Poinsettia Bowl Pick Utah Utes vs California Golden Bears: I know this game is in California, which basically will turn this into a Cal home game, but I think the Utes have a real chance to make the Pac-10 look even worse than they already do after BYU came out and destroyed one of the better Pac-10 players, the Oregon State Beavers. The Utes have a very good team, and are obviously well coached. But it will be their toughness up front that ultimately gives them a chance to upset the Bears of Cal.
Utah was 9-3 this season, but just 5-7 ATS. They were 3-8-1 O/U, riding their strong defense to low scoring games and 9 wins. They were 6-0 at home, just 3-3 on the road (as you probably figured). They allow 19 points per game and score just over 29. The Utes lost 2 of their last 3 games, but won 6 straight prior to a tough stretch against top competition. Some of their most impressive outings came in losses as the Utes lost by a field goal to BYU in overtime to finish the season, and earlier lost by a touchdown at Oregon.
California has definitely been up and down, and spent most of the season ranked despite their relatively disappointing play against top competition. After starting the season 3-0 and ranked in the Top 10, the Bears got crushed in back to back games against Oregon and USC, losing by a combined score of 72-6. Gross. But they won 5 of their next 6, including back to back wins over Arizona and Stanford, no easy feat by any means. However, they finished their season rocking a 10-42 loss to Washington, and I just can’t trust that kind of garbage.
I like to take small colleges against big-name schools, especially when they are the better football team. I believe that is the case here.
Utah Utes (+3.5) @ California Golden Bears