This December 16, 2023 College Football Bowl Game Pits Cal vs. Texas
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Cal vs Texas Tech
12/16/2023 9:15 PM EST
Hello, collegiate sports fans! It’s your favorite hockey writer Phil Rasor here – and I’m thrilled to be writing about the sport that made me fall in love with sports: college football. I’m honored to write about a rarity in bowl season – a Power 5 matchup on the opening bowl Saturday. The Radiance Technology Independence Bowl features the California Golden Bears and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. I very much hope Jared Goff and Pat Mahomes have a friendly wager on the outcome of this enthralling entanglement.
Both programs enter the matchup 6-6, doing just enough in the Pac 12 (RIP) and Big 12, respectively. Opt-outs and transfers are at a minimum here, with two key defensive players hitting the portal already for Cal (Elarms-Orr and Earby) and 4 offensive players hitting the portal for the Red Raiders (Shough, Bradley, Price and Mills) – but they are not insignificant names. Elarms-Orr led the Tech defense with 87 tackles this season, while Tech’s Shough was benched as the starting QB during the season. Bradley departs with 431 receiving yards and 4 scores, while Price led the squad in receptions and receiving TDs this year.
Cal had an up and down year: they alternated wins and losses until a meeting with Oregon State on Oct. 7th, which sent them on a 4 game skid. This included a narrow 50-49 loss to USC. However, the Golden Bears rebounded with intense vigor as they won their final 3 contest to receive a bowl invitation in their final season before hopping over to the ACC. Look for Jaydn Ott to carry the brunt of the load for the offense in this game (11 rushing TD on the season to accompany 1,260 yards) while Isiah Ifanse will spell him throughout the ballgame.
Texas Tech comes in after a slow start to the season, winning 6 of their final 10 games to achieve bowl eligibility. Their offense is led by Behren Morton – the highest ranked QB recruit in school history – and Tahj Brooks, who amassed 1,443 rushing yards to pair with his 9 trips to paydirt this season. With both Bradley and Price on the move in the portal, look for Xavier White to step up and make some plays on the outside. He accrued 495 yards and scored 1 TD this campaign.
Overall both schools have had some low scoring battles and some high flying affairs through 2023, and I expect this game to be exciting. Cal’s defensive departures matched up with Tech’s offensive deserters creates a tantalizing proposition for points going both ways in this one. The Red Raiders of Tech open at -2.5, with an O/U set at 57.5. Cal is +125, while Tech rides in at -150 as well.
I personally expect some points in this one, and although TTU lost a hearty chunk of offensive production, I expect them to emerge victorious in Shreveport, Louisiana. 31-27 Red Raiders.