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The Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences battle in San Diego December 28 in the second of two San Diego bowl games. California ended the regular season on a high ntoe, while the Longhorns have struggled to cross the finish line, but both squads played quality football to qualify for bowl games. This will be an opportunity to end the season on a high note when they play each other in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.

Texas has been victorious in all four games against Cal, though the last matchup was back in 1970.

The current Holiday Bowl spread list Texas as a 3-point favorite, while the total has been set at 47.5 points.

California

Cal enters this meeting on a pretty good run, having won three of their last four games, with the only blemish a 31-28 defeat to top-10 Stanford. Recently, Cal won at Arizona State, 47-38, to finish fourth in the Pac-12 North (4-5) and post a 2-4 record away from home.

Cal ranks 47th nationally in scoring offense (30 points per game) while racking up 418 yards per game (252 passing, 166 on the ground). Zach Maynard has hit on 57 percent of his throws for 2,806 yards and 17 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. The offensive line has given up 22 sacks.

Keenan Allen anchors the receiving crops with 89 receptions (34 more than anyone else) for 1,261 yards and six scores, while Isi Sofele paces the rushing game with 1,266 yards and nine touchdowns on 5.5 yards per contest.

On defense, Cal ranks 52nd in the country in points surrendered (24 ppg), giving up 339 yards per game (209 through the air, 130 on the ground) while recording 32 sacks and forcing 23 turnovers two of which were returned for TDs (Trevor Guyton, fumble; Josh Hill, interception).

Mychal Kendricks anchors the defense with 96 stops, adding three sacks, a team-best two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, while D.J. Holt adds 81 stops with two sacks. Guyton and Ernest Owusu have nine combined sacks, chipping in 69 tackles, three forced fumbles and two recoveries.

Texas

The Longhorns started 4-0 but have staggered into this game, dropping three of their last four contests most recently a 48-24 defeat at Baylor. Overall, UT was 3-3 as a visitor this season, but did win its only contest in the state of California a 49-20 victory at UCLA.

The Longhorns list 42nd in the country in points given up (23 ppg), allowing 316 yards per game (212 passing, 104 running) while compiling 23 sacks and generating 21 turnovers with one being taken back for a score (Carrington Byndom, pick).

Emmanuel Acho leads this defense with 122 stops (26 more than anyone else), chipping in three sacks and a forced fumble, while Alex Okafor has seven sacks, 54 tackles, two forced fumbles and one recovery. Quandre Diggs adds a team-best three interceptions with 48 stops and two forced fumbles.

Texas rates 53rd in the country in scoring offense (29 ppg), compiling 404 yards per game (210 on the ground, 194 through the air). Malcolm Brown leads the running game with 707 yards and five scores on 4.4 yards per tote.

David Ash and Case McCoy switch off at quarterback, combining to complete 59 % of their throws for 1,971 yards and 10 scores with 12 picks. The offensive line has allowed 26 sacks. Mike Davis is the top receiving target with 45 receptions for 609 yards and one touchdown, while Jaxon Shipley has 40 grabs for 593 yards and three scores in nine games.

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2011 Holiday Bowl Free Pick: Texas -3

Texas has been the more consistent team this year. I don’t like the way Cal has played away from home this season. The Longhorns should have a good game plan going into this one, and I think they have the superior talent as well. I like Texas to cover here.

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