Holiday Bowl Preview: California, Texas and a Streak or Two or Three

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, December 28, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

What it is: BLOG FAIL

The Sponsor: After reading some of the "About Us" section of their website, I still have no idea:

Bridgepoint Education offers innovative approaches to the challenges faced in higher education. Bridgepoint subsidiaries tackle issues such as affordability, transferability of credits and online convenience, without sacrificing overall academic quality. By providing both online and campus-based programs at Ashford University and University of the Rockies, Bridgepoint offers access to both traditional and adult learners seeking high quality, convenient higher education degree programs.

The Teams: California and Texas

How California got here: On a roller coaster. The Golden Bears won three, lost three, won one, lost one, won two, lost one, won one. Fun fact: Only one of those wins (Utah) came against a team with a winning record on the season, and the only other team at .500 after the regular season (Arizona State) lost its bowl game. About the only exception thing about this Cal team is Isi Sofele, who ranks 20th in the country with 105.8 yards a game. Well, the pass defense is also pretty good, and Cal averages 7.7 tackles for loss a game -- fifth in the country. But otherwise, this is a team that's pretty much won the games that they had to win to get to a bowl game, and there's nothing terribly impressive about that when you had so few high-caliber games to win.

How Texas got here: Being hot early. The Longhorns got off to a 4-0 start to get rid of a lot of the bad taste from last year's disastrous campaign. Then came the 55-17 shellacking against Oklahoma and a double-digit loss to Oklahoma State, and everyone was reminded of the rebuilding job Mack Brown has ahead of him. Texas' rushing attack churned out 210.4 yards a game, but the passing game sputtered, and the team in burnt orange was "only" able to generate 404 yards a game. That ain't much in the Big 12. Even with Will Muschamp gone, the Longhorns do play some solid defense, which allowed them to hang around even in most of their losses.

College football fans care because: It's the first matchup to feature one of the sports' truly marquee names, even if that name isn't very good right now.

SEC fans care because: You should all know by now why to root against Texas.

Watch this game if...: You don't mind listening to a four-hour infomercial for the Longhorn Network.

The result: Texas 24, Cal 20

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