Miami will make its first Emerald Bowl appearance, 34th overall postseason bowl showing and first bowl under head coach Randy Shannon.
This will be the fourth time Miami and California have met, and the first since 1991. Miami holds a 2-1 edge in the series, but this will be the first time the teams have met at a neutral site. Of course, "neutral" may not be the right word for it since Cal only has to travel 8.5 miles from its Berkeley campus.
The last time the 'Canes played in the state of California was 2001 when they beat Nebraska 37-14 in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. Miami is 13-5 all-time against teams from the state of California, and is 4-3 in games played in the Golden State.
Miami is 18-13 in 31 previous bowls, and 8-2 in its last 10.
Miami linebacker Sean Spence was named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year as the newcomer finished third on the team during the regular season with 62 total tackles and led all Miami
linebackers with 7.5 tackles for loss.
The Hurricanes bring a 7-5 record into the contest. A five-game winning streak followed a 2-3 start and a win over Virginia Tech on November 13 put them in position to win the ACC title. However, Miami fell 41-23 at Georgia Tech in the very next game, and lost the season finale at N.C. State 38-28.
The Golden Bears finished the regular season with an 8-4 mark for their fifth 8-win season under head coach Jeff Tedford, tying legendary Bear coaches Andy Smith (1916-25) and Pappy Waldorf (1947-56) for most career 8-win seasons. It is also the third season Cal has gone undefeated at home
under Tedford, having done so previously in 2004 and 2006.
The only wins for the Golden Bears against teams that finished with winning records came in home games against Michigan State in the season opener, and Oregon on November 1. Cal's last four games included losses at USC and Oregon State before defeating Stanford and Washington at home. Its' only road win was at lowly Washington State in week two.
The Golden Bears are making a school record sixth consecutive bowl appearance. They are 4-1 in bowl games under Tedford, and 9-8-1 overall.
California senior center Alex Mack was the winner of the 2008
Draddy Trophy as the nation’s top football scholar athlete.
The Bears' Jahvid Best ended the regular season with 1,394 rushing yards, the fourth highest total in school history. Cal, along with New Mexico, is one of only two FBS schools to have a 1,000-yard rusher each of the last seven seasons.
Zach Follett was the Golden Bears’ leader in both tackles for loss (19.0) and quarterback sacks (8.5).
The game will be televised on ESPN at 8 p.m. eastern on Saturday, December 27.