The Big Game Primer

One of the Bay Area’s longest sports rivalry games takes place each year the week prior to Thanksgiving. This rivalry is also one of the oldest in the country, first played in 1892.

We’re talking, of course, about college football and this year’s “Big Game” will mark the 114th game played between Bay Area rivals, the Stanford Cardinal (7-3) and the California Golden Bears (5-5).

More than just a football game, the event sparks a whole week of festivities and spectacular rallies on both campuses, including performances by marching bands and spirit squads and ritual-rich ceremonies.

The Stanford Cardinal hold an all-time 56-46-11 record over the California Golden Bears. This includes all of the games between 1906 and 1914 when the two schools played rugby against each other rather than football.

The Play
The rivalry also boasts one of the most famous plays and subsequent upsets in college football history. “The Play,” as it’s come to be known, occurred in 1982. On the final play, madness ensued as Cal returned a kickoff for a touchdown thanks to multiple lateral passes and by running through the Stanford band.

Seeing is believe and, fortunately, there’s video of the moment >

The Bonfire
The oldest ritual on the Berkeley campus besides graduation, the bonfire holds great significance for students and alumni. It dates back to the same year the first rival game was played. Taking place the night before the Big Game, the bonfire spectacularly lights the stage of the Greek Theatre.

The Trophy
In last season’s matchup, the Cardinal defeated the Bears for the 7th consecutive year and returned to Palo Alto with The Axe, the trophy the two teams play for. This year, Cal aims to bring to the trophy back to Berkeley.

If you don’t yet have your tickets, it might be too late. But not to worry. We’ll be watching at Public Market and you’re invited to join us. Plus, you’ll have access to some of the best food and beverages around along with front-row seats by our big screen TV.

When? Saturday, November 18 at 5pm.