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2009 Poinsettia Bowl Preview: No. 23 Utah vs Cal

Next Game

Utah Utes
@ California Golden Bears

Wednesday, Dec 23, 2009, 5:00 PM PST
San Diego County Poinsettia Bowl - Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA

Q+A about Poinsettia Bowl
Poinsettia Bowl Q&A with California Golden Blogs
Cal's RB Jahvid Best Out for Poinsettia Bowl

Complete Coverage >

When it comes to bowl games, the Utes are as good as they come.  Utah will be looking to extend the nations longest bowl game win streak Wednesday night as they face the (8-4) California Golden Bears.  The Utes have won 8 straight bowl games, which has included wins over Alabama, USC, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.  The (9-3) Utes will also be looking to reach the 10 win mark on the season.

Utah will be going up against their former offensive coordinator, Andy Ludwig.  Being the Utes offensive coordinator last season, he knows their team well.  The defensive minded Kyle Whittingham however, knows his style of play well too.  We will have to see how much that plays into the game.

Cal will be without their best playerJahvid Best who is still recovering from his fall against Oregon State.  His replacement, Shane Vereen, is very good though.  Cal shouldn't have too much of a drop off at running back.  Vereen is slower than Best, but is a bit more elusive.  Utah struggled defending the run against Oregon and TCU but did a good job against BYU.  

The biggest question for Cal is what team will show up to this game?  Will the Cal squad that beat Stanford and Arizona play?  Or, the one that was crushed by Washington?  The Utes are hoping that it is the latter.  Cal can be a dangerous team, who entered the season expecting to win the Pac-10.

In a statistical comparison between the two teams that we did, it was determined that Cal is a better offensive team while Utah is the better defensive team.  The margin of victory for Cal offensively was very slim however.  Statistically it appears that Utah has the edge.  Utah is a 3 point underdog however.

Look for Jordan Wynn to have a big game passing the ball.  Cal has a weak secondary which allows 260.1 yards over the air.  Wynn will be in familiar territory playing his third game in Qualcomm Stadium where he was (2-0) as the quarterback of Oceanside High School.

The Mountain West is having a great start to the bowl season with a (2-0) record thus far.  Utah is looking to continue the statement by giving them a third win.  This is another big MWC vs. Pac-10 matchup, who are developing a great and competitive rivalry.  

I'm expecting a great and close game, but I think Utah wins.  The Utes are just too good in bowl games for me to doubt them.  Both teams should come out inspired, looking to end their season with a win, rather than a two game losing streak.