Around this time of year you may notice people that never wear college apparel suddenly sporting their team colors. That’s because the big game is near; the one game that will make or break any team’s season regardless of how good they are doing. It is not a conference championship or even a playoff game of some sort; it’s bigger. It’s the hated rival.
Last weekend saw the first of many rivalries to come get underway. While every team tends to play harder and a little better, many of the outcomes are not hard to figure out. It was no surprise to see Ohio State defeat Michigan, 21-10, to clinch a bid to the Rose Bowl. Purdue retained the Old Oaken Bucket beating Indiana 38-21.
Two other games hold more significance in the national spotlight.
In the 126th meeting of two of the nation’s oldest universities, Harvard bested the boys of Yale 14-10. Most people would not be concerned over a bunch of really smart guys defeating another bunch of really smart guys, but it is because of something incredibly stupid that Yale lost. Set to win a rare victory against the Harvard Bulldogs, first year head coach Tom Williams decided to go for it on 4th and 22 from his own 26 yard line while holding onto a 10-7 lead. Harvard would go onto score the go ahead touchdown.
Apparently whatever infected Bill Belichick is contagious.
The Big Game, as the Cal-Stanford game is known, held more importance for the Cardinals of Stanford than it did for the Golden Bears of Cal. Stanford went into the matchup ranked 14th in the nation and with talks of the university going to the Rose Bowl for the first time since they lost to Washington in the 2000 Rose Bowl game.
Cal at 5-3 in the conference had no loftier goal other than the desire to win the game’s trophy, the Axe for the seventh time in the eight years that Jim Tedford has been their coach. With a 34-28 victory the Golden Bears did just that as the Cardinals fell out of the rankings and had to watch Cal climb into the top 25 at number 22.
Thursday night will see another long running rivalry take place, this one with national title implications. In the 116th meeting of the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies, the Longhorns will have to win in order to keep their national title hopes alive. The Aggies would like nothing better than to dash the Longhorn’s dreams. Texas holds a sizable lead in the rivalry with more than twice the victories of the Aggies.
But when it comes to the rivalry game anything goes; just as the Cardinals.
Go out to the parking lot prior to the game Texas-Texas A&M game and I would be willing to bet that you will find a few folks drinking a Bombshell Blonde from the Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe, Texas. These guys have only been brewing this treat for just over a year, having started it in October of 2008. Fermented at a cold temperature in order to give it a nice, clean, easy to drink finish this golden ale will remind of you of yeasty bread flavors with a dominant hops flavor to give it the taste that tailgaters everywhere can enjoy, at 5.25% ABV you’ll have to worry more about missing the game because you are in the bathroom than anything else.