2006 Holiday Bowl Preview and Pick

Texas A&M Aggies (9-3) +5, o/u 52 vs. California Golden Bears (9-3) on Thursday, December 28, 2006 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN

The Texas A&M Aggies come into this game off on a big win against in state rival Texas by a score of 12-7 in the season finale. It was a big win for the Aggies who had not previously defeated Oklahoma, Texas or Nebraska in the Dennis Franchione era.

The California Golden Bears also won their season finale beating Stanford 26-17. That was preceded by disappointing losses to USC and Arizona.

The Aggies, third in the Big 12 South, will be making their 2nd bowl appearance in the last 5 years as they lost to Tennessee 38-7 in the 2004 Cotton Bowl.

The Golden Bears, runner up in the Pacific 10 Conference, will be making their 4th straight bowl appearance. They are 2-1 in those bowl games and there have been an average of 80 points scored in those 3 bowl games.

These two teams have no recent meetings and did not have any common opponents this year.

Texas A&M was good to those that supported them this year as they had a 8-2-1 record against the spread. California was 5-6 against the number this year.

The Aggies are led by Sophomore QB Stephen McGee who is completing 61.7% of his passes and has thrown for 2,118 yards this season. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions this season.

The Golden Bears are led by Sophomore QB Nate Longshore who has a 58.9% completion rate and has thrown for 2,786 yards this season. He has 23 touchdowns and has thrown 12 interceptions.

Texas A&M averages 210 yards rushing per game and their defense allows 123 yards rushing per game. California is outrushing their opponents by a margin of 156-122.

The Aggies rank 28th in scoring offense in Division 1 (out of 119 teams) by averaging 29.3 points per game. California is ranked 14th in scoring offense by averaging 31.8 points per game.

Texas A&M is ranked 19th in total yards per game with 401.4 yards per game. California is ranked 14th with an average of 411 yards per game.

The Aggies defense is ranked 32nd giving up an average 18.5 points per game. The Golden Bears’ defense is ranked 43rd giving up an average 20.1 points per game.

Texas A&M’s defense is ranked 37th in total yards by giving up an average of 309.8 yards per game. California is ranked 90th giving up 367.7 yards per game.

Texas A&M averages 6.0 yards per play while giving up an average of 5.2 yards per play. California averages 6.3 YPP while giving up 5.6 YPP.

The Over/Under is 5-5-1 in Texas A&M games this season, 6-5 in California games.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Aggies #34 at 78.4. California ranks #7 at 89.37.

The opening line on this game was California -4 with a total of 51.5. The line has been bet up to California -5 and the total has went up to 52. At the time of this writing the betting public was backing Texas A&M by a margin of 61%-39%.

The UltimateCapper Prediction: We suggest a small wager on the underdog grabbing the points in this game as we see a close game.

California 27 Texas A&M 24

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