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Insider

CFB Insider bowl upset picks

12/22/2011

Every week during the season, Will Harris conspires with the computers (using TeamRankings' game predictor) and the wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games and give his picks for who'll come out on top.

Here's Harris look at the Bridgepoint Holiday Bowl:

Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl: Texas Longhorns vs. California Golden Bears, Dec. 28

Texas is favored by 3 points.

TeamRankings win odds for California: 38 percent

>Watch | Pick Center analysis

This should be an outstanding game between two well-prepared teams that missed bowls last year. Cal has a balanced team featuring an explosive but inconsistent offense and a solid defense with no outstanding traits but no glaring weaknesses. Texas counters with a physical, dominant defense but anemic offense. Texas is ill-equipped to exploit the Bears' vulnerability to good downfield passing attacks, but the Longhorns will benefit from finally getting tailbacks Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron healthy. Cal is amped up for this matchup with a premier program, but fewer than half the players on a young Texas squad have been bowling and the Horns are treating this one just as seriously. In a field-position game that will be mostly controlled by the defenses, Texas' far superior return and coverage units stand out, and the Longhorns' ballyhooed pair of new coordinators will really shine. Jeff Tedford is 5-2 in bowl games, but has only covered three of them. We'll lean slightly toward Texas in what should be a low-scoring affair.

The pick: Texas 21, California 17