California ensured that it would be going bowling for the first time since 2011 with a 54-24 win over Oregon State on Nov. 14, and on Sunday, the Golden Bears (7-5) found out just where they'd be going for that bowl: Fort Worth, Tex.
Cal, with a 4-5 conference record and a seventh-place finish in the Pac-12 (having beaten fellow 4-5 teams Washington and Arizona State), will meet Air Force on Dec. 29 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT) on ESPN. This will be the fifth time that the Falcons will play in the Armed Forces Bowl, and in one of those previous five trips, they faced off against the Bears. After a 5-0 start to the 2007 season, No. 2 Cal lost to Oregon State at home, when Kevin Riley was tackled shy of the end zone on a broken play at Memorial Stadium. From there, the Bears lost five of their next six games.
Riley completed touchdown passes to Jackson and Lavelle Hawkins to make it 21–14 Falcons at the half, and Cal went on to win 42-36.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1620297-elephant-in-room-r... A win in the re-match would give Cal its first eight-win season since the 2009 team was 8-5 with only 17 squads since the beginning of Cal football in 1882-83 winning either nine or 10 contests.
“We are excited to have been selected for the Armed Forces Bowl and even more excited to have an opportunity to win our eighth game this season,” head coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement (he was not made available for live comment). “The Armed Forces Bowl will be a tremendous experience for our players, coaches and fans. We’re looking forward to both the bowl experience and the opportunity to continue to get better and put in the work to prepare ourselves for this game. Our players and coaches have worked hard to bring our football program to this point and it’s great that their work is being rewarded with this opportunity.”
California comes into the bowl with a bit of uncertainty in the head coach's office, as Dykes has reportedly flirted with three coaching openings over the past week, and a Friday-morning staff meeting provided no clarity on the status of his contract extension negotiations with the Cal administration. Sources close to the situation say that something will be worked out, and that Dykes is likely to stay, with a salary increase that will take him out of the Pac-12 cellar.
"We are still in the process of negotiating an extension with Coach Dykes," a Cal spokesman said on Friday. "Included in those conversations is the salary pool available for assistant coaches and staff."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1620357-bears-and-falcons-... On the field, the Bears have two first-team All-Pac-12 selections in quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Kenny Lawler. The Bears will not have the services of defensive end Jonathan Johnson in the bowl game, but there is a possibility that safety Damariay Drew, who missed the season finale against Arizona State, could play. Running back Daniel Lasco, who endured multiple injuries this season, but was invited -- and accepted his invitation -- to the East-West Shrine Bowl this week, will probably be questionable, after spraining his ankle against Oregon State, and missing the last two games. He has rushed for 331 yards and five TDs this season, after rushing for over 1,000 yards last year.
The Falcons are 8-5, after having lost each of their last two games, 27-24 to San Diego State in the Mountain West championship game at Qualcomm Stadium, and 47-35 to New Mexico, but came in first in the conference's Mountain Division. The lost 35-21 to Michigan State, the No. 3 seed in the College Football Playoff, in the third week of the season.
The Falcons are third in the nation in rushing yards per game with their option offense, at 321.8 yards per game.
“I’m thrilled for our student-athletes, coaches, fans and everyone associated with the Cal football program,” Director of Athletics Mike Williams said in a statement. “Our student-athletes and coaching staff are a resilient group, and I’m extremely proud of all the work they have all put in both on and off the field to accomplish this goal. We’re honored to play in the Armed Forces Bowl and it is going to be a tremendous experience for everyone involved. Our student-athletes have earned this and it is a great way for our seniors to finish their careers at Cal.”
Williams and Goff will be speaking on a conference call this afternoon for the Armed Forces Bowl.
The Bears are one of 10 Pac-12 teams -- a record -- to make a postseason bowl game this season. Colorado and Oregon State were the only two teams not bowl eligible.