Cal History Stories

Tales from a century and a half at the University of California

“Hey Stanford, Eat My Peach!” Wherein a Walk-On Cal Quarterback Beats John Elway

1980 was a truly abysmal season for the Bears. After a modestly successful 7-5 season in 1979, which had culminated in Cal’s first bowl appearance in 20 years (a loss to Temple in New Jersey’s Garden State Bowl), Cal fans hoped better times were ahead in 1980. This was especially so because of the returnContinue reading ““Hey Stanford, Eat My Peach!” Wherein a Walk-On Cal Quarterback Beats John Elway”

Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Eight – The Big Game

When the Bears and the Cardinals met in the 26th Big Game on November 20, 1920, the stakes were enormous. With the teams tied atop the Pacific Coast Conference, the winner would win the championship. A win would almost certainly mean a first trip to Pasadena on New Years Day for California. For Stanford, aContinue reading “Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Eight – The Big Game”

The Year USC Caused Stanford to Play a Home Game in Berkeley

No, I am not making this up. In 1924, the actions of the University of Southern California resulted in the Stanford football team playing a home game at California Memorial Stadium. Against Utah. There were allegations of players being paid, a fired coach, canceled games, secret deals, a school suspended from the conference, recriminations, counter-recriminations,Continue reading “The Year USC Caused Stanford to Play a Home Game in Berkeley”

Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Seven – California vs. Washington State College

As the California Golden Bears neared the end of the 1920 football season, they remained the odds-on favorite to win the Pacific Coast Conference championship. After a close road win over the well-regarded Oregon Aggies in Corvallis, the prognosticators uniformly proclaimed that the winner of the battle between California and Washington State on November 6Continue reading “Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Seven – California vs. Washington State College”

Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Six – California vs. Oregon Agricultural College

By the last weekend of October in 1920, the University of California Golden Bears were riding high. They had soundly beaten the Olympic Club, the Mare Island Marines, St. Mary’s, Nevada and Utah, outscoring those teams by a combined total of 378-7. But now, at last, they were entering Pacific Coast Conference Play. They wereContinue reading “Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Six – California vs. Oregon Agricultural College”

Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Five – California vs. Utah

By late October 1920, the California Golden Bears were the established favorite to win the Pacific Coast Conference championship and play in the Rose Bowl – despite the fact that they had yet to play a conference game. After beating the semi-pro Olympic Club in an almost competitive game in September, the Bears had spentContinue reading “Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Five – California vs. Utah”

Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Four – California vs. Nevada

Coach Andy Smith and his California Varsity squad could have been excused if they had approached the fourth game of the 1920 season, against Nevada, with considerable satisfaction. They had swept through the first three games in extraordinary fashion, first a 21-0 win over the Olympic Club, then an 88-0 beat down of the MareContinue reading “Cal’s Wonder Team Centennial: Game Four – California vs. Nevada”

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