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Cal-Stanford Big Game

24 years after the day of the event, "The Play" is still the most well-known single event in college football history, and makes the already rich rivalry between the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University all the more magical.

If you've never seen "The Play" it's captured in this video below, which unlike others, starts with Stanford's finaly scoring drive, led by John Elway, and features a run by my good friend then-Stanford (later LA / Oakland Raiders) Fullback Michael Dotterer to set up the field goal which would have got Stanford the win...had "The Play" not occured.

Cal-Stanford Big Game From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Rally Committee running Cal flags across the field at the 2002 Big Game. (Note the Stanford visitors section on the left and the Cal alumni section on the right.)
Rally Committee running Cal flags across the field at the 2002 Big Game. (Note the Stanford visitors section on the left and the Cal alumni section on the right.)

The "Big Game" is the annual football game between Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley (known simply as "California" or "Cal"), held in November. The first Big Game was held in 1892 on San Francisco's Haight Street grounds when Stanford upset Cal 14-10. It is the tenth longest rivalry in NCAA Division 1A football. Through 2004, Stanford leads the series record at 54-42-11 (wins-losses-ties). California has won the past three games (2002-2004), but Stanford won the previous seven meetings. The location of the game alternates between the two schools each year. The Big Game can also refer to the annual college football matchup between the Arizona State University and the University of Arizona (for the article on the Arizona rivalry, see Territorial Cup).

It is the biggest college football event in the Bay Area, and has a rich history. Since 1933, the victor of the game has been granted possession of the Stanford Axe. If the game was tied, the Axe stayed on the side that already possessed it; however, college football games can no longer end in ties. The Axe is a key part of the rich history, having been stolen on several occasions by both sides.

The conclusion of the 85th Big Game on November 20, 1982 is known simply as The Play. Many consider it one of the greatest plays in the history of college football, if not the greatest. With 4 seconds left on the clock, Cal lateraled the ball five times on a kickoff return and ran through the Stanford Band, which had run onto the field to celebrate prematurely. The Play is often recounted with KGO radio announcer Joe Starkey's dramatic call of The Play, which he hailed as "the most amazing, sensational, traumatic, heartrending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football!" The legitimacy of The Play has remained controversial. To this day, the final score is noted as Stanford 20, Cal 19 in many Stanford publications, whereas the official score went down as 25-20, with Cal winning.

20 most recent results

(away team listed first, winning team bolded)

  • 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
  • 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 (tie)
  • 1987 California 7, Stanford 31
  • 1986 Stanford 11, California 17
  • 1985 California 22, Stanford 24

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