"We are ecstatic that Cal is going to be in the Emerald Bowl," Cavalli said. "With the success the team has had under Jeff Tedford, the Bears have become not only a Bay Area story, but a national college football name as well. This is the first time the Emerald Bowl has had either of the Bay Area's Pac-10 teams. I expect this to be our biggest game yet," Cavalli said.
The Emerald Bowl and the Pacific-10 Conference reached agreement in 2005 to have a Pac-10 representative in the game. UCLA and Oregon State played in the Emerald Bowl previously.
"Playing near home in the Emerald Bowl allows all of our fans the opportunity to see the team in a great postseason atmosphere," said Sandy Barbour, California's director of athletics. "The Emerald Bowl will be a chance for all Bears - students, faculty, alumni - to come together for a great evening and what I'm sure will be a great matchup."
Cal's Emerald Bowl opponent will be known Sunday. The only bowl game pairing teams from the Pacific-10 vs the ACC, Emerald Bowl VII will once again be televised nationally by ESPN. Kickoff is 5:00 p.m. PT and it will be the only game played the evening of the 27th.
The Bears opened the season with a quality home victory over Michigan State. A second 2008 highlight was a rain-soaked 26-16 decision over Oregon. Cal also reclaimed 'The Axe' following a 37-16 triumph over Stanford.
The Emerald Bowl, in just six years, has become one of the bowl constellation's rising stars. The game has set attendance and TV ratings highs in the last two years. The highlight to date was the 2006 game, which matched Florida State and UCLA. That game attracted a standing-room-only 40,331 spectators and a superb 4.48 TV rating. That figure ranked ninth among the 32 bowls played at the time.
"I fully expect that we will challenge those numbers three weeks from tonight," Cavalli said. "Cal has had an outstanding season and I'm quite confident we'll have a top-calibre ACC opponent for the Bears to match up with."
Diamond Foods, Inc. has title-sponsored the game since its inception in 2002. It was known as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl for two years, and became the Emerald Bowl in 2004. Emerald is the brand name of Diamond's snack nuts division. Over 30 different products carry the Emerald name.