The rivalry game known as the ‘Big Game’ will be renewed for the 122nd time when the Stanford Cardinal (5-5) travel to Memorial Stadium to face the California Bears (5-5). This rivalry was first played in 1892 and is the ninth most played college football rivalry game. Stanford won the first ever meeting between these two teams, 14-10 at San Francisco’s Haight Street Grounds. Future U.S. President, Herbert Hoover was Stanford’s team manager for this game. The term ‘Big Game’ was first used in 1900 when it was played on Thanksgiving Day.
There have been several notable moments throughout the history of the ‘Big Game’, but no moment was bigger than the ‘The Play’ in 1982, which is arguably the most remarkable play in college football history. Stanford quarterback John Elway engineered a late fourth quarter drive to give Stanford a 20-19 lead with just four seconds remaining. On the ensuing kickoff return, four California players, led by Kevin Moen, lateralled the ball five times, trampled over Stanford’s trombone player en-route to the game winning kickoff return for a touchdown. The official score notes a 25-20 victory for California while some Stanford publications fail to acknowledge the loss since they believe Moen’s knee was down during one of the laterals. Regardless of interpretation, ‘The Play’ shaped this rivalry and will always be a notable moment for college football.
Given the longevity surrounding this rivalry, fans can expect to pay average ticket prices for this game. Both teams are .500, so the demand isn’t as strong as prior years. According to TicketIQ, the average ticket price for Stanford vs. California tickets is currently $77.94 on the secondary market while the get-in price for the game is $33.
Over the past few years, Stanford vs. California tickets have commanded higher prices from its loyal fan bases. During the 2011 meeting at Stanford Stadium, fans paid an average ticket price of $203.09 while the get-in price for the game was $75. The 2012 meeting at Memorial Stadium did not command similar ticket prices as fans paid an average ticket price of $100.30 while the get-in price for the game was $73. Prices for the 2013 meeting rivaled the 2012 meeting as fans paid an average ticket price of $100.14 while the get-in price at Stanford Stadium was $43. Stanford routed California, 63-13 during last year’s meeting which was the most lopsided victory in the history of this rivalry.
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While both teams have struggled during the 2014 season, becoming bowl eligible is still an obtainable goal. Stanford will have two opportunities on the road while California will have two chances at home. In addition, California has lost four straight meetings against Stanford and was humiliated during last year’s match-up. California will be extra motivated for this year’s match-up. Expect a spirited effort from both sides as one of college football’s best rivalries is renewed.