Happy Holiday Bowl

So it’s a day after Christmas and all through Cal’s house, not a creature was stirring, not even …

Well, let’s just say it’s kind of quiet here in San Diego, and that’s probably a good thing for Cal’s football team. Unlike 2004, the team is concentrating on beating Texas A&M, and not where they should or shouldn’t be.

Everything was pretty much business as usual today at practice. There have been no key injuries and nothing out of the ordinary, except for a nasty little stomach cramp job suffered by several players due to something they ate. That should be cleared out – literally — by game time.

When looking at so many crummy bowl matchups, this one really is pretty good, even if everyone hates the Pac-10’s bowl arrangements — as they should.

But it will be interesting to see if that Texas A&M defense, so effective against the Big 12 powers, will be able to stop a Pac-10 offense that slowed down in the last three games of the season.

My guess is that Cal’s offense is about to resurface. I think the players are very excited to be facing a traditional college football power and one that just beat Texas. Put DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch in front of the national spotlight, and i would imagine that good things are about to happen.

Quarterback Nate Longshore looks confident and happy, and I think he is going to bounce back with a big game.

In a way, the 2006 season is over. This game really is about 2007, even though Cal has some very talented seniors who will be leaving. But this is the lasting image that national press will get of Cal going into next season. Will it be of a team that couldn’t live up to the hype of national title contender, or will it be of a team that fell a little short against USC and went ahead and buried one of the Big 12’s top teams.

With all of its returning talent, Cal will be ranked highly again going into next season if it can beat A&M. Like it or not, that preseason hype put Cal in position to earn a BCS berth even though it stumbled in the opener against TEnnessee.

So Cal fans had better get behind their team in this game. A&M’s faithful will turn out in full force, and the Bears might need the support.