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Stuff and Shenanigans: Cal-cakes

Sometimes competitive games are fun. This was funner. Also, “funner” is absolutely a word.

NCAA Football: California at Washington
Ross Bowers and Vita Vea demonstrate their newest performance art choreography.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Ya know how I don’t really do long-winded intros because I’m A) a woman of few words who knows how to evoke the most complex response from just a few syllables and/or B) lazy as crap?

Well here’s an intro:


Go choke on an Ikea lamp, ESPN.


Kay, now on to football things:

A 62% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything

Nothing is quite as validating as predicting something correctly. I rest my case.

But for real, if there was some fan-pulling-out-of-hair over a scarcity of explosive skill position-players on offense (there was), Hunter Bryant helped ease our concerns on Saturday.

Also, I know we (I) have been joking (totally not being serious at all) about Jake Browning turning into a dual-threat (lil’ shifty dude) football (fun sport game) quarterback (statistically probable winners of the Heisman even if they don’t deserve it). And I know he’s not a dual-threat (do I?). But... Good God I just want to start calling him that title officially.

Seriously, who in their right mind was calling that Jake Browning, .96 composite-rated class of 2015 quarterback, would keep the ball on the option, break out between the tackles and run 20 yards up the gut for a touchdown in 2017?

NOBODY. NOBODY CALLED THAT. And if you say you did, you’re more of a liar than my niece when she says she “didn’t do anything” and her brother is crying because “he just fell over I never touched him.”

Basically, Jake is the most dual-threat-y non-dual-threat or the least dual-threat-y dual-threat on the planet. Either way, I find it muchos entertaining given that his physical abilities are, by the general public, considered to be on the same level as that of a butternut squash.

If there’s one takeaway about the offense from this game it’s one that I wanted to see:

The Huskies’ offense can still score a butt-ton against a pretty good defense.

“Ha! But Cal’s defense is trash!” ~You, uneducated and stuck in the past.

“False, you are a goober.” ~The person reading over your shoulder, wise and up-to-date.

Sure, Cal’s not some elite defense, but as I pointed out ad nauseum, they’re not the Cal defense of Sonny Dykes anymore either and, in fact, we should probably consider Cal now a team based more on its defense than anything. Either these guys or Colorado have been the Dawgs’ offense’s greatest test, and said offense looked more in control last Saturday than against the Buffs. If Petersen was the sort of guy who kept first stringers late in the game, that final score would have looked ugly. Against a not-by-any-means-elite-but-still-respectable-defense, that’s the way we want it.

On the defensive front, that side of the ball has been getting better every week. I sort of thought that would happen but the first couple of games were merely okay given our standards for defensive play.

This whole thing feels like it’s corresponding with the increased level of play from the front seven whether we’re looking at the eye test or stats. Because, while “stats are for losers” (~ Our Lord and Savior, Chris Petersen), if you look at the defensive backs’ stats from Cal, it would appear as if they had pretty much nothing to do. Multiple defensive backs recorded exactly zero statistics, and that’s not for a lack of playing time; their solid coverage combined with a much better pass rush means many of them were rarely targeted accurately — if at all — and on the rare occasion where they were, not much was made of it by the Cal offense.

Bartlett keeps getting better after looking just average but with a high ceiling during non-conference play. Jaylen Johnson keeps creeping closer to his potential. Ben Burr-Kirven, while still being out-muscled at times, continues to prove me wrong.

Over these first six games, the defense has given up on average 7.8 points per game; this is taking out of account the two offensive turnovers that Washington gave up against Montana and Cal, each of which were returned for a touchdown. Now, I’m no statistician, but I believe that is what those in the stats industry would refer to as “real good shit.”

Lastly, I’d like to apologize to the former Washingtonians who, as stars of the Cal program, had their dreams crushed by the Dawgs on Saturday. To Ross Bowers (QB, Bothell), Tui (QB Coach, Woodinville), Devante Downs (Linebacker extraordinaire, Mountlake Terrace), and, of course, Beau Baldwin (Offensive Coordinator/former legend from Eastern): Sawry.

Line of the Week

I hate focusing on the ESPN commentators because that’s what they feed off of, so I propose, from this point on, we all take a big breath and react to them one final time like so:

And henceforth, let’s never talk about their dumb opinions that aren’t worthy of us giving a crap.

(You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to use that line for one of these. Life is complete.)

Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.