Friday Fast Facts – California Week

… “T.I.P.S” – Our weekly preview postings, are available for your review and comment. The written preview and predictions for the CU/Cal game can be found here, while the CU at the Game Podcast preview for the game (which includes a discussion of the latest coaching search news) can be found here …


Big Picture … 

Family Weekend … CU started to regularly include a football game as part of Parent’s Weekend in 1992, with the name changed to Family Weekend in 2003. The Buffs are 20-9 all-time in these games, with a 34-0 win over Arizona in last season’s game;

Interim Success … The only interim coach in CU history to coach more than one game was Brian Cabral, who coached the team for three games at the end of the 2010 season after the Buffs’ meltdown in Lawrence against the Jayhawks (CU held a 45-17 fourth quarter lead, only to lose, 52-45) brought a swift end to the Dan Hawkins era. Cabral went 2-1 as the interim head coach, defeating Iowa State and Kanas State before falling to Nebraska).

The Other Two … The other two interim coaches were Mike Hankwitz, who lost to Clemson in the Champs Sports Bowl in 2005 after Gary Barnett was let go, and Kurt Roper, who lost the 2019 finale against Cal after Mike MacIntyre was dismissed.

California on my Mind … CU will be playing only its 12th-ever game against Cal this weekend, but it will mark the third time in those 12 games in which a CU coach has made their debut. In addition to Mike Sanford this weekend and Kurt Roper in 2019, Bill McCartney’s first-ever game as a head coach was against Cal, coming in the 1982 season opener;

Shout Out to Kimbirly Orr … Colorado will be handing out nine Honorary C Awards this weekend. Starting in 1955, these are presented to a person or persons for their dedication of service or contributions to University of Colorado Athletics. One of those being honored this weekend is C Club Executive Director Kimbirly Orr. I have known Kimbirly for … um … several decades, and she was not only instrumental in getting me on the CU Alumni Association Board of Directors years ago, but she was also my R.A. back in the day at Libby Hall. Congratulations, Kimbirly!!;

The ESPN Power Index gives Cal an 82.1% chance of winning, leaving CU with a 17.9% chance at an upset. In CU’s last game, Arizona was given an 84.4% chance of winning;

— The game will be telecast nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (Saturday, Noon, MT), with the same crew CU had for the Arizona game, with J.B. Long on the play-by-play, and Max Browne with the commentary (No sideline reporter).  KOA radio will have Mark Johnson, in his 19th year, with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett in his seventh year as the full-time analyst.


Statistically speaking … 

Imagine if the Buffs were Winning … Colorado is expecting a near capacity crowd this weekend for the Cal game. For the first two home games of the season, the Buffs have averaged 45,358 fans at Folsom, which is over 90% of capacity. Compare undefeated UCLA, the No. 11 team in the nation. The Bruins have played five home games already this season, including tilts against two ranked teams, Washington and Utah. To date, UCLA has averaged 34,719 in the Rose Bowl, which is 39.2% of regular season capacity of 88,565 (they squeeze over 100,000 for the actual Rose Bowl);

Turnovers not Looking Favorable … If the Buffs are to upset the Bears, they will likely need some turnovers and short fields for the struggling offense. Well, good luck. Cal has yet to fumble the ball away this season, and has only two total turnovers (both interceptions). Meanwhile, Cal currently has the nation’s longest streak of consecutive games – 18 – gaining at least one turnover;

Any Good News for Buff fans? … Stats in which Cal is ranked 100th or worse nationally … First Downs (104th) … Passing Defense (109th) … Tackles for Loss (104th) … Quarterback Sacks Allowed (117th) … Kickoff Returns (115th);

—  How bad is the CU offense? … Colorado is ranked 111th or worse in every major category on offense (out of 131 teams nationally). The Buffs are 111th in rushing offense; 117th in passing offense; 124th in total offense; and 128th in scoring offense. For the Buff offense to climb even as high as 100th nationally in scoring next week, the Buffs would have to score 78 points against Cal;

How bad is the CU defense? … After giving up 495 yards passing to Arizona, the Buff defense fell from 7th to 55th nationally in pass defense. This mediocre number is more than offset by CU being ranked dead last in rushing defense (294.2 yards/game). The Buffs are so bad that the No. 130 team in rushing defense, Charlotte, is giving up 253.3 yards/game … over 40 yards per game less than Colorado;

— Bar bet winner … As noted above, No. 11 and undefeated UCLA is averaging 34,719 for its five home games. Want to know the largest crowd to see a Bruin game this fall? It wasn’t in the Rose Bowl against No. 15 Washington or against No. 11 Utah. Nope … it was on the road against Colorado. Yes, win your free drinks here … the largest crowd this season to watch No. 11 UCLA was when the Bruins were at Folsom Field (42,848).


CU Player Notes … 

First Transfer Portal casualty … Not that it is a surprise, but punter Ashton Logan, who was dismissed from the team two weeks ago, has entered the Transfer Portal. To date, though, the team seems to be holding together, as two events could have triggered a mass exodus. First, there is the four-game rule, where players can keep their red-shirt year alive if they have only played four games. Plus, under NCAA rules, players can enter the Transfer Portal during the season if their coach is fired. Both events took place last week, but, at least so far, the dismissed Ashton Logan is the only loss to the roster;

Another Roster Loss … True freshman wide receiver Chase Sowell, who earned his first start in the UCLA game, has apparently been lost for the season. A tweet from Chase’s father: “I was told Chase needed surgery BEFORE the season. Torn labrum. He said “Dad I’M PLAYING!” Played 4 games until the doctor told him his season was done! So proud of you son!!! SOWELL FAMILY!! Get well soon!! COLORADO STAFF THANKS!!!”

Charlie Offerdahl already a record-setter … Redshirt freshman Charlie Offerdahl is already in the CU record books with his 131 rushing yards (on 27 attempts) this season. The 131 yards is the most by a walk-on for a season in Buff history, besting the 128 yards rushing posted by Josh Ford in 2011 (Meanwhile, Cal freshman running back Jadyn Ott has 532 rushing yards this season, including 274 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries against Arizona);

CU’s offensive offensive line … A hoped for strength heading into the season, the Buffs are down to starting a true freshman, Van Wells. Well, at 6’2″, 290, has started three games so far this fall (two at left guard; one at center), becoming just the 13th true freshman to start along the offensive line in school history, and the first-ever at center. Only one other true freshman has started for the Buffs in the past decade, Frank Fillip, who started two games at tackle in 2018;

Spreading it Around … A total of 19 CU players have caught a pass this fall, tying a school record. Fourteen of the players have caught at least two passes, but only Daniel Arias, with 16, has caught more than ten.


Colorado and California … historical

The University of Colorado-Boulder Buffs and the University of California-Berkeley Bears have more in common other than a politically left leaning home town. The two schools have a fairly similar history on the gridiron.

Of the 12 categories tracked by Winsipedia, the Buffs lead the Bears in nine, though teams are close in most of them. Cal, though, has the edge in arguably the most important category: National championships.

While Colorado has one national title to brag about, Cal claims four, or perhaps five.

Five national titles? Cal?

Well, they are all before the NCAA national championships were centralized (at least in the eyes of most schools and their fans) in the Associated Press and UPI polls (which morphed into the USA Today coaches poll of today) in the late 1930’s.

From 1920-23, the Bears went 36-0-2, winning two Rose Bowls and claiming four national titles. The fifth claimed title came in 1937 when California went 10-0-1 and defeated Alabama, 13-0, in the Rose Bowl.

So, Cal either has five national titles … or none.

Some other categories:

— All-time wins … Colorado – 718, 28th all-time … California – 687, 36th

— Conference championships … Colorado – 26, 11th all-time … California – 14, 42nd

— Consensus All-Americans … Colorado – 31, 24th all-time … California – 30, 27th all-time

— Weeks in the Associated Press poll … Colorado – 305, 31st all-time … California – 200, 45th

but … First round NFL draft picks … Colorado – 24, 28th all-time … California – 27, 23rd


CU & Cal … 

— California holds a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series against Colorado … but is only 2-4 in games played in Boulder;

— The series dates back to 1968, when Cal shutout the Buffs, 10-0, in a game played in Berkeley. The next three games were played in Boulder between 1972 and 1982. The Buffs won the first two, with the Bears taking the 1982 contest;

— The 1982 game was memorable in Buff lore as it was the first game coached by CU’s all-time wins leader, Bill McCartney. The Bears won, 31-17, in the first game coached at Cal by former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Kapp (a rare game with both coaches making their debuts).

— The Bears won again in Berkeley in 2010, 52-7, with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott on hand saying that there was a “less than 50 percent chance” of Colorado joining the Pac-12 in 2011;

— Of course, the Buffs did join the Pac-12 in 2011, and did play the Bears again. The game, a 36-33 overtime win for California, though, was not an official Pac-12 game, as the Buffs and Bears finished off a home-and-home non-conference commitment before CU officially started Pac-12 play;

— The Buffs broke a three-game losing streak in the series with a 41-24 win over Cal in Boulder in 2013. Sefo Liufau threw for 364 yards, with Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce collecting 140 yards receiving apiece;

— When the two teams played in Berkeley in 2014 it was a record-setting game. Cal outlasted the Buffs, 59-56, in two overtimes. Sefo Liufau passed for 455 yards and seven touchdowns (hitting Nelson Spruce for a school-record 19 receptions), but the effort was wasted as Jared Goff threw for 458 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Bears to a win. In the game, 37 CU school records (29 individual; 8 team) were set. The 14 combined passing touchdowns also set an FBS record for the most touchdown passes in a single game.


Last season …

October 23, 2021 … California 26, Colorado 3 … 

— Game Story … California scored on its first five possessions of the game, never looking back as the Bears routed Colorado, 26-3. Quarterback Chase Garbers hit on 22-of-29 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, also leading the Bears in rushing with ten carries for 96 yards. Colorado was held to 104 yards of total offense … 69 yards passing and 35 yards rushing. Brendon Lewis was 9-for-17 passing for 69 yards and an interception, while Jarek Broussard led the CU rushing “attack” with 28 yards on 11 carries.

“That wasn’t the type of game I was expecting at all,” head coach Karl Dorrell said. “I think we struggled in the first half on both sides of the ball. We had a tough time stopping them and then offensively, we couldn’t get any continuity of really bringing some drives together. We got three points on one drive and that’s really about it — and that was off a kickoff return. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t play to our capabilities today.”

Read full game story here

My Essay for the 2021 California game, “Ted Lasso to Buff fans: Be a Goldfish“, can be found here


The Last time in Boulder …

October 28, 2017 … Colorado 44, California 28 … 

— Game StoryOn an afternoon when Rashaan Salaam’s No. 19 was retired by the school, the Colorado offense put forth an effort CU’s Heisman trophy winner would have been proud to witness. Steven Montez threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffs posted 553 yards of total offense in a 44-28 Colorado victory over California.

A week after being benched in the second half against Washington State, Montez went 20-for-26, also rushing for a seven-yard touchdown. Phillip Lindsay posted “Salaam-worthy” 33 carries for 161 yards, while Shay Fields led the receiving corps with four catches for 101 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown.

“I was really happy with the way Steven [Montez] played,” said Mike MacIntyre. “That’s the way I expect him to play all the time, because he can do all those types of things. The offensive line did a good job and helped him. [Phillip] Lindsay does what Lindsay does. He’s pretty special always.”

Read full game story here …

… My Essay for the 2017 California game, “Any Given Saturday“, can be found here


Pac-12 Notes … 

— The Pac-12 has had four teams ranked in the AP Top 25 for four straight weeks … USC, at No. 7, has been in the top ten for six consecutive weeks … UCLA’s No. 11 ranking is the highest for the Bruins since 2015 … Oregon, at No. 12, is the highest ranked one-loss team, while Utah, at No. 20, is the highest-ranked two-loss team;

— Five of the 15 FBS teams scoring over 40 points a game reside in the Pac-12. CU has already played one – UCLA – and will face a gauntlet in November playing the other four: Oregon; USC; Washington; and Utah;

Colorado a two-touchdown home underdog to Cal

From …

Pac-12 Lines … 

  • California at Colorado … Noon, MT … Pac-12 Networks … Colorado is a 14.5-point home underdog (up from 14.0 points) 
  • Arizona at Washington … 3:30 p.m., MT … Pac-12 Networks … Washington is a 14.0-point home favorite (down from 17.0 points)
  • Stanford at Notre Dame … 5:30 p.m., MT … NBC … Notre Dame is an 17.0-point home favorite (down from 18.0 points)
  • No. 7 USC at No. 20 Utah … 6:00 p.m., MT … Fox … Utah is a 3.5-point home underdog (up from 3.0 points)
  • Washington State at Oregon State … 7:00 p.m., MT … Pac-12 Networks … Oregon State is a 3.5-point home favorite (up from 3.0 points)
  • … Arizona State, UCLA, and Oregon have bye weeks …


3 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts – Cal Week”

  1. BUFFS WIN!!!
    Wife going to the law continuing ed class at the law school Saturday am. (Tomorrow)
    Kids joining for the lunch and beer after.
    I won’t be there !!
    Stewart, I gave them your pic and told them to keep and eye out for ya.
    Nor will I be at the game.
    I’ll be watching on my iPhone.
    While I am wheel-barrowing 2 tons of rock from the front to the side
    Middle of a grotto redo along with the deck upgrade. (done)
    Retired! Tired of napping and golfing!!

    Go Buffs!!

    Note: Figure I am shoveling 75lbs into the wheel barrow.
    So, about 53 loads. Holy crap. And the shoveling ain’t easy nor fun.
    Note 2: Heavy Steroid hit in the am.

    1. This is what you pay landscape contractors to do. You’ll figure that out by about the 3rd quarter of the CU-Cal game.

  2. I smiled at the mention of Cal’s last trip to Boulder. It was the last time I’ve been at Folsom. My wife and I had driven cross-country to see our son and daughter-in-law in FoCo, which I don’t recommend doing the day after running the Marine Corps Marathon as I did. Terrific day. Not only because of the retirement of #19, which was great, but also because of the Buffs honoring Olympians Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn, and Kara Goucher.

    Isaiah Oliver picked one off in the end zone and instead of taking a knee for the touchback he took it 100+ Yards for a TD.

    One hell of an afternoon, indeed.

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