Things went sour for Cal late in the season with losses to Arizona and USC in back-to-back weeks. The Golden Bears will get a chance to redeem themslves at the Holiday Bowl against Texas A&M on December 28.
The star of the Cal offense is running back Marshawn Lynch. The junior has yet to decide if hell be back for his senior season in Berkeley. Lynch has run for 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while gaining a very solid 6.1 yards per carry. He is also a threat catching the ball with 31 receptions and four touchdowns.
Cal QB Nate Longshore really struggled down the stretch, but fans have to remember that he is only a sophomore. Longshore completed less than 50-percent of his passes in each of his final three games of the regular season. He still finished the year averaging 232.2 yards through the air, and tossed 23 touchdowns passes.
Although the Bears have the 90th-ranked defense in the nation, Cal has been better than the numbers show. Not many teams have an all-conference player at every level of defense like Cal - DT Brandon Mebane, LB Desmond Bishop and CB Daymeion Hughes.
The Texas A&M defense has been the story in College Station in 2006, especially in the big upset over in-state rival Texas. The Aggies only gave up 230 yards of offense to the Longhorns in that game. They were also able to tally four interceptions on the day. The Aggies are young, but senior SS Melvin Bullitt, has been one of the big reasons why the unit has excelled.
On offense, the Aggies may pose a big problem for Cal. Not too many teams on the Bears' schedule this season have run the option - or have had a mobile quarterback for that matter. The attack features QB Stephen McGee (635 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns), RB Mike Goodson (785 rushing yards, four touchdowns on the ground), and the big RB Jorvorskie Lane (689 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns).
The question in the Holiday Bowl will likely turn into this: Will Cal be able to stop Texas A&M's rushing attack? If not, it will likely be a long day for the Bears. Also, one has to wonder if they will be into this game after missing out on a BCS Bowl after a real tough couple of losses late in the season.
Doug Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.