Most exciting game
Avinash: 2007. This is arguably the most well-played Cal football game we’ve ever seen.
Ohio Bear: 1993. Cal 42, Oregon 41. Miracle at Memorial. Oregon led Cal 30–0 in the second quarter of the 1993 Pac-10 opener for both teams before the Bears mustered the greatest comeback in school history. Dave Barr’s touchdown pass to Iheanyi Uwaezuoke with less than 2 minutes remaining brought the Bears to within 1 point. Somewhat inexplicably, Cal coach Keith Gilbertson went for two and the win—Barr threw a fade to Mike Caldwell in the left corner of the end zone, Caldwell came down with one foot inbounds, and the Bears took the lead. Artis Houston intercepted a Danny O’Neil pass on the ensuing drive to seal the comeback win.
Best Cal performance:
Ohio Bear: 2006. #16 Cal 45, #11 Oregon 24. This one had it all for Cal—great offensive performances by Nate Longshore, Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and the receiving corps; great defensive plays by the likes of Zack Follett and Desmond Bishop; and an exciting punt return for a touchdown by Desean Jackson. Cal came to play that night and played well in, as Jeff Tedford used to say, “all three phases.”
Leland Wong: If I mention the 2010 game, will it be more controversial because we lost or because of the fake injuries? The Brock Mansion–led offense struggled mightily, but DC Clancy Pendergast’s scheme of strict man coverage with a quarterback spy held the Ducks—who lost that year’s National Championship on a field goal at the final second—to only 15 points. Sure, the fake injuries were embarrassing and call into question the whole defensive performance, but I don’t have a good enough memory to think of anything else.
Best Cal upset
Ohio Bear: 2007. #6 Cal 31, #12 Oregon 24. Yes, I know that this game is listed above under “most exciting.” And yes, I know that Cal was ranked higher than Oregon at the time this game was played. But let’s face it: with Cal marching into hostile Autzen Stadium, where the Bears had not won since 1987, this was an upset.