Cal Football: Bears' Most Significant Bowl Games -- The Bottom 10

Steve Mariucci ended his one and only season as Cal's head coach with a loss in the 1996 Aloha Bowl.Photo by Reinhold Matay - USA TODAY Sports

We are rankings all 22 bowl games Cal has played in its history heading into Cheez-It Bowl

This is the first installment of our ranking of the most significant bowl games involving Cal.

The Bears will play in their 23rd bowl game when they face TCU in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix on Dec. 26. Who knows where that game will be ranked in years to come.

We will present the top 12 most significant Cal bowl games one at a time in the days to come.

Here were give you the 10 that missed the cut, as we present the Cal bowls that rank 13th through 22nd.

---13. Dec. 28, 2006 Holiday Bowl – Cal 45, Texas A&M 10

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 111 yards in his final college game, and Justin Forsett rushed for 124 yards. Quarterback Nate Longshore and Lynch were named co-offensive MVPs for Cal, which finished the season 10-3 and ranked No. 14. Texas A&M had beaten then-No. 11 Texas in its final regular-season game.

---14. Dec. 31, 1990 Copper Bowl – Cal 17, Wyoming 15

The Bears capped off surprising 7-4-1 season with their first postseason win since the 1938 Rose Bowl (1937 season). Fourth-year Cal coach Bruce Snyder had his first winning season with the Bears. Cal rebounded after a 27-25 upset loss to Stanford, which scored nine points in the final 12 seconds.

---15. Dec. 23, 2003 Insight Bowl – Cal 52, Va. Tech 49

The teams combined 1,081 yards of offense, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who became the Bears' starter five games into the 2003 season, was the offensive MVP after passing for 394 yards and two touchdowns. Cal had to win its final two regular-season games just to become bowl-eligible, then upset a Virginia Tech team that entered the game 8-3 and ranked 21st.

---16. Dec. 25, 1996 Aloha Bowl – Navy 42, Cal 38

This was Steve Mariucci’s last game as Cal’s head coach as he accepted the 49ers’ head coaching job after the season. Cal started the season 5-0 and was ranked No. 19, but lost six of the last seven to finish 6-6. This was the final college football game for Cal tight end Tony Gonzalez, who nonetheless helped the Cal basketball team reach the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 a few months later, scoring 23 points in the second-round win over Villanova.

---17. Dec. 31, 2007 Armed Forces Bowl – Cal 42, Air Force 36

Freshman quarterback Kevin Riley, who had blown Cal’s chance to be ranked No. 1 with an ill-advised run against Oregon State two months earlier, took over for Nate Longshore in the second quarter and was 16 of 19 for 269 yards and three touchdowns.

---18. Dec. 27, 2008 Emerald Bowl – Cal 24, Miami 17

Jahvid Best rushed for 184 yards in this game played at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley went back and forth as Cal's starting quarterback that season, with Longshore starting the Emerald Bowl. Cal finished 9-4.

---19. Dec. 22, 2005, Las Vegas Bowl – Cal 35, BYU 28

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 194 yards, and Cal won in the second career start for quarterback Steve Levy. Levy, who had been a fullback the previous season, replaced Joe Ayoob as the starter in a victory over Stanford, and retained the starting job in the Las Vegas Bowl, throwing a touchdown pas to DeSean Jackson.

---20. Dec. 23, 2009 Poinsettia Bowl – Utah 37, Cal 27

Cal played in a bowl for the seventh straight year, but its run of four straight bowl victories was halted. The Bears blew a 14-0 lead against Utah, which was then in the Mountain West Conference.

---21. Dec. 28, 2011 Holiday Bowl – Texas 21, Cal 10

Keenan Allen had nine catches from half-brother and quarterback Zach Maynard, but Cal finished the season 7-6 and fell to 0-5 against Texas. This was the last bowl game for Jeff Tedford as Cal's head coach, as he was fired after the 3-9 2012 season.

---22. Dec. 15, 1979 Garden State Bowl – Temple 28, Cal 17

This was Cal’s first bowl game in 20 years, but that’s about the only significance for this game. This bowl, played at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., lasted only four years. Cal wound up with a 6-6 record after the loss to Temple, which was playing its first bowl game in 44 years.

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