That was a bad, bad loss for the Cal Bears, but an even worse loss for athletic director Sandy Barbour for reasons I outlined last week on the Hotline and in more condensed form in the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group.

Result: Lost at Colorado 41-24

Grade: S ... for Stinker. (An F wouldn't do this one justice.)

Comment: Colorado hadn't beaten a Pac-12 opponent since Sept. '12, and yet the Buffaloes dominated.

One team was well-prepared and ready to play; the other was Cal.

As Sonny Dykes said: "Obviously, we didn't have our guys ready to play. That falls on me."

(We've heard that a lot from him this season.)

  • Have to think the defensive showing -- arguably worse than anything previous because of the opponent -- sealed the end of the Andy Buh era, at least as Cal's defensive coordinator.

    The Bears have to start anew on defense, and that can't happen if the man in charge of the hapless unit remains in charge.

    Colorado hadn't scored more than 23 points in a Pac-12 game this year but torched the Bears for 41.

    The good: Brendan Bigelow: 15 carries for 107 yards.

    The bad: Colorado, which had been averaging 369 yards per game, gained 485 on the Bears.

    The ugly: Special teams. Cal botched two on-side kick situations.

    The brutal: 13 consecutive Pac-12 losses.


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    The mindblowing: The Bears have allowed more points in the first half (293) this season than nine Pac-12 teams have allowed in both halves.

    The bottom line: Victory is clearly beyond reach. But instead of building momentum for next year with inspired play and moral victories, the Bears are getting worse.

    Every missed chance to establish a foundation on the field (effort, execution, etc.) makes the climb out of the gutter that much more difficult.

    Next up: at Stanford

    The matchup: Horrific.

    Put it this way: The Pac-12 teams that are closest to Stanford in style and approach (Oregon State and USC) beat the Bears by a combined 66 points.

    Stanford's style doesn't lend itself to 50- or 60-point games, and I have to think David Shaw will do his best to limit the devastation (out of respect for Dykes and Cal).

    But I see no scenario in which the Bears slow Stanford's running game.

    Nor do I see the Bears scoring more than a touchdown or two against Stanford's fabulous defense, at least until garbage time.

    And garbage time could come before halftime.

    The opening line: Stanford by 30.5, which has to be the largest spread in Big Game history.