Why is the “Big Game” not a big game?

Spectator's view of Cal vs. Stanford on Wednesday night

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College football is a tradition that many Cal students look forward to when they arrive at a Division-1 school. There’s something exhilarating about cramming into Memorial Stadium’s student section with hundreds of other fans and shouting “Go” — while the alumni answer back with “Bears” — at the top of your lungs. However, football can be disappointingly expensive. Last October, when Cal played Stanford, students who didn’t have season tickets had to pay $90 for a single ticket or otherwise sit at home, dismayed that they could not represent their school. Or maybe they were still stuck in their rooms studying for midterms … because at Cal, midterm lasts all semester.

So when Cal plays Stanford in football, no matter how embarrassingly we lose ― though our loss to Oregon was arguably more humiliating ― it is a majorly expensive affair. But when Cal plays Stanford in basketball, tickets are infinitely more accessible to the student sports spectator. If you’re a Cal student, you could buy a $7 ticket online for most of the basketball games, even for last night’s game against Stanford. Maybe it wasn’t a $7 ticket to the “Big Game” of Cal and Stanford’s long-standing football rivalry, but it’s still an excellent deal … not to mention that there is usually the option of a sitting student section!

That’s pretty surprising considering our basketball team, unlike last season’s football team, are winners. They had a seven-game winning streak before their disappointing loss against Stanford last night. Their star guard, Allen Crabbe, is a candidate for the Pac-12 Player of the Year award. They beat UCLA at home (of course, so did our football team at homecoming, remember that one celebrated win?) as well as USC, and out-of-state competitors Arizona, Oregon, OSU, Utah and Colorado. Our team may have lost to Stanford when we played them earlier this season in Palo Alto, but at least there was some momentum going into this game.

While we will support our football team through thick and thin, we must admit the brutal truth: they weren’t winners last season. For most games, which we lost, it was a little disappointing to pay around $10 for a student ticket. And it certainly wasn’t worth shelling out $90 for a ticket to the “Big Game.” So students, we pose the question: Why don’t we give the basketball rivalry the attention it deserves? Yeah, we might have gotten a pretty big whooping last night, but at least it only cost us seven bucks! We think you’ll agree that while you bleed true blue and gold, you aren’t made out of gold. You’ll probably enjoy Cal sports more if you can watch them without going broke.

Image source: Jessica Rogness, The Daily Californian