California Golden Bears vs. Texas Longhorns
The California Golden Bears and the Texas Longhorns meet on Wednesday in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. The Longhorns are -3 point favorites over the Longhorns with an over/under point total set at 47.5.
There wasn’t much of an expectation this year for the California Golden Bears but as has been so often the case Jeff Tedford has taken his team to yet another bowl appearance. Cal won three of their last four games and while only one of those was against a bowl team, Arizona State, they won all of those games decisively. Zach Maynard has completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 2,806 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Isi Sofele is one of the more under rated running backs around as he averages 5.5 yards per carry for 1,266 yards and nine touchdowns. Keenan Allen has 89 catches for 1,261 yards and six touchdowns and Marvin Jones has 55 catches and three touchdowns. The Cal defense has 12 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries, and 32 sacks and they allow 24.4 points and 339.4 yards per game. Michael Kendricks has 96 tackles, D.J. Holt has 81 tackles, and Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu have 4.5 sacks each. In a nutshell the Golden Bears have done well against the teams they should beat but when they are called upon to step it up they haven’t been able to.
After missing going to a bowl a season ago Mack Brown’s Texas Longhorns return to the post season. While Texas still didn’t have the type of year we have grown accustomed to and expect from them this was a marked improvement over the product we saw on the field a year ago. David Ash and Case McCoy both saw plenty of action at QB this season and by the end of the year it was McCoy who was seeing the bulk of the time and getting the starts. For the year McCoy completed 61.4 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. It was running back by committee for the Horns as well and with Fozzy Whitaker out for this game we’ll see Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron who has looked good but is recovering from an injury. Mike Davis has 45 catches, Jaxson Shipley has 40, and Marquise Goodwin has 30 but overall the receivers suffered when Ash was seeing the bulk of the snaps. Defensively Texas has 11 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries, and 26 sacks while they allow 23.2 points and 315.3 yards per game. Emmanuel Acho has 122 tackles including 18 for a loss, Keenan Robinson has 96 tackles, Alex Okafor has seven sacks, and Jackson Jeffcoat has six sacks. Texas seems to make it harder for themselves than it needs to be and they will need to look more like the team that rallied this year against Texas A&M than the team that couldn’t get out of their own way against Missouri.
California is 4-0 against the spread in their last four games overall, 4-1 against the spread in their last five games against the Big 12, and 0-6 against the spread as an underdog up to three points. Texas is 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 non-conference games, 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 bowl games, and 7-18-1 against the spread in their last 26 against a team with a winning record.
This looks like a game that will belong to the defenses and even with the total set at 47.5 I still see this one going under.