We took you to the famed blue track of Drake in our last look into the MTB College Sports Bucket List and today we take you to a game that shouldn't need much of an introduction, it's simply known as "The Big Game."
No. 46 - Cal vs. Stanford (FBS Football):
If you're calling your rivalry "The Big Game" there's got to be a reason behind it, right? Well for Cal and Stanford it's because it was coined for the Thanksgiving Day game of 1900.
Cal vs. Stanford is the 10th longest rivalry in NCAA football, but it hasn't been consecutively played with both teams dropping football starting in 1906 and finally getting teams back in 1919. The only other break since then was for WWII from 1943-1945. Since 1946 it's become one of college football's most unique and special games. Since that time they have annually played for the Standford Axe.
Up until recently it's a game that was always played at the end of the season, usually in late November/early December, but with the advent of the Pac-12 conference the game has moved around on the calendar and no longer is the last game of the season for these teams.
With the longevity of this rivalry it's become one of, if not the, most bitter rivalry in the Pac-12 conference. Simply put these two schools compete and hate each other in everything. I'm talking water polo, basketball, volleyball, and hell... even the newspapers of the schools play each other in a game of touch football for supremacy. Ya, it's that hardcore of a rivalry.
It's become a game that holds enough importance that both schools have a week of festivities that lead up to the game itself. At Cal you've got to take in the traditional bon-fire held at The Greek Theatre on the eve of the game and at Stanford you'll want to take in the Gaieties, which is a student production that makes fun of and celebrates the rivalry between these two schools.
Of course it helps that they are both located in the Bay Area and it's easily the biggest game on the sporting calendar in that location on an annual basis.
That's all fine and dandy, but you don't get a rivalry without a little history and great games too, right? Don't fret there are plenty of great games to look through and we'll give you a small sampling.
You can't talk about this rivalry without mentioning one of the most iconic moments in college football, let alone "The Big Game" and that's the contest that took place on Nov. 20, 1982. Stanford was led by Heisman Trophy front runner John Elway, who took a late lead over the hated Golden Bears... Well, we'll just let the tape speak for itself, cause words don't do what happened next justice!
"The Play" remains a bone of contention between these two teams to this day as Stanford still claims that the third lateral happened after a knee was down and the final lateral was forward, both stopping the play and thus Cal shouldn't have won. However, the official score still stands at 25-20 Cal. If you looked at the Stanford books you wouldn't know it as they list the score 20-19 to Stanford's favor to this day.
Just a decade before in the 1972 edition of "The Big Game" Cal made another miraculous comeback to beat Stanford in what may be the 2nd most famous edition of this rivalry. Cal QB Vince Ferragamo (not the alleged mobster) led the Golden Bears down the final 62 yards in just 1:13 as they scored the game winning touchdown from Ferragamo to Steve Sweeney and Cal won 24-22 with no time left on the clock.
Recent history has seen some interesting games as well as Stanford tied Cal's record for most points scored at 48 in the 2010 edition, while just a year before the Golden Bears needed a Michael Mohamed interception late in the game to preserve a huge 34-28 upset over 14th ranked Stanford.
One thing is for sure when you attend "The Big Game" and that's that you'll never quite know what you'll see and that records and rankings go out the window more often than not between these two longstanding and bitter rivals.