The 2011 college football bowl season rolls on this week with the California Golden Bears (7-5) of the PAC-12 Conference traveling to San Diego, CA to take on the Texas Longhorns (7-5) of the Big 12 this Wednesday evening (8:00pm ET) in the Holiday Bowl. California won their season finale at conference rival Arizona St. by a score of 47-38 on November 25 to cover the 6 point line. Texas was blown out by conference and in-state rival Baylor in their season finale on the road by a score of 48-24 on December 3. The Golden Bears are 7-5 ATS this season and the longhorns are 6-6 ATS this year.
The Golden Bears rank in the middle of the pack offensively with an average 29.8 points per game scored (47th nationally) and 418.4 yards per game of total offense (37th nationally). The Cal defense has allowed 24.4 PPG (52nd in the nation) and a very respectable 339.4 YPG to rank 26th in the nation in total defense. The Longhorns have been mediocre offensively this season, averaging 28.7 PPG (54th in the nation) and 404 YPG (44th nationally) in a two quarterback rotation that features Case McCoy (1,054 yards passing and 61.4 completion rate) and David Ash (926 yards passing, TDs, 8 INTs). The Texas defense ranks has been the strength of the team, ranking 15th in the nation in total defense with 315.3 YPG allowed while allowing 23.2 PPG to rank 43rd nationally in scoring defense.
California vs. Texas Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
California Golden Bears +4
@Texas Longhorns -4
Over 47.5 (-110)
Under 47.5 (-110)
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California vs. Texas Pick:
California is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 December games. Texas is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite and 4-9 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games. The under is 7-2 in the Golden Bears’ last 9 games overall and the over is 19-6-1 in their last 26 non-conference games. The over is 4-0 in the Longhorns’ last 4 games against Pac-12 teams and 7-3 in their last 10 bowl games. There have been no recent meetings between the two teams.
Texas has not been able to establish any consistency on offense all season long, and neither quarterback has stepped up to claim the job. Texas also will be without running back Fozzy Whitaker, and backups Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron will be recovering from injuries if they are able to play at all. Cal has a top running back in Isi Sofele (1,261 yards rushing, 9 TDs) but the Longhorns with a rank of 11th in the nation against the run with a stingy 103.7 YPG allowed, can hold him in check. Cal QB Zach Maynard (2,802 passing yards, 56.8% completion rate) is not a consistent performer and will not be a huge threat against the Longhorns because he does not have the accuracy or the speedy threats at wide receiver to take advantage of the big plays that Texas has been known to give up in the secondary. If Texas can find a healthy running back to shoulder the load, they should be able to pound the Cal defense consistently, control the clock and win the game decisively due to their huge advantage on the defensive side of the ball. Cal is a finesses team and the bet here is that they will not be able to keep up physically if Texas is able to dictate the tempo. Take Texas to cover here.