Those games were all more or less the same. Goff passes for somewhere north of 300 yards, Bears find creative way to waste that. But thus far in 2015, they look like they’re worth watching as much for their late-game capitulations and heroics as they are for their relevance as a Pac-12 contender. This is big for a program equally known for tree-bound protestors and NFL stars.

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The Bears traveled to Texas last week (about as close as you can get to an out-of-conference arch-rival, on account of the brazen politicking that Mack Brown did to get Texas into the Rose Bowl over Cal in 2004, despite the Longhorns having no right to be there) and did that usual thing they do where they won 45-44, this time thanks to a missed extra point at the death. Wins in Austin and Seattle are great for a once-struggling program that always seems to have trouble aligning itself with the lofty academic standards of its host institution, but the real proving ground will be next month.

After homecoming against Washington State, they face a murderers row of Utah, UCLA, USC, and Oregon. Only one of those will be at home. Cal won’t be favored in any of them and they could very well be 5-5 by early November. The last time any Bear sniffed the Heisman conversation, Jahvid Best nearly died on the field (see above). But this hot start means there are stakes to a Cal season for the first time in a while. They could make a bowl game, or get their quarterback selected #1 overall, and it’ll be damn fun watching them try.

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Contact the author at patrick@deadspin.com or @patrickredford.