Big West Conference implications were on the line when the UC Davis men’s soccer team hosted defending national champion UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 29, 2007.
An overflow crowd of 1,040 (with hundreds more watching outside through Aggie Soccer Stadium’s chain-linked fence) saw UCSB take care of UC Davis. The teams finished 1-2 in the conference, both qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
This year, things are a bit different.
The Big West title is still at stake, as the Aggies (12-2-3, 4-1-3) trail the first-place Gauchos (10-5-2, 5-2-1) by a single point entering their regular season finale.
But when these teams that simply don’t like each other take the pitch Saturday at 11 a.m., national bragging rights will be up for grabs, too. UC Davis and UCSB enter at No. 8 and No. 13 in the country, respectively.
Long story short: You’ll need to sleep outside the night before if you want to rest assured you’ll get a chance to see this.
Think about it. If an overflow crowd showed up to watch the Aggies and Gauchos square off for all the Big West marbles last year, how many more do you think will come this year with national respect up for grabs?
Well, over 4,000 people showed up to watch UC Davis shut out UCSB in Santa Barbara on Oct. 11 – and last time I checked, Aggie Soccer Stadium doesn’t hold 4,000 (yet).
It’s called Camp Beat UCSB, boys and girls. If you want a crack at seeing this game, you’ll probably need a sleeping bag to do so.
Urban camping at UC Davis for Aggie athletics is nothing new – well, since Mar. 5.
About a dozen Aggie Packers called the cement outside the Pavilion home before the UC Davis women’s basketball team’s regular season finale against UC Riverside.
The game wasn’t in danger of selling out, but the No. 2 seed in the Big West Tournament was hanging in the balance. Fans at big schools like Duke or UCLA would camp out for something like that, no questions asked.
Now, you’re in danger. You go to a big school, too.
Look, Aggie Soccer Stadium can smash 1,250 folks into its friendly confines in sardine-esque fashion if it really needs to. The best way to be one of those 1,250 is to follow this simple two-step plan:
No. 1: Show up at the stadium on Friday around 9 p.m. to pitch a tent and claim a spot.
No. 2: Get ready to have a sleepover with the true members of the Aggie faithful. Bring soccer balls to kick around, Frisbees – heck, the women’s basketball team even stopped by with pizzas (to eat, not throw). Will men’s soccer do the same? Only one way to find out.
(The California Aggie will provide a foosball table. If you haven’t played foosball before, you should – it’s like soccer but for people with no athletic ability.)
Hey, if hundreds of Texas Tech football fans can camp out for five days to watch their No. 7 Red Raiders knock off No. 1 Texas, you can do the same for a single night.
“I mean, it’ll be very exciting,” senior midfielder Sule Anibaba said. “We’re trying to win the conference. If we win the conference, we get a good seed going into the NCAA Tournament. Home field advantage, first round off – all of it.“
All of it could be on the line Saturday.
All you have to do is show up.
“Right now, we just have some special kids on our team,” head coach Dwayne Shaffer said. “It’s going to be hard to ever duplicate some of these kids. To get a Quincy [Amarikwa], a Sule, Dylan Curtis, Ian Conklin, Paul Marcoux, Jordan Vanderpoorten all at the same time – I hope everyone gets a chance to come watch them.“
Even if it means sleeping outside to do so.
It’ll be worth it.
Battle for the Causeway Cup
Think UC Davis-UCSB men’s soccer is enough for one day?
Once your stay at Camp Beat UCSB comes to a close, pack up your sleeping bags and tents, make the short hike over to Aggie Stadium and get ready for some football.
UC Davis hosts Sacramento State in the 55th rendition of the Causeway Classic on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Aggies hold an all-time advantage of 39-16 in the series.
The game is just one part of the Causeway Cup. Each time the Aggies and Hornets face off, the winning team receives a varying number of points toward winning the Cup.
UC Davis holds an early advantage. Expect it to add to its total on Saturday, as the Aggies haven’t lost to the Hornets in football this millennium – that’s eight straight for those of you scoring at home.
ADAM LOBERSTEIN expects to being run over by a cycling team at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning because his sleeping bag will be in the middle of a bike path. Oh well. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.