AP Photo/Jeff ChiuCalifornia quarterback Jared Goff (16) passes against Arizona during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley

Cal showing signs of progress despite poor record

Cal had its best performance of the season in a 33-28 loss to Arizona on Saturday, which leads to the obvious question: Was that result an aberration, a product of a subpar game by Arizona or an indication that the Bears are improving?

The answer may come in Cal’s home game Saturday against Southern Cal, which has played well since Lane Kiffin was fired and Ed Orgeron took over as interim coach.

The secondary question is whether the breakout performance Cal wide receiver Kenny Lawler had against Arizona was a fluke or an indication that the Bears have a star on their hands.

The Bears (1-8, 0-6 in the Pac-12) have lost seven in a row, and their hopes of a winning record or a bowl have long since passed. The mission now is simply to demonstrate they are getting better and that Sonny Dykes’ spread offense and defensive coordinator’s Andy Buh’s defense have a chance to succeed when the Bears’ young, injury-plagued team gets healthy and matures in the coming seasons.

The five-point loss to Arizona was the first conference game Cal lost by fewer than 22 points. Cal is hoping it can stay close against an opponent with a winning record for the second consecutive week.

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