The Cal-Texas Rivalry: A Retrospective Part 2

Do you think Case McCoy's son will close for the San Jose Athletics someday?

In looking at the history of Cal v. Texas (Part One Readable here), it is striking to me that it is essentially the story of David v. Goliath, but without the Hollywood ending. In LalaLand, the gorgeous David (played by Tom Cruise) knocks out the much larger Goliath (think a taller Tim Robbins) with one slow motion slingshot attack. Just at the very moment that Goliath was about to crush David, the jagged rock flies through the air, accompanied by a soaring John Williams score. In the end, the good guys get the girl and Goliath learns an important lesson about respecting his foes

In real life, David's pebble falls uselessly off of Goliath's armored helmets and then Goliath holds David to 1.7 yards per play (aka Cal's actual average offensive output in the 1961 game). David goes to prom alone and, as it turns out, isn't one of those awesome Zuckerberg-style nerds that actually is cool, but nobody realized it. No, instead Goliath makes millions of dollars betting on sporting events thanks to a Sports Almanac provided to him by future him. It's like Back To The Future Part 2, but only if it ends in the parallel reality.

1.7 yards per play, by the way, is an insane stat, because it is about 5'7". Now, let's say the average football player is 5'9". All a Cal player, then, has to do is run to the line of scrimmage and fall forward while holding the ball at their head. They would get MORE yardage than what Cal actually accomplished in that game. And Cal actually scored 3 points more than the 1959 shutout in Austin! Why don't they use my "Fall Forward" offense more often!

But that was the first post. Today, we are talking about the Cal-Texas games in 1969 and 1970. These are the last 2 games Cal has played against Texas. Also, the last 2 games Cal has played against Texas...insomuch as Cal has solely played 4 games against Texas. In these four games (all losses), Cal scored a combined 18 points. So, this is not great read. Sorry. But as valued reader DRumsfeld343 once said "You write history posts with the history you have, not the history you wish you had." Either way, it is the history and that counts for something. So, join me after the jump to learn more about how much we suck, have sucked, but hopefully will stop sucking! GO BEARS!

GAME FOUR Texas 17 Cal 0 September 20, 1969 Berkeley, CA

Ah, the 60s were just ending. Free love was all the rage in the Haight. Man had finally accomplished the least important goal ever of walking on the moon. And it was unclear whether Cal could score points against the Viet Cong (America certainly couldn't!).

This time was particularly problematic for Berkeley as the People's Park riots had happened earlier that year. It is a complicated situation (learn more here), but essentially Berkeleyans tried to turn some fallow school property near campus into a community park. Ronald Reagan (yes, that Ronald Reagan), then the Governor of California, took time out of his busy "being more liberal than you might think" schedule to take remarkably non-liberal action by overruling the campus administrators and sending in police. Soon, this small plot of land was a mini-warzone and is still a Berkeley political hotpoint to this day.

This happened just a few months before the game against Texas. So, in this miasma of violence and protests, Cal took the field against the Longhorns. Cal coach Ray Willsey's mentor, Daryl Royal, was the coach for Texas. This information is from page 320 of Ron Fimrite's book "Golden Bears."

Although Cal had actually gone 7-3-1 in the 1968 season, 1969 would not prove to be as successful. A difficult schedule did not help as Cal started the season off with 2 teams ranked in the Top 10 (Texas at #4 and Indiana at #10) en route to a 5-5 season. In the same season where Cal finished 6th in the Pac-8 with a 2-4 record, Texas won 11 in a row and defeated ND in the Cotton Bowl to win the National Championship.

Like I said David v. Goliath. Marching band nerd v. Homecoming King. Lyle Lovett v. every other man ever (all my readers are from the 90s, right?).

With Berkeley burning, it is surprising to see that 61,000 showed up for the opener against Texas (how odd that the opener was on September 20!). I know that it is Texas, but if you look at the 1961 game against Texas at Memorial, only about 33,000 showed up. So, something changed in those next 8 years. Let's look at some numbers.

First thing I noticed: Texas' kickers name was Happy Feller. Is that the most Texas thing ever?

Unlike the two games a decade prior, it appears that Cal attempted to actually use their arms in this one. 23 pass attempts. They still only had 12 completions and 4 passing first downs. Texas, like I presume most teams back then, play Tebow football. 7 total passing attempts, of which only two were successful, for a total of 18 passing yards.

But does that really matter when Coach Royal's wishbone offense racks up 311 yards in the game. They rushed 71 times to get those 311 yards, so it was 4.4 yards per carry. Think about if you are at this game. Cal is pathetic on offense and can't accomplish anything. Texas essentially runs for 3 yards and a cloud of dust...on every play.

Sounds really, really, really boring to me.

But what is an interesting footnote to my baseball-obsessed fans: James Street was the VERY quarterback who could barely complete a pass! He had as many passes completed to Cal as he did to his own teammates. And his son is Huston Street, who used to close for the A's!

I wonder what James Street thought when he traveled to the East Bay for the game? "I hope my son gets traded for 6 months of Matt Holiday around here someday!"

Again, the information I have doesn't reflect any Cal names. So, it is a little unclear to me who sucked the most for Cal. Let's just assume everybody sucked equally and move on to the next shellacking.

PS Cal actually beat Indiana in Bloomington the next week. Go figure.

GAME FOUR Texas 56 Cal 15 September 19, 1970 Austin, TX

The only time Cal scored more than 3 points against Texas to date. Here's hoping Cal scores more than 3 points against Texas in the Holiday Bowl! In two of the games, Cal got shut out by Texas and in another, Cal scored 3. But here Cal managed to score 15! All in the 4th quarter. After already being down 49-0. This calls for an Oskipalm

Bear-spray-2_medium

via www.practicaloutdoors.com

Ultimately, the Cal offensive numbers look a little better here. What is most likely is that Cal's offense was bad for most of the game and as Texas got up huge, they put in their second or third team defense. Then, Cal's offense started to take off. Some of these numbers don't seem all that pathetic (low standards here!). Afterall, Cal put up 240 yards of passing! A more perfect sign of a blowout, I don't know. But throwing 3 picks and completing just about 50% of passes (16-30) shows that not everything is what it seems.

The more I read about college football back then (and by that, I mean Texas football back then), I'm kind of amazed by their game plans. Each game seems to have 18 different running backs with a solid amount of carries. Look at this:

Rushing              No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Phillips, Eddie       9  129    0  129  2 32 14.3
Steakley, Dan         6   51    0   51  0 38  8.5
Keithley, Gary        5   43    0   43  1 25  8.6
Worster, Steve        7   43    0   43  3 12  6.1
Fleming, Steve        8   39    0   39  1 20  4.9
Bertelsen, Jim        9   37    0   37  0  9  4.1
Dale, Billy           8   33    0   33  0 12  4.1

Firstly, this Eddie Phillips guy looked pretty good. But either way, how do you set up your team like this? You just stick anybody and everybody behind the QB and hand them the ball?

I wonder what would happen if Cal tried this offense out. I don't mean in the "on the football field" sense. I mean "on the blogs" sense. We've seen how many fans have stomped their feet and held their breath when they think Coach Tedford made the wrong decision in running Isi Sofele over C.J. Anderson a few times. How would they respond to 7 different running backs getting 5 or more carries????? People would splinter into tons of different little groups. "PHILLIPS NEEDS MORE CARRIES!" "WHY DID WE GIVE WORSTER 7 CARRIES! HE DESERVED 5 AND NO MORE!" "BILLY DALE NEEDS MORE CARRIES TO THE LEFT, DALE RUNS GREAT TO THE LEFT!"

Blogging back then would have been fun.

So, there we go. In the last post, we saw how Cal sucked a lot against Texas. Now, we can see in this one that about 10 years later, Cal continued to suck against Texas. Cal has played Texas 4 times and is currently 0-4. If Cal played Texas every year from 1960 to 2000, Cal would probably be 5-35, at best. Texas has been a dominant force in college football for the last many decades. Cal has been the most exact opposite of that that can be. But now we get to face off and it is not 1959 or 1970 anymore. Cal has ascended to at least the same-ish level as Texas.

Are we going to win in the Holiday Bowl? I don't know. But we certainly can't do much worse than we've done before against Texas. It's only up from here! GO BEARS!

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