Cal, UCLA meet still clinging to slim bowl hopes
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) One year after Jared Goff left to become the first overall pick in the NFL draft, California coach Sonny Dykes will once again be looking for a quarterback replacement.
Davis Webb, who took over for Goff, is set to play his final home game when the Golden Bears host UCLA at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Webb holds numerous single-season passing records and has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl in his quest to join Goff in the NFL.
What California will do for a quarterback once Webb is gone is a mystery. The Bears have a pair of underclassmen but neither played this season, as Dykes opted to stick with his starter the entire season.
Dykes and his staff might have to find a replacement for wide receiver Chad Hansen, too. Hansen is also mulling his potential NFL options and has not yet to decide whether to declare for the draft or return for his senior season.
''Chad's got a high ceiling and I don't think he's anywhere close to reaching it yet,'' Dykes said. ''I think it makes sense for him to come back but those are conversations we'll have after the season's over. I still think he's a developing guy. He has an opportunity to become one of the elite guys in college football.''
Hansen is the Pac-12's leading receiver with 82 catches, 1,093 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games with an ankle injury.
While Webb has already embraced Saturday being his final college game, the Bears quarterback isn't sure what the plans are for his favorite target.
''I haven't had that conversation with Chad,'' Webb said. ''We've had just about every conversation under the sun but that one. That's a credit to him, the hard work he put in this summer, to allow him to even have that possibility of leaving early.''
UCLA senior quarterback Mike Fafaul, who is also ending his collegiate career after this season, has had an uneven year while filling in for injured Josh Rosen. Fafaul, a redshirt senior, set a school single-game record for completions and attempts against Utah on Oct. 22 and has 11 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
Here are a few other things to look for when California hosts UCLA on Saturday in a matchup of two teams that are 4-7 overall and 2-6 in the Pac-12 :
With an average of 84.3 yards on the ground the Bruins rank last in the Pac-12 for rushing. That might be a bad omen except that the Bears are last in the conference in rushing defense, allowing a whopping 290.1 yards per game.
SLIM BOWL HOPES
Neither California nor UCLA will reach the six-win mark this season, meaning their only hopes for a bowl game will be if there are not enough eligible teams to fill out of the bowl schedule. The NCAA hands out those invitations based on Academic Progress Rate. In 2015, three five-win teams were invited to play in postseason bowl games and all three won.
UCLA has won the last three games between the two teams but has won only once in Berkeley since 1998. Conversely, California has lost its last two games at Memorial Stadium but has posted home wins against two ranked teams (Texas and Utah) earlier this season.
The Bears have had 933 plays on offense this season yet have turned the ball over only 15 times, including just three fumbles. The school record for fewest turnovers in one season is 17, which California did twice.