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Stanford or USC: Cal fans, who do you want to beat more?

That was exactly the kind of headline that brings in juicy, juicy hits!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


But if you could agree that one team did leave, a successful victor over our beloved California Golden Bears, who would it be?  Who do you hate more?  Who do you want to beat more?  Stanford, who we haven't beaten since 2009....or USC, who we haven't beaten since the first part of the Bush Administration?  We have our two challengers.

In the red corner, the in no way forced wackiness of Stanford forest.  Let them enter to their Zoonews Fight Song:

In the other similarly red corner, we have the brutal arrogance of the USC OJ Simpsons.  Here are their Zoonews Fight Song(s):

Now that we have introduced our combatants, let's go to the tape:

The Stanford-USC thought experiment: Let's ignore BYU for the sake of this argument. If we could get only one more win and had your pick of shocking USC and ending the 10 year streak or taking the Axe back, which one do you want more and why?

Avinash Kunnath: I have never experienced a Cal win over USC. It's been ten long years and the last five or so have been miserable beatdown after beatdown. I would love to win this game, in that Coliseum, in front of those fans and that three note band and end the misery once and for all.

That being said...


Losing to Stanfurd four years in a row is intolerable. Losing five years in a row borders on the darkest times of Holmoe. This is a reeling Stanfurd team and Cal needs to retake the Bay Area with the Cardinal staggering to the finish line. Otherwise Stanford still will hold themselves just that much higher over Cal, and the questions will remain about whether this Bear Raid is ever going to be good enough to beat a good defense come the offseason.

Berkelium97: Stanford. Anyone who believes otherwise is a terrible person.

Nam Le: I am a terrible person.

TwistNHook: I'm a terrible person but that doesn't have anything to do w college sports.

Atomsareenough: Bruin, terrible person... six of one, half dozen of the other :) Anyway, beating USC would be a better win, and I want us to beat them... but I think that would be a nice-to-have. Beating Stanford is a must-have. BRING BACK THE AXE!

Ruey Yen: The only game I would possibly want more than a win over Stanfurd would be the National Championship game (in some weird scenario where we makes the playoff but somehow lost to Furd). So let's get the axe back. Of course, the team should take it one game at a time, which means that let's just focus on our next game which is USC.

Scott Chong: I'm chiming in just to agree that Head Football writer Nam Le is a terrible person. We want the Axe!

Avinash Kunnath: Nam, why do you want to beat USC more than the Furd?

Nam Le: Because I know what a victory over Stanford (a fairly respectable institution, by the way) looks like. I've pretty much NEVER seen a win over USC, which basically embodies classlessness and villainy.

boomtho: As sweet as it would be to beat USC and end this horrid streak, the answer has to be the Axe. The Furd is obviously in a down year, but still, the Axe is what matters.

That being said, getting either one of these wins will be so, so sweet.

TwistNHook: This is a disturbingly difficult question given how UNIMAGINABLY horrific Cal has been against USC in the last 10 years, but we also haven't beaten Stanford since 2009 AND barely been competitive in most of those games. 2010 was a blow out. 2011 was close. 2012 was a 21-3 game that sucked. 2013 was the worst loss ever. We've also barely been competitive against USC in the last decade, so it is surprisingly close, but let's beat Stanford. It's a home game, so we'll get to rush the field and it'll be a whole lot of fun!

LeonPowe: The answer before, now, and until the end of time is Beat Stanfurd. Beat Stanfurd yesterday. Beat Stanfurd today. Beat them next week. Beat them next year. Beat them until the end of time. We want the axe!

Vlad Belo: Seriously, this is a question? The Axe. It has been imprisoned long enough. Time to bring it home.

Leland Wong: The Big Game is the bigger win this year and it isn't even close. It's not like this is one of those years where USC is the top of the conference either; they're a stunningly inconsistent team, so beating them might just dismissed as one of their bad games. I would entertain the thought of trading a Big Game win for a win over the conference's elite--like Oregon--but not for a bipolar Sark-coached USC squad. I don't even need to waste space here to explain why the Big Game is the rivalry for the University of California. They've won for four years in a row, featuring three blowouts and the biggest beatdown in Big Game history. There is no win on the schedule that is more important than beating Stanfurd, reclaiming the Axe, removing their vandalism about the '82 game, and restoring our status as the preeminent college football program in the Bay Area.

boomtho: Explaining why would not be a waste of space. In fact, if you called it the novel, Nam might even pay attention! :)

TwistNHook: I think there is some disconnect here. I agree that Stanford is a bigger win than USC, but this isn't about whether or not USC is good or bad this year. This is about a decade of futility. Absolute patheticness against USC. Even when USC has been fairly mediocre the last few years. Let's look at the tape:

2004: ARGH
2005: #1 team rolls into Berkeley and obliterates Joe Ayoob and Co.
2006: Close loss in USC
2007: Close loss in rain
2008: Game-tying TD called back on weird (but apparently accurate) penalty
2009: Not even close
2010: 42-0 at half. 42-0 AT HALF
2011: Cal turns over the ball 5 times on National TV, losing to eminently beatable USC team
2012: Cal fails to put up a touchdown in Southern California

OK, firstly, I had forgotten about that 42-0 at half game. Sorry for reminding everybody! So, yes, Stanford is Stanford. Yes, we've had some rough losses to them in the last few years. But seriously, just look at that list and tell me it isn't close. Tell me you wouldn't want this to end. Why can't it just end? I know you want to say Big Game and I know you want to say Stanford (me too!), but just close your eyes for a second here.

It's a crisp Thursday night in Southern California. Dozens of thousands of arrogant USC fans have packed into the Coliseum. You are either at the game, most likely in visitor seats 300 miles east of the field, or watching at home. The fans have spent all night feeding off of the energy of History's Greatest Monster, the USC Marching Band. However, wait, what's that? For once, the time has just run off the clock and the Bears have won. The Bears have won!!! The team can't run over to the Cal band to sign fight since the Cal band has been seated somewhere in Temple City. But hey at least we won!

LeonPowe:  I have one thing to say your essay, Twist: Beat Stanfurd.

Sam Fielder: Everyone has outlined all the reasons why or why not USC but really only one things matters. The Axe is NOT in Berkeley and therefore beating furd is the priority. Forever and always.