Cal accepts Holiday Bowl invite, will face Texas
Simone Anne Lang/File

Cal fans haven’t forgotten.

In 2004, a loss to Texas cost the Cal football team a Rose Bowl bid — except the teams never played that season.

The Bears finished the regular season with a 10-1 record, their lone loss at the hands of eventual national champion USC. That appeared to open the Pac-10’s spot in the Rose Bowl for Cal, but Longhorns head coach Mack Brown lobbied the media and Texas, with the same record, received the berth.

The Bears will have an opportunity for a revenge of sorts at 5 p.m. on Dec. 28 when the two teams face off in the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. The two programs have both accepted invitations, announced Chuck Wasker, president of the 2011 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, on Sunday.

Jeff Tedford remains, as does Brown, but not much else is the same for the teams. Instead of fighting over “The Granddaddy of Them All” with nearly spotless records, they are matched up in a middle tier bowl with 10 losses collectively. Nevertheless, the squads look to be evenly matched; they have identical records this season, both going 7-5 overall and 4-5 in conference play.

“2004 is a long time ago. I don’t remember much about it except for feeling like there was a great opportunity there,” Tedford said in a statement. “We all felt like we were going to the Rose Bowl. However it unfolded, we were left scratching our heads as to how that happened. But that was a long time ago. I felt bad for our team because I really felt like we deserved to be in the Rose Bowl that year, but we’re in 2011 now and it is a whole different situation.”

Cal finished its regular season off strong, bouncing back from a blowout loss at UCLA on Oct. 29 to win three of its last four. The Bears crushed Oregon State, 23-6, two weeks later to become bowl eligible. A Big Game upset fell short, but Cal closed out the regular season with its first conference road win, defeating Arizona State in a high-scoring affair.

Texas, meanwhile, won its first four, including a 49-20 whopping of the Bruins in Pasadena, Calif. The Longhorns came back to earth in the Big 12 season, losing to all four ranked teams they faced.

Two Pac-12 squads received BCS bowl berths. Conference winner Oregon will take on Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, while Stanford will battle Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Holiday Bowl held the third pick out of the Pac-12 and the fifth pick out of the Big 12. The Cardinal’s Fiesta Bowl berth and fifth-ranked USC’s postseason ban opened up room for the Bears to move up. Texas finished sixth in the Big 12 after a 48-24 loss to Baylor, but all eight bowls with a conference ties passed over fifth-place Missouri.

The Bears’ 2011 home, San Francisco’s AT&T Park, is the location of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, where UCLA will face Illinois on Dec. 31.

Washington, Utah and Arizona State received bowl berths in the Alamo, Sun and Las Vegas Bowls, respectively.

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  • loverspoint

    Amazing how the writers of the Daily Californian have suddenly abandoned their interest in Cal Football. Nothing about Cal Recruits, who has given their verbal or what players are considering going to Cal?  How are players that will be returning next year dealing with their  4th place finish in the Pac-12 North? How do they feel about their upcoming Bowl game against Texas? For some Cal Seniors the Holiday Bowl will be maybe their last chance to shine and gain some interest from NFL Scouts. Since I think it is safe to say that you won’t be seeing any under classmen leaving for the NFL, it is shocking that the only Cal Senior players that most Mock Drafts are paying any attention to are Trevor Guyton and Mychal Kendricks.

  • loverspoint

    Although team stats say that both of these teams are pretty equally matched up. Cal having a slight advantage on offense while Texas has a slight advantage on defense. But when you look at individual stats Cals starting player on offense are far ahead of the players at Texas.

    Cal-Zack Maynard passing yards- 2802
    Tex-Case McCoy passing yards – 1034
    Cal- Isi Sofele rushing yards- 1270
    Tex- Malcolm Brown rushing yards- 707
    Cal- Keenan Allen- receiving yards- 1261
    Cal- Marvin Jones- receiving yards- 758
    Tex- Jaxon Shipley- receiving yards- 598
    Tex- Mike Davis – receiving yards- 609

    Over all I would say that Cal is a better team, the question will be if Cal’s offensive line will be able to keep the Texas pass rush from sacking Zack, and if the Cal coaches can come up with a decent offensive and defensive game plan. A win against Texas will give Cal fans some peace of mind knowing that the loss to UCLA was a fluke.

    • Fed Up Alum

      Fluke? How about the loss to the feckless Dawgs? Or the struggle to beat a hapless Colorado? Or the blow outs against $C & the Dux? Tedford faced 9 REALLY (really) bad teams this year and and beating 7 of them is nothing to be proud of. Statistics? When you’re facing the level of competition that Cal did this year, stats are irrelevant. I’ve been a Cal follower for 40 years — as a wannabe student, student, and alum — and this is one of the *worst* teams that I have seen; not from a talent standpoint but from its *coaching* and fundamentals.

      The fact is that Cal doesn’t deserve this game, any more than it deserves the horror that is Tedford.  Save the smack for a Cal team which has better coaching, Pal…sometime AFTER 2015 when Tedford’s name is not on the door.

      • loverspoint

        You won’t get me arguing with much of what you said. Cal should have never lost to UCLA, it was disgraceful. Looking at Tedfords career only makes me speculate that things are only going to get worse with him as Head Coach. When he took over the only team consistently in Cals way was USC, occasionally Oregon,  Oregon St. , Arizona, Arizona St. would beat us. In the past few years Cal has shown that they can’t beat USC, Oregon, Stanford, or Washington. Next year there will be a flood of 4 very good head coaches taking over for schools that used to be doormats for Cal, Cal does not seem to be ascending but instead descending into the lower ranks of the Pac-12. A win against Texas would do a lot for Cals recruiting. If I were the AD of Cal I’d be telling Tedford: You win against Texas we give you 2 more years, you lose, you’re gone.

      • GoldenBearFarEast

        Geez, Hate…now who needs to give it up and get a life?

  • Sshafikh

    I am glad that Cal is going to Holiday bowl.
    On a more somber note, my 11-year old son brought to my attention that  Cal’s graduation rate is less than 60% which puts it in the 9th place just above Arizona. In contrast, stanford’s graduation rate ( which by the way is in the first place) was nearly 89%. It’s a shame, how Cal football program has forgotten its primary mission which is to provide its student athletes with solid education to succeed in the game of life.

    • Thedude

      A) Cal football generates revenue
      B) NCAA sports are not about education.
      C) Stanfurd costs a lot more than UC.

      I agree that it’s sad though.

      • Sshafikh

        The dude,

        I disagree with your points. It’s unacceptable for UC Berkeley to have lower graduation rates than 8 other universities in Pac-12. As an alum, I cherish the education I received at Berkeley and wouldn’t be willing to compromise this institution’s integrity even if it means we would lose the money. Although, I believe that higher education and sports are not mutually exclusive and can co-exist. Case-in-point, Stanford.

    • Hate the Red

      HAD you gone to a *real* university (your post had Furd written all over it) you’d know that the sample sizes are *so* small that percentages are irrelevant.

      Add the fact that the more talent a football team has, the lower that graduation rates will be because of the NFL. During the time of the study, Furd had one of the *least* talented teams in the conference (remember the whole “we’re too smart to play football” thing?) and Cal had one of the *most* talented teams.

      Wrap all that with the fact that Cal is a top university in the nation — unlike all but one other in the conference — and is *inherently* disadvantaged on this measure…it is simply harder to graduate from Cal than others in the conference.

      Bottom-line: Go away, Furdie, and take your classes on for-credit classes on pumpkin carving and Happiness 101 and your “easy A” lists with you.

    • Sportsrus

      Cal’s priorities and motives  are questionable from top to bottom.

  • loverspoint

    Ok your article confirms that Tedford has a terrible memory. Maybe a better memory would allow him to remember where he left his playbook. The fact that Texas beat UCLA who in turn beat Cal means nothing. Can the coaching staff prepare Cal? Cal’s team seems better than Texas, will Maynard have one of those games where he is flawless or one of those games where he gives the game away with turnovers.

  • loverspoint

    I just hope Texas starts McCoy.

    • Apex Predator

      Me too.  It’ll be funny when old noodle-arm beats the hapless golden shower bears.

  • GoldenBearFarEast

    Dear Mary…stop with the “strength of schedule” garbage, it makes you sound like an SEC fan-tasizer! In 2004, Texas played 3 absolute patsies in non-league play, who had a combined record of 15-19. Cal played 3 patsies in non-league play, but their combined record was 17-17. Advantage Cal. In league play, Texas’ opponents had a combined 54-41 record, while Cal’s opponents had a combined 48-45 record. Could be advantage Texas…but probably is only because Big-12 teams usually schedule bigger patsies for their non-league games (much like the SEC). The best record of the three non-league teams Texas played was had by North Texas (at 7-5)…part of the Sun Belt Conference, one of the weakest leagues in Div. 1 (now FBS) football. So, how can we decide which team deserved the Rose Bowl more? How about common opponents? Oops, there weren’t any! How about the results of each teams biggest game of the year? Cal lost to USC, on the road, 23-17. Texas was shut out by Oklahoma, 12-0, also on the road. Seems pretty close on the basis of the results. But look into the details: Texas was not only shut out, but statistically dominated, 24 first downs to 13, 414 yards of offense to 240, by the team that ended up number 2 in the polls. Cal on the other hand statistically dominated the team that ended up number 1 in the polls, 28 first downs to 12, 424 yards to 205. So, did Texas really deserve the Rose Bowl more than Cal? Not really. And let’s try one degree of separation at the end of the bowl season (I hope Texans can follow the transitive property): USC beats up Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, 55-19. Oklahoma had beaten Texas, 12-0. USC had beaten Cal 23-17. Cal had a better defense than Oklahoma, and Texas couldn’t even score on OK. Advantage Cal. Oops, but Texas had beaten Texas Tech 51-21, and then Tech pounded Cal in the Holiday Bowl, 45-31. Cal fans could whine that it was a letdown after being screwed out of the Rose Bowl, but that would be just a childish as claiming Texas deserved the Rose due to “strength of schedule”. There is no good argument on either side. But the simple fact is that Texas made the Rose Bowl because their coach personally lobbied voters in the polls, which is a fact he admitted freely. Bottom line…I STILL VOTE FOR A PLAYOFF!!!

    • Fed Up Alum

      Though 2004 *was* the last time Tedford acted much like a $2.8 million per year football coach, it is ancient history.

      Instead of fretting about Rose Bowl opportunities lost,  you (and we) should be worrying about finding a coach who can get us to a *future* Rose Bowl; obviously, that is not Tedford.

      Give it up and get a life, dude.

      • GoldenBearFarEast

        Hate, I gave it up a long time ago! Been a Bear fan for too long to dwell on the Rose Bowl! No way am I dwelling on 2004. But, it continues to amaze me the crap that some fans will spout as the gospel. Had to answer, and to be honest, had some free time that day ;)   Let’s watch the next few years…Coach Ted is around for one or two more for sure…maybe the new facilities will put them over the top in terms of recruiting, and then his successor can take them to Pasadena…

    • Apex Predator

      U MAD?

    • Rhondaleebaby69

      I think “common opponent” trumps everything.  Texas thumped Texas Tech in their own house, who then thumped Cal in their own state.

  • Maryyoungblood20

    Texas deserved that bowl in 2004 because of our tougher schedule.  That was evidenced by the fact that we won the 2004 Rose Bowl and Cal got drummed by a Tech team that we blew out on the road earlier in the year.  It is 2011 and time for Cal to get over it.  Go Horns, bring home the W baby!

    • Scotraley

      what a crock Maryyoungblood. All the butt kissing  and back door deals Mac Brown did to get his team in the Rose Bowl in 2004 led to significant changes into the system of how teams get ranked.  That is a fact and thankfully he and other coaches like him will not be able to use their influence to “buy” bowl bids. 

    • Ricky Williams Loves to Blaze


      Flawed logic.

      Who cares that you blew out Tech? You really think all circumstances were equal? Your game was a regular season game; a game you had to win. And bully to you–y’all did. Maybe, maybe Cal was a bit let down by having to settle for the Holoday Bowl, a game that was tarnished in importance.

      Also, it is irrelevant that you beat Michigan. How can you prove that Cal wouldn’t have won? Give you a hint: you can’t.

    • loverspoint

      Looking back on hind sight. Cal would have sent Aaron Rodgers to the Rose Bowl as the starting QB, who was the QB of Texas at the time? 

    • Guest

      Look at 2003, when Texas missed a chance to go to a BCS bowl, and instead landed in the Holiday Bowl, where they proceeded to lose to an inferior Washington State in a letdown game.