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2008 Emerald Bowl Preview

#24 California (8-4, 6-3 Pac Ten) vs. Miami (Fl) (7-5, 4-4 ACC)

December 27th, 2008 @ 8:00 PM (EST) – ESPN – San Francisco, California



The Miami Hurricanes travel across the country to take on the Cal Golden Bears in San Francisco's Emerald Bowl. Cal will be playing right across the San Francisco Bay from their campus and should enjoy a significant home field advantage. The Bears are a much more veteran team than the very young Hurricanes, who played the second most freshmen in the entire country this year.

Miami entered the season fully committed to their youth movement after coach Randy Shannon roped in the country’s top recruiting class this past February. The Hurricanes were loaded with talent, though light on experience. Things seemed to be coming together well for the ‘Canes after winning five games in a row in October and November but they stumbled mightily in their final two games, giving up 691 rushing yards in two losses. Miami rotates two freshman quarterbacks while junior tailback Graig Cooper is the Hurricanes’ top rusher. On defense, Miami is absolutely oozing with young talent and that young talent’s apparent rapid maturation was the biggest reason behind their 5 game run. However, their defense collapsed late, reminding everyone that this is still a very young team.

Cal opened their season with an impressive win at home over Michigan State and has featured a solid defense throughout the season. Notable accomplishments include holding USC to their season low of 17 points and Oregon to their second lowest total of 16. Cal features one of the country’s best tailbacks in sophomore Jahvid Best, who ran for nearly 1,400 yards and 13 Touchdowns this season. Best finished up the season with over 500 yards rushing in the season’s final two games! Cal’s starting quarterback is sophomore Kevin Riley, though senior Nate Longshore has seen a fair amount of action as well. Head Coach Jeff Tedford is one of the game’s brightest offensive minds and Cal will enjoy a significant advantage on the sidelines.

The Bears did not lose a game at home all season, which bodes well considering that this game will be played less than twenty minutes from their campus. However, here is the most telling statistic in this game; Jahvid Best’s rushing yards in Cal’s last two games: 512. Miami rushing yards allowed their last two games: 691. That does not bode well for the Hurricanes. Furthermore, Cal is a much more veteran team that has been much more consistent on the defensive side of the football. While Miami’s future looks bright, this is still a football team that is composed primarily of 18 and 19 year olds that will have trouble scoring and stopping Jahvid Best. All signs point here to a fairly easy Cal victory.

Emerald Bowl Pick: California 31 - Miami 16

 

by Matt Baxendell
CollegeSports-fans.com Staff Writer


 


 

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