Today we look at the season recaps for our Bears and their Holiday Bowl opponent, the Texas Longhorns. As we were all aware, our season was on the brink of disaster following the UCLA loss. Thankfully, the Bears bounced back to win 3 of 4 and earned a trip to San Diego. If the Bears cap the season with a win over Texas, the future could be bright as we return to Strawberry Canyon next year.
What's next: Beating Texas would provide a cathartic cap to the season, seeing the the Old Blues still resent Longhorns coach Mack Brown for his aggressive lobbying for his team to eclipse Cal in 2004 and go to the Rose Bowl. As for the future, Cal might be sneaky good in 2012, perhaps even the top contender in the North Division behind Oregon. There's solid talent on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense. If Maynard continues to improve, the Bears could be a threat to win nine or 10 games next fall.
Texas has also had its share of highs and lows this season. Their defense is one of the best in the nation but their offense consists of an injury-depleted yet talented stable running backs who try to make you forget how bad the quarterbacks are.
This season was all about change for the Longhorns, and they made plenty in the offseason, bringing in offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to inject some youth and new ideas into Mack Brown's coaching staff, as well as a handful of new assistants.
Both were as advertised, though Diaz's side of the ball showed much better results. For a fourth consecutive season, Texas led the Big 12 in total defense, and did so by a wide, wide margin, exactly 67 yards a game. It also finished second in the Big 12 in scoring defense, limiting big plays all season and keeping a struggling offense within reach of several games.
Offensively, youth and injuries were the story all season. Garrett Gilbert made two starts before ceding the quarterback spot to inexperienced sophomore Case McCoy and true freshman David Ash. Their top weapons? True freshman running back Malcolm Brown and receiver Jaxon Shipley, as well as sophomore receiver Mike Davis. That wasn't a recipe for success, at least immediately. Texas didn't bounce back all the way from its 5-7 season in 2010, but it was better this year and much more focused offensively. Injuries to Brown and Shipley, as well as fellow freshman back Joe Bergeron, handcuffed Ash and McCoy late in the season, but the Longhorns had a season to build on.
After the jump Cal basketball posts its largest win differential in 20 years and Zach Maynard may have some difficulty passing against Texas.
- GoldenBearLair recaps seven players' recruiting visits to Cal last weekend, including quotes from several of the players.
- Bryan Anger was awarded the College Football Performance Awards Elite Punter Trophy at yesterday's basketball game against San Jose State.
- Zach Maynard will face a tough challenge passing the ball against the Texas secondary.
- Isi Sofele, Marvin Jones, Justin Cheadle, D.J. Holt, and Sean Cattouse earn spots on Ted Miller's All-Underrated Pac-12 team.
- CalBears.com has quotes and video from yesterday's post-game press conference. Monty said Richard Solomon has been reinstated and will return to the court soon.
- Faraudo recaps the game and includes some photos.
- Faraudo's game thread follows the blowout. The Bears lead 15-2 five minutes in and never looked back.
- BearTerritory.net recaps the game.