Oregon No. 6

USC No. 17

Cal No. 23

Washington No. 24

USA Today on Cal: “There's a tremendous amount of experience coming back for coach Justin Wilcox, who did an admirable job slowly building the Golden Bears into a Top 25 contender. With few questions at all surrounding the defense, the biggest key may be keeping quarterback Chase Garbers healthy; he went unbeaten as a sophomore in games he started and finished.”

John Wilner, San Jose Mercury-News – Four Pac-12 teams ranked, including Cal

Wilner's top 25

Oregon No. 9

USC No. 18

Cal No. 21

Arizona State No. 24.

Wilner on Cal: “The defense should be stout despite the departure of Evan Weaver, and the offense should be productive enough under new coordinator Bill Musgrave — so long as oft-injured quarterback Chase Garbers is not oft-injured.”

Athlon – One Pac-12 team ranked; three Pac-12 teams in “just missed” category, including Cal

Athlon's top 25

Oregon No. 11

Six teams that just missed




Athlon on Cal: “Oregon ranks as Athlon’s very early favorite to win the Pac-12, but keep an eye on coach Justin Wilcox’s team next fall. A healthy year from quarterback Chase Garbers under new play-caller Bill Musgrave should allow the Golden Bears to push for a spot in the top 25. The ground game is solid with Christopher Brown and Marcel Dancy back, while four of the team’s top five receiving options are back. California’s offensive line should also take a step forward with most of the lineup set to return in 2020. Wilcox and coordinator Tim DeRuyter have elevated the program’s defense among the best in the Pac-12, but this unit loses All-America linebacker Evan Weaver and safeties Jaylinn Hawkins and Ashtyn Davis. However, the news isn’t all bad, as linebacker Kuony Deng and cornerback Camryn Bynum are two of the Pac-12’s top defenders going into 2020. Washington and Oregon come to Berkeley next year, but road trips to USC, Arizona State and Washington State are on tap.”

Sporting News – Three Pac-12 teams ranked; Cal not ranked

Sporting News top 25

Oregon No. 6

Utah No. 18

Arizona State 22

ESPN – One Pac-12 team in the top 25; Cal not ranked.

ESPN top 25

Oregon No. 5

Sports Illustrated – Three Pac-12 teams ranked; Cal not ranked

Sports Illustrated top 25

Oregon No. 6

USC No. 16

Arizona State No. 18

Sporting News – Three Pac-12 teams ranked; Cal not ranked

Sporting News top 25

Oregon No. 6

Utah No. 18

Arizona State 22

Yahoo Sports – Three Pac-12 teams ranked; Cal is not ranked

Yahoo Sports top 25

Oregon No. 8

Utah No. 18

USC No. 23

247 Sports – Four Pac-12 teams ranked; Cal not ranked

247 Sports top 25

Oregon No. 5

Utah No. 16

USC No. 18

Arizona State No. 22