Big Game (American football): Wikis

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The Big Game
Jahvid Best running the ball against Stanford in the 111th Big Game (2008) Toby Gerhart carries the ball against Cal in the 111th Big Game (2008)
History
Number of Meetings 112
First March 19, 1892
Most Recent November 21, 2009
Next December 4, 2010
All-Time Series Stanford: 55-46-11
At Berkeley Stanford leads 23-21-6
At Palo Alto Stanford leads 27-21-1
At San Francisco Stanford leads 5-4-4
Home Team Vs. Visitor 52-49-11
Current Streak California: Won 2
Visitor: Won 1
Longest Win Streaks
Stanford 7 (1995-2001)
California 5 (1919-23, 2002-06)
Home Team 6 (1939-47)
Visitor 5 (1954-1958, 1969-73)
Trophy Stanford Axe


Stanford logo California logo
Stanford (55)
1892 1894 1896
1897 1900 1904
1905 1906 1907
1908 1913 1914
1925 1926 1927
1929 1930 1933
1934 1935 1940
1942 1946 1955
1957 1961 1962
1963 1964 1965
1966 1968 1969
1971 1973 1974
1976 1977 1978
1981 1984 1985
1987 1989 1990
1991 1992 1995
1996 1997 1998
1999 2000 2001
2007
California (46)
1898 1899 1901
1902 1909 1910
1911 1919 1920
1921 1922 1923
1931 1936 1937
1938 1939 1941
1947 1948 1949
1951 1952 1954
1956 1958 1959
1960 1967 1970
1972 1975 1979
1980 1982 1983
1986 1993 1994
2002 2003 2004
2005 2006 2008
2009
Ties (11)
1892 1893 1895
1903 1912 1924
1928 1932 1950
1953 1988
Stanford Axe Committee with the Axe at the 2008 Big Game
Stanford University's Axe Committee carries the Axe around Memorial Stadium during the 2008 Big Game

The Big Game is the annual football game between University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, which is held in late November or early December. The first Big Game was held in March 19, 1892 on San Francisco's Haight Street grounds when Stanford beat Cal 14-10. It is the tenth longest rivalry in NCAA Division 1 FBS football. Stanford leads the series record at 55-46-11 (wins-losses-ties). Cal won the most recent Big Game on November 21, 2009 by a score of 34-28. Cal has won seven of the last eight Big Games, following a seven game winning streak by Stanford. The location of the Big Game alternates between the two universities every year. In even numbered years, the game is played at Berkeley; in odd numbered years, at Stanford.

In the week before the game, both schools celebrate the occasion with rallies, reunions and luncheons. Cal students hold a traditional pep rally and bonfire at the Greek Theatre on the eve of the game, while Stanford students stage the Gaieties, a theatrical production that both celebrates and pokes fun at the rivalry. The week also includes various other athletic events including The Big Splash (water polo) and The Big Freeze (ice hockey).

Contents

History

Stanford vs California in 1904

The Big Game is the biggest college football event in the Bay Area, and has a rich history. Future U.S. President Herbert Hoover was the Stanford team manager for the first Big Game, held in 1892. The term "Big Game" was first used in 1900, which was played on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco; a large group of spectators observing from the roof of the nearby S.F. and Pacific Glass Works fell into the fiery interior of the building when the roof collapsed, resulting in 13 people dying and 78 people injured[1]. The first-ever card stunts were performed at the halftime of the 1910 Big Game. Since 1933, the victor of the game has been granted possession of the Stanford Axe. If the game ended in a tie, the Axe stayed on the side that already possessed it; this rule was discarded in 1996 after the NCAA instituted overtime. The Axe is a key part of the history, having been stolen on several occasions by both sides, starting at the very first Big Game.

Scenes for the Harold Lloyd silent classic The Freshman were filmed at California Memorial Stadium during halftime of the 1924 Big Game.

The Big Game has produced several cliffhangers, where the outcome of the game was decided on the final play. In 1972, a Vince Ferragamo touchdown pass to Steve Sweeney resulted in a last second Cal victory, while Mike Langford nailed a 50 yard field goal on the final play for a 22-20 Stanford triumph in 1974. Stanford's Tuan Van Le blocked a 21 yard Cal field goal attempt to preserve a 19-19 tie in 1988. In 1990, Stanford snatched victory in the final 12 seconds by scoring a touchdown, recovering an onside kick, and, aided by a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty, kicking a field goal. In 2000, Stanford's Casey Moore caught the winning touchdown on the final play of the first-ever Big Game to go into overtime. In 2009, Cal's Michael Mohamed intercepted a pass at the Cal 3 yard line with 1:36 left to preserve the win, 34-28. The most famous Big Game ending occurred in 1982 and is known as The Play.

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The Play

The conclusion of the 85th Big Game on November 20, 1982 would go down as perhaps the greatest play in college football history. Cal held a lead late in the game, but Stanford, led by John Elway, drove down the field to retake the lead and seemingly elevate Elway to the first bowl game of his college career (as Stanford, with a victory, would likely been invited to the Hall of Fame Bowl). More importantly, Elway, with a victory, might well have won the Heisman Trophy. In what is now known simply as "The Play," four Cal players lateraled the ball five times on a kickoff return with four seconds left on the clock. The final ball carrier, Kevin Moen, who was also the initial ball carrier, ran for a touchdown through the Stanford Band, which had run onto the field to celebrate prematurely (although the game clock had run out of time, in football the play already in progress is allowed to be completed), knocking down the final Stanford "defender", trombone player Gary Tyrrell.

The Play is often recounted with KGO radio announcer Joe Starkey's emotional call of The Play, which he hailed as "the most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heartrending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football!" The legitimacy of The Play has remained controversial among some Stanford fans. To this day, the final score in the official record shows Cal winning by a score of 25-20, whereas in many Stanford publications it is recorded as Stanford 20, Cal 19 due to Stanford's contention that a Cal ball carrier had his knee down and the last lateral was actually an illegal forward pass, either of which would have resulted in the end of the play.

Naming rights

In March 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the NFL intended to trademark the phrase "The Big Game" in reference to the Super Bowl.[2] In May 2007, the NFL gave up trying to trademark the phrase, after being faced with opposition from Cal and Stanford.[3]

Big Game results

Stanford victories are shaded ██ cardinal. California victories are shaded in ██ blue.

Winning Team In Bold
Year Away Team Score Home Team Score Notes
2009 California 34 Stanford 28
2008 Stanford 16 California 37
2007 California 13 Stanford 20
2006 Stanford 17 California 26
2005 California 27 Stanford 3
2004 Stanford 6 California 41
2003 California 28 Stanford 16
2002 Stanford 7 California 30
2001 California 28 Stanford 35
2000 Stanford 36 California 30 Overtime
1999 California 13 Stanford 31
1998 Stanford 10 California 3
1997 California 20 Stanford 21
1996 Stanford 42 California 21
1995 California 24 Stanford 29
1994 Stanford 23 California 24
1993 California 46 Stanford 17
1992 Stanford 41 California 21
1991 California 21 Stanford 38
1990 Stanford 27 California 25
1989 California 14 Stanford 24
1988 Stanford 19 California 19
1987 California 7 Stanford 31
1986 Stanford 11 California 17
1985 California 22 Stanford 24
1984 Stanford 27 California 10
1983 California 27 Stanford 18
1982 Stanford 20 California 25 See The Play
1981 California 21 Stanford 42
1980 Stanford 23 California 28
1979 California 21 Stanford 14
1978 Stanford 30 California 10
1977 California 3 Stanford 21
1976 Stanford 27 California 24
1975 California 48 Stanford 15
1974 Stanford 22 California 20
1973 California 17 Stanford 26
1972 Stanford 21 California 24
1971 California 0 Stanford 14
1970 Stanford 14 California 22
1969 California 28 Stanford 29
1968 Stanford 20 California 0
1967 California 26 Stanford 3
1966 Stanford 13 California 7
1965 California 7 Stanford 9
1964 Stanford 21 California 3
1963 California 17 Stanford 28
1962 Stanford 30 California 13
1961 California 7 Stanford 20
1960 Stanford 10 California 21
1959 California 20 Stanford 17
1958 Stanford 15 California 16
1957 California 12 Stanford 14
1956 Stanford 18 California 20
1955 California 0 Stanford 19
1954 Stanford 20 California 28
1953 California 21 Stanford 21
1952 Stanford 0 California 26
1951 California 20 Stanford 7
1950 Stanford 7 California 7
1949 California 33 Stanford 14
1948 Stanford 6 California 7
1947 California 21 Stanford 18
1946 Stanford 25 California 6
1945 No Game -- World War II
1944 No Game -- World War II
1943 No Game -- World War II
1942 Stanford 26 California 7
1941 California 16 Stanford 0
1940 Stanford 13 California 7
1939 California 32 Stanford 14
1938 Stanford 0 California 6
1937 California 13 Stanford 0
1936 Stanford 0 California 20
1935 California 0 Stanford 13
1934 Stanford 9 California 7
1933 California 3 Stanford 7
1932 Stanford 0 California 0
1931 California 6 Stanford 0
1930 Stanford 41 California 0
1929 California 6 Stanford 21
1928 Stanford 13 California 13
1927 California 6 Stanford 13
1926 Stanford 41 California 6
1925 California 14 Stanford 27
1924 Stanford 20 California 20
1923 Stanford 0 California 9
1922 California 28 Stanford 0
1921 California 42 Stanford 7
1920 Stanford 7 California 38
1919 California 14 Stanford 10 Stanford returns to American football
1918 Stanford 0 California 67 Unofficial Student Army Training Corps (SATC) game; not included in series record
1917 No Game
1916 No Game
1915 No Game Cal returns to American football; Stanford continues rugby
1914 Stanford 26 California 8 Rugby
1913 California 8 Stanford 13 Rugby
1912 Stanford 3 California 3 Rugby
1911 California 21 Stanford 3 Rugby
1910 Stanford 6 California 25 Rugby
1909 California 19 Stanford 13 Rugby
1908 Stanford 12 California 3 Rugby
1907 California 11 Stanford 21 Rugby
1906 Stanford 6 California 3 Rugby
1905 California 5 Stanford 12
1904 Stanford 18 California 0
1903 California 6 Stanford 6 At San Francisco
1902 Stanford 0 California 16 At San Francisco
1901 California 2 Stanford 0 At San Francisco
1900 Stanford 5 California 0 At San Francisco
1899 California 30 Stanford 0 At San Francisco
1898 Stanford 0 California 22 At San Francisco
1897 California 0 Stanford 28 At San Francisco
1896 Stanford 20 California 0 At San Francisco
1895 California 6 Stanford 6 At San Francisco
1894 Stanford 6 California 0 At San Francisco
1893 California 6 Stanford 6 At San Francisco
1892 Stanford 10 California 10 At San Francisco
1892 California 10 Stanford 15 At San Francisco

Rivalry in other sports

In other sports, matchups between Cal and Stanford are not as important to the students and fanbase, but are still hyped and many feature their own nicknames based on the word "big." Examples include:

In addition, in rugby, the two schools have a trophy of their own called the "Scrum Axe". In men's basketball the biannual matchups are sometimes labeled the "Big Game" but it is not official. In women's basketball, the meetings are simply called the "Battle of the Bay."

Big Game Bonfire Rallies

2008 bonfire at the Greek Theater

The Big Game Bonfire Rally is a pep and bonfire rally that takes place at University of California in Hearst Greek Theatre on the eve of the Big Game. More than 10,000 students gather to hear the history about the The Stanford Axe and the Big Game. The UC Rally Committee is in charge of setting up the bonfire, and refueling it during the rally. Specifically, freshman UC Rally Committee members, as well as freshman band members are sent out with pallets to the chanting of "Freshmen More Wood". Several alumni show up to perform traditional rituals. A tradition unique to Cal is the performance of the "Haka," a traditional Maori war dance/chant. Traditionally performed by an alumni Yell Leader, The Haka performed was written in the 1960s by a Cal rugby player of Maori descent. The traditional Axe Yell is also made, and visits from the Cal Men's Octet and Golden Overtones are always expected. The University of California Marching Band is also present, playing traditional Cal songs throughout the duration of the Rally. The highlight of the Rally is the lighting of the Big Game Bonfire itself, with the fire reaching over four stories high at its zenith.

The Big Game Bonfire Rally always ends with the reciting of a speech known as the Andy Smith Eulogy or "The Spirit of California. Written in remembrance of the fabled Cal football coach, who led the Bears to 5 straight undefeated seasons starting in 1920s before tragically dying of pneumonia in 1925, the speech closes the Rally annually. During the speech, candles are passed out among the attendants, and are lit for the singing of the campus alma mater, "Hail to California."

For decades Stanford also held a bonfire on the dry lakebed of Lake Lagunita, but this was discontinued in the 1990s due to the lake being a habitat for the vulnerable California Tiger Salamander. Stanford now holds a laser light show commonly known as the "Non-fire," as well as the annual student produced "Gaieties," during the week leading up to the Big Game in place of a Bonfire Rally. [4]

References

External links

The Spirit of California
University of California, Berkeley
Songs of California

All Hail Blue and Gold · Big "C" · California Drinking Song · California Indian Song · Fight for California · Sons of California · Stanford Jonah

Symbols of California

The Big "C"UC Rally CommitteeOskiThe BenchThe Stanford AxeThe Big GameThe PlayCalifornia Golden Bears


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