The California Golden Bears are going for a fresh start in 2013. It will be the first year of the Sonny Dykes era after a decade under Jeff Tedford, and the change was badly needed. Things had gone stale in Berkeley, and despite Tedford's reputation for grooming quarterbacks, the position had been an issue for years. Coming in with Dykes is a new attitude and a new air raid offense, but how will things go in Year 1? Let's take a look at their schedule to see how it breaks down.
2013 Cal schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
Things start out fast for Cal, as the Bears host two of the best teams from the Big Ten in September. Thankfully, Northwestern and Ohio State are coming out to Berkeley, but those won't be the out of conference cupcakes that most other teams fill up on before heading into conference play.
Things don't get any easier for the Bears once they begin their Pac-12 schedule, as it starts with a trip to Autzen to face Oregon. Cal has played the Ducks tough over recent years, but it's hard to predict a win in that kind of environment. The schedule makers did Dykes no favors this year, as three of their four crossover games from the Pac-12 South are UCLA, USC, and Arizona, all of whom will be tough. Their conference slate ends in much of the same way as it begins, with an exceedingly difficult road trip, this time to their arch rival, Stanford.
2013 won't be easy for Cal. It takes time for the air raid to really get into sync, so there could be some ugly offensive efforts early in the season. A bowl game might not be in the cards, but if the Bears can get to one, that would have to be considered a positive first step for Dykes and the new coaching staff.