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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Column: Real Nor Cal Rivalry

Think of the best college football rivalry.

First thought has to be Ohio State-Michigan. Next pair that comes to mind is the Big Game – Stanford-Cal. The historical football feud between Harvard and Yale has to be up there too.

The three pairs each bring an aspect to the perfect college football rivalry. Ohio State-Michigan has parity. Stanford-Cal has proximity. Harvard-Yale has history.

There’s a rivalry in our neck of the woods that has all three. The UC Davis and Sacramento State football rivalry has the making to be one of the best ever. It has parity. It has history. And obviously, it has proximity.

“I think rivalries are all the same,” coach Bob Biggs said. “It’s 57 years we’ve been doing this. Anytime you have that kind of longevity, you build a lot of emotion for the game and that’s evident when we play them.”

Proximity: UC Davis and Sacramento State are a mere 20 miles apart. ‘Nuff said.

Parity: Parity is the closeness of games.

If you’ve watched either of the last two Causeway Classics, a close game is just about a guarantee.

Last year saw the Hornets score a touchdown with 28 seconds left to cap off an amazing game.

This year was more of the same. A Sean Kelley field goal and a Jonathan Perkins interception brought the Causeway Carriage back to Davis. The 2010 matchup had it all – rain, lightning, delays, emotion, skill and toughness.

“This team is just so resilient,” Biggs said. “We really had our backs up against the wall three weeks ago. This is kind of the culmination of their great efforts throughout the year. To win three games in a row, I just think that it says a lot about the team.”

While the overall series strongly favors the Aggies, recent history has seen the Hornets catch up. Sac State has won two of the last three match-ups and has made games out of the prior ten.

Biggs went so far as to say this is one of the best Sac State teams he’s ever seen.

“This is one of their better football teams to be honest with you,” the coach said. “We were playing our best football at the end of the year and that hasn’t always been the case. You have two very good football teams playing in very adverse conditions and that makes for a great game.”

History: This is the kicker. This is what makes the match-up a classic rather than a dud.

There have been plenty of memorable games in the rivalry. Whether it was the mud bowls of 1981 and 1985, or the “Monsoon Bowl” of 2001 (I guess you can add 2010 to this one too), each game has been remembered for something different.

The future of the rivalry is what can really make it top-notch. With UC Davis set to join the Big Sky Conference in 2012 and the Hornets already a member, the Causeway Classic can mean so much more.

The new Big Sky will be split into divisions, and more than likely the Aggies and Hornets will be in the same one. With the two squads perennially matched up in the last week of the season, the future Causeway Classics’ can be some of most memorable yet.

Biggs hopes to see something very specific in the upcoming match-ups.

“My dream is to be playing Sac State at the end of the year for the championship and a playoff berth. That would be my dream. And hopefully one day that will happen.”

Biggs’ dream will become reality. Once it does, you can add importance to the list in what could be one of the greatest college rivalries in the nation.

JASON ALPERT would like to give major props to the few Aggie Pack members that stayed for the entire game, lightning and all. Those select fans define dedication. Great work Aggie Pack. To talk about the future of the Causeway Classic, e-mail me at sports@theaggie.org.

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