Initial Thought: Go back to what you know.
We all do it, so it's not a surprise that Texas head coach Mack Brown would fall back to his old standbys: a punishing run-oriented offense and tenacious defense.
Even with a reconfigured coaching staff, Brown put the Longhorns back in a bowl game and secured a winning record after last season's 5-7 implosion by getting back to what made him successfully initially in Austin.
Texas is averaging 211 yards rushing per game, led by freshmen running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. The defense is in the top 10 nationally in rushing, pass efficiency and total yards.
X-factor: Quarterback Case McCoy
It's been an odd year for the sophomore, appearing to seize control of the starting job in a rout of UCLA, only to seemingly give way to freshman David Ash, then returning to lead the last-second win at Texas A&M.
As such, his numbers are minimal (678 yards passing, four touchdowns and no interceptions).
With one last game at Baylor and then a month of bowl prep, McCoy could be leading a vastly improved passing game.
Why Cal would win: The stout Cal front seven neutralizes the Texas running game, putting the Longhorns in obvious passing downs and quarterback Case McCoy wilts under pressure. Running back Isi Sofele is able to ground out enough just yardage to pull out the victory in a ferocious and physical contest.
Why Cal would lose: With a talented defensive line comparable to that of USC, Texas is able to put the game on Cal quarterback Zach Maynard, who regresses with another multiple interception game. The Cal defense can't withstand the huge edge in time of possession and eventually breaks down against the multi-faceted ground attack.
Initial Prediction: Cal 23, Texas 20