Bears won't travel far for their bowl game

SEATTLE — The only thing Cal knew when it returned to the Bay Area on Saturday night was that it will be staying in California for the postseason.

After their gruesome 42-10 loss to Washington, the Bears were left with two bowl possibilities — the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 23 or the Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park on Dec. 26.

Saturday's loss put Cal in a tie with USC for fifth place in the Pac-10 to close out the season. The Emerald Bowl gets a choice of either the fourth- or fifth-place team.

The Pac-10 season ended with a three-way tie for second place. Arizona is believed to be going to the Holiday Bowl, leaving the Sun Bowl to decide between Stanford and Oregon State. Whichever team is left at that point effectively drops into fourth, putting it in the pool with Cal and USC.

The Las Vegas Bowl is awarded whichever team the Emerald Bowl does not select but would have to take Oregon State if it falls that far because the Beavers finished ahead of both Cal and USC in the conference standings. That would leave either Cal or USC to fall to the Poinsettia Bowl, which takes the conference's sixth place team.

Emerald Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli said late Saturday night that he still hadn't decided which team to select.

"The fortunate thing is we get to play again," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "We don't have to end the season on that note. We can go back and work hard and get prepared for the bowl. We look forward to it, whatever it is. We're looking forward to a great experience. We're anxious to play."

If it's the Emerald Bowl, it would be Cal's second straight appearance in the game. The Bears beat Miami 24-17 in last year's Emerald Bowl. This year's opponent likely will be Boston College. The opponent in the Poinsettia Bowl would be a Mountain West Conference team, likely Utah.

"We were hoping for a better bowl," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "Coming off a loss in the last game of the season, I think we're going to be up for it. We're going to be ready to go."

  • With Saturday's loss, the Bears were outscored 145-30 in their four Pac-10 losses.

  • Cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson reinjured his sprained ankle in the first quarter and played sparingly the rest of the way.

  • Wide receiver Marvin Jones set career-highs with six catches for 107 yards.

  • Freshman Isi Sofele replaced Jeremy Ross as kick returner and averaged 21.2 yards, including a 65-yard return in the third quarter.

    — Jonathan Okanes