Thursday, November 21, 2002

Of course, this is what is known as Rivalry Week, where most of the illustrious match-ups in the sport take place. College powers (Michigan-Ohio St., Bama-Auburn, SC-UCLA) share the spotlight with perennial mediocrities (Stanford-CAL, Indiana-Purdue), bottom-feeders (Yale-Harvard, UL(Lafayette)-UL(Monroe)), and blow-outs (Illinois-Northwestern, Tennessee-Vandy). Note to the unwashed: if the rivalry has a nickname (ie., "The Game", "The Big Game", "The Egg Bowl", "The Civil War") or is primarily known for a totem of some kind ("The Old Oaken Bucket", "The Whisky Barrell", "The Apple Cup"), the game will be of interest only to alums.

ESPN has been all over the fact that this is the 20th Anniversary of "The Play", when six CAL players ran through a dozen Stanford special teams players and their entire marching band to win on the last play of The Big Game, 25-20. Speaking as an alum, the sweetest aspect of that game was who the losing QB was; during his stay at the farm, Elway was 1-3 in Big Games, and never led the Cardinal to a winning record or a bowl game. Of course, since 1982, CAL has beaten Stanford exactly four times, even though the schools have approximately the same overall record.


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