Learn all the Cal info you can Bear
The last time Arizona played football at Cal, Golden Bears’ head coach Sonny Dykes worked for the UA, so a refresher course on UC Berkeley is certainly in order.
The first of the 10 University of California schools, Berkeley was founded in 1868. In sports, UC Berkeley is just called University of California, similar to how when “Texas” comes up, everyone knows it is University of Texas at Austin, not UTSA.
Eventually, nine other UC campuses opened up, starting with UCLA in 1919 and ending with UC Merced in 2005, the first new UC in 40 years.
Cal’s mascot is the Golden Bear, which is an obvious allusion to the state’s nickname and its one-time status as the California Republic when Californians revolted against Mexico in 1846, under the Bear Flag.
The Golden State became California’s official nickname in 1968, after the discovery of gold in northern California in 1848.
All the UC schools — except for UC San Francisco — use colors based off of Berkeley’s blue and gold, most notably UCLA, which also has a bear mascot, and the same fight song (it was never copyrighted, according to the Los Angeles Times).
UCLA, Arizona’s opponent next week, was originally called the Cubs, but then changed to the Grizzlies before ending up with the Bruins. Cal was using both Bears and Bruins before it gave up the Bruins to its Southern California rival.
Cal has the edge over the Bruins when it comes to mascots, though, with Oski, who sports a huge smile and a classy button-up sweater. Oski debuted in 1941 to replace various live bear mascots (yikes) and is named after Cal’s “Oski Wow-Wow” cheer.
Oski is so memorable that UA football fans should still be able to recall him, even though Arizona and California haven’t played since 2010. They haven’t played at Berkeley since 2009, when Cal’s first year-coach, Dykes, was the UA’s co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
That year, Arizona came within one play of reaching the ever-elusive Rose Bowl. The Wildcats are the only former Pac-10 team that has yet to play in the “Granddaddy of them All,” but the anguish of fans of former Pac-8 school Cal is even worse.
The Golden Bears’ last appearance in the Rose Bowl was in 1959. UA fans have only been waiting since 1978, when the Pac-8 became the Pac-10.
Cal fans can comfort themselves with the school’s impressive list of alumni, including Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert,” Natalie Coughlin, an Olympic swimmer, Kevin Johnson, Sacramento mayor and former NBA star, Jason Kidd, the Nets’ head coach and a former NBA star, Andrew Grove, the co-founder of Intel, Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe, Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple and Tom Anderson, co-founder of MySpace.
On the football side, its famous alums include Marshawn Lynch, DeSean Jackson, Aaron Rodgers and Tony Gonzalez.
Good thing for the Wildcats this Saturday is a football contest, not best alumni competition.
—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520