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The game itself should be decent enough, but the storyline surrounding this game is the primary reason that it made the list.
As Cal fans won’t ever forget, back in 2004 the Golden Bears were in position for their first Rose Bowl berth in nearly a half-century before Texas coach Mack Brown publicly campaigned for voters to place his Longhorns ahead of the Cal Bears. Although a good look at each team’s resume would have shown that Cal was the more-deserving team, Brown’s campaigning had an effect on the voters.
As a result, Texas passed Cal in the final BCS standings, dropping the Bears to No. 5 and, due to abnormal circumstances that year, leaving Cal out of a BCS bowl.
Analysts, writers and fans from different teams all across the country were enraged at and disgusted by Brown’s politicking. Brown was portrayed as a villain, and rightfully so. Any other coach in his position would have simply said something along the lines of “Cal’s a great team and we’re a great team; it’s unfortunate that only one of us can make it. We’ll just have to see how it all shakes out and hope for the best.”
Instead, Brown violated the unwritten rule of letting your team’s performance on the field do the talking. He publicly degraded Cal and begged voters to put his Longhorns ahead of the Golden Bears. And he got his way.
Needless to say, for the past seven years the Golden Bear faithful have been itching for a shot at revenge on Brown and his Longhorns, and the time has finally come.
As for the two teams actually playing on the field, although both finished at 7-5, each will arrive in San Diego on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cal seems to have finally hit their stride, winning three of their last four games, with their only blemish being a three-point loss at Stanford in the Big Game. Meanwhile, the Longhorns have lost three out of their last four and were blown out by Baylor in their season finale.
Regardless, both teams appear to be of similar caliber, and the result should be a good game.
And a very entertaining one when taking into account what happened back in 2004.