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Cal Picked To Finish Second In Pac-12 North

Oct 7, 2020
The media has selected Cal to finish second in the Pac-12 North in the league's annual preseason media poll.

BERKELEY – Cal has been picked to finish second in the Pac-12 North in the league's annual preseason poll released Wednesday by the conference. The Golden Bears received three first-place votes and totaled 176 points in the poll of 38 media members that cover the league.

Cal's second-place selection was its highest since the conference split into two divisions with the addition of Colorado and Utah in 2011. The Bears were last picked second in the 2009 preseason poll of the entire Pac-10 and have never been selected to win the conference.

Since Justin Wilcox became Cal's head coach in 2017, Cal's accomplishments have included back-to-back winning seasons and bowl appearances in the last two campaigns for first time since 2008 and 2009, wins over four of the five other teams in the Pac-12 North, victories in road games at all three California opponents in the Pac-12, wins over top-15 teams in each of last three seasons, and a 9-0 mark in regular-season non-conference games including four wins against Power 5 schools.

Cal is coming off an 8-5 season in 2019 with the Bears victorious in four of their final five games including three in a row to end the campaign. Cal's tied for second-place finish last season was also their best ever in the Pac-12 North. Cal returns 15 players (10 offense, 5 defense) that started at least five games in 2019 with quarterback Chase Garbers the Pac-12's active career leader in both starts (19) and wins (13). Garbers is 13-2 all-time in games that he has started and played more than a half including a 7-0 mark in 2019.

The Bears begin their delayed 2020 season shortened to a seven-game conference-only slate by the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting Washington on Nov. 7. After its home opener against the Huskies, Cal will travel to Arizona State (Nov. 14) and Oregon State (Nov. 21) before returning home to host Stanford in the 123rd Big Game to be televised by either FOX or FS1 on Friday, Nov. 27. The Bears will host defending Pac-12 champion Oregon (Dec. 5) in its final-regular season home game before wrapping up the regular season by visiting Washington State (Dec. 12).

A home-hosted model of the Pac-12 Football Championship Game presented by 76 is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 18, while each of the other 10 teams in the Pac-12 are also scheduled to play on the weekend of Dec. 18-19 with opponents to be announced at a later date.

Under current guidelines from both the state of California and the conference, no fans will be permitted to events on Pac-12 campuses out of health and safety concerns, although the policy will be revisited by the Pac-12 in January for future events should conditions allow.

Oregon was chosen to win the North Division title with 35 first-place votes and 222 points as well as the Pac-12 Football Championship Game with 21 votes, while USC was picked to win the South Division (32 first-place votes, 220 points) and received 15 votes to capture the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.

Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses).
PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WINNER (Votes): Oregon (21), USC (15), Arizona State (1), Utah (1)
NORTH DIVISION (First-Place Votes) – Points
1. Oregon (35) – 222
2. California (3) – 176
3. Washington – 161
4. Stanford – 105
5. Oregon State – 76
6. Washington State – 58
SOUTH DIVISION (First-Place Votes) – Points
1. USC (32) – 220
2. Arizona State (2) – 181
3. Utah (4) – 168
4. UCLA – 109
5. Colorado – 63
6. Arizona – 57