BERKELEY — Cal’s football season will end Friday afternoon with a home game against UCLA, and win or lose, this is not what the Bears and their fans had envisioned.

“I thought they would be around 8:4,” said Yogi Roth, a Pac-12 network analyst. “I thought it was a really special year for them.”

Instead, the Bears are 4-7 after breaking a six-game losing streak with a 27-20 win over rival Stanford in the Big Game. With a 2-6 record in the Pac-12 game, they failed to carve out a conference winning record for the 13th straight season. No other school in the league has gone more than five years since then.

So what in Pappy Waldorf’s name went wrong?

And can the Bears fix it?

Much of Cal’s recent woes can be attributed to chronically poor att*cking performances. In an era of high-scoring football, the Bears have not averaged as much as 24 points per game since head coach Justin Wilcox’s rookie season in 2017.

Wilcox understands this is not a winning formula and is expected to hire a third offensive coordinator, along with a new offensive line coach, within the next week to 10 days. He fired OC Bill Musgrave and line coach Angus McClure after the Bears failed to score an offensive touchdown in a loss to Oregon two weeks ago.

Wilcox called interest in the coordinator’s job “significant.”

“You have to get four touchdowns in a game to really have a chance to make noise. They couldn’t do that,” said Roth, who played wide receiver at Pitt two decades ago. “College football has changed and they are running the offensive I grew up with. Nothing seemed to come easy.

Roth said the coordinator should bring a scheme that is quarterback friendly, simple, exploits every corner of the pitch and creates one-on-one opportunities for Cal’s receivers.

Despite Cal’s disappointing offensive record in recent years, Roth expects Wilcox to hit a home run with this loan.

“They are going to hire someone who will make a real noise in this league,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a really exciting brand of football.”

Cal won’t get there unless he drastically improves the offensive line that has allowed Jack Plummer to be fired 31 times and for the better part of the season hasn’t created even an inch of running space for talented freshman Jaydn Ott.

This will require hiring the right man to train this position and supplementing the equipment of the O-line room.

Recruitment never stops, and for Wilcox and his staff, it starts with retaining the talent they have. This includes Ott, who rushed for 842 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, and a talented receiving corps led by Jeremiah Hunter and J. Michael Sturdivant.

Plummer is among a large group of seniors who are eligible for another year of eligibility thanks to the COVID 2020 exemption. He has not made a decision yet and wants to know who will coach him.

A new variable in recruiting is the transfer portal, which allows players to easily transfer from school to school. Finding players who meet Cal’s academic rigors is a challenge, but Wilcox says the Bears will be more aggressive in their talent search this way.

“We don’t want to become a portal-only recruitment unit,” Wilcox said. “But I think it’s something we have to try and take advantage of, and we think we have a lot to offer the guy who comes out of the portal.”

Six Pac-12 teams — including USC, Oregon and Washington — found their starting quarterbacks this season through transfers, a trend Roth calls “portal-palooza.”

He believes Cal will do a good job of retaining players and adding talent. “I think you might be surprised at the transfers they bring.”

Cal’s defense, elite since Wilcox’s arrival, has slipped this season. The Bears rank seventh in the Pac-12 in defensive scoring with 27.2 points per game.

Injuries were significant, including the loss for the second straight year of defensive lineman Brett Johnson, who may have been the Bears’ best player.

“When I talk to other coaches, a lot of them say Cal is the best trained defense in the league or in conversation,” Roth said. “If you don’t score goals, it has a huge impact on the game.”

Wilcox, who signed a contract extension until 2027 last January, remains optimistic about the future of his program.

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