Wisconsin Game Day Traditions, the 5th QuarterCal Golden Bears Nickname, Oski Mascot
and Gameday Traditions
Cal's Top Supporter
Oski has been serving the
University since 1941.
It Lives in Infamy
Roy Riegels was long
remembered for this one play
Cal Football is packed with great tradition and its nickname and mascot salute the "Golden" Bear tradition that is
alive and well in California.  While competing in what is not the PAC 12, the Cal football program has generated
much buzz on and off the field
Golden Bear Tradition
Through the years, the University
has featured the Golden Bear in their
Cal's QB Tradition
Not only did Joe Kapp initiate
the Golden Bears QB success
in the NFL, but he later
returned to Berkley as head
coach of the football team.

A successful tour through the nation's Midwest and East by Cal's  track & field team in 1895 is credited
with the inspiration of the university's "Golden Bear" nickname. Since the grizzly bear is a
symbol of the state of California, it was appropriate that the track team displayed a banner on their tour
that featured a golden grizzly.
Continuing the domination they had enjoyed on the West Coast, the Cal team struck gold during
their eight-meet tour by winning five of the events. Cal fans were supposedly so excited by their team's
great performance that one of the school 's professors Charles Mills Gayley, wrote the son g "The Golden
Bear."  Since that defining moment, Cal 's athletic teams have been called the Golden Bears.

After stepping forward as a more bearable mascot alternative than the l ive bears the school had been
using, Oski joined Cal athletics in 1941.  The grinning bear costumed character has much better
stadium manners that his live predecessors. An Oski Committee handles the mascot's selection and its
members are the only ones who know the bear's identity.   Cal 's number one supporter  is named after
the popular "Oski Wow-Wow" yell.

Cal's blue and gold colors were established  in 1868 and reflect the heritage of the university's founders  
and the "Golden State" of California.   Many men instrumental in the development of the school had come
from Yale.  Therefore, they matched the Ivy League school's blue with the California gold to form the color
combo  that's still used today.  Cal athletes first wore the colors in 1882.

Each year Cal plays 10 regular season opponents  along with the "Big Game" that pits the Golden Bears
against their PAC 10 rival Stanford.   Noted as one of college football 's oldest, most intense and bizarre
rivalries, the series has more than a century of history.
If these two Northern  California  foes didn't already have enough to play for, the added variable of the
contest  being a trophy game builds the pressure higher. The Stanford  Axe is the prize that's been
given to the winning team since  it was first presented  following  the 1933 game.  Mounted  on a plaque,
the scores  of every game since  I 933 are listed on the axe.
Stanford students yelling, "Give them the axe" during an I 899 pep rally that featured  a Cal straw
man being decapitated  with the blade, helped the axe swing its way into the series.  Stanford students  
were also accused  of taunting their Cal opponents  during the next day's  baseball game by cutting  
pieces of blue and gold ribbon with the axe.  After earning a dramatic come from behind victory, Cal
supporters grabbed the axe and smuggled  it back to Berkeley.  The axe disappeared for more than three
decades  before resurfacing too become the focal point of the Stanford   rivalry.

Cal athletic officials proclaim the game day
tradition of fans performing card stunts  in the
stands originated at their school.   Cards were
first flashed  during a 191 0-rugby  match
against Stanford. Two symbols, The Stanford  
Axe and a blue "C" on a white background  
were the stunts  performed.
Cal fans still rev up the tradition  several times
a year at Memorial Stadium.  As many as 10
stunts are sometimes performed  in one day,
with some of them involving more than 5,000
cards.  The process of placing the cards in
their proper  position  used to take days of
planning, but now is much simpler thanks to
the advent  of computers.

Completed  in time for the 1923 Big Game against Stanford,  Cal's  Memorial  Stadium  is known for its
architectural design and beautiful  and surroundings. Modeled  after Rome's Coliseum, the venue
offers an impressive view that includes a plush wall of pine trees in the Berkeley Hills to the east and a
full view of the San Francisco  Bay and its three bridges to the west.
Besides hosting  Golden Bear football, Memorial  Stadium  serves as a dedication  to World
War I participants who were killed in the conflict.   Due to stadium  alterations  its seating capacity  has
fluctuated through  the years.  It current y has room for 74,909  fans, but 83,000  fans squeezed  in for
the I 947 Navy and 1952 Stanford  games


The jersey No. 12 that was worn by former  quarterback Joe Roth is the only one that's  been retired by
the Cal football program.  Roth led the Bears in passing in 1975 and 1976 before being sacked by
illness.  Cancer ended his football career following the 1976 season and took his life on Feb. 19, 1977.
Roth's jersey was retired during a ceremony prior to the USC foot ball game that fall.  Cal defeated the
Trojans 17-14.


Golden Bear signal callers have made quite an impact in the NFL after leaving Berkeley.  Joe Kapp
(Minnesota),Craig Morton (Denver) and Vince Ferragamo (LA Rams) all led their teams to the Super
Bowl.  However the one fly in the ointment is that all three came up short in their bid to win an NFL

Kapp returned to the Cal all program as the team 's head coach in 1982.  Despite boasting
4 record his first season, Kapp left the program after winning on l y 20 games in five years.
Another former Cal quarterback also made his mark in the pros.  Following his stellar 1974 collegiate
season,  the Atlanta Falcons picked Steve Bartkowski with the first selection in the 1975 NFL draft.  

Aaron Rodgers has taken Cal's NFL success to elite levels.  Rodgers replaced Brett Favre as the
Green Bay Packers signal caller and has guided the Packers to a Super Bowl title (SB XLV) in 2010 and
also captured NFL MVP honors in 2011.

While he was once known for being an All-American center on Ca l 's "Wonder Teams" of the
1920s, Roy Riegels will forever be remembered for his breathtaking run in the 1929 Rose Bowl.   
Playing undefeated Georgia Tech, Riegels picked up an opposing player's fumble and for a brief
moment headed toward Tech's goal line.  However, after being spun around, Riegels darted in the
wrong direction to Cal 's one-yard line before being turned around by a teammate.
Disaster quickly struck Cal after Riegels was tackled at the one-yard line, when Tech blocked a Cal
punt for a safety and a 2-0 lead. Georgia Tech never relinquished the lead on their way to an 8-7 w in
that will long be remembered as one of college football's classic games.
An Ace Up Their Sleeve
Golden Bear fans have long used the proper
placement of cards to reflect their school spirit.
Golden Bear Tradition
California's long association
with grizzly bears made the
Golden Bear nickname
selection a natural one
Beating Stanford
Gaining possession of the "Stanford Axe" is a
constant goal of the Golden Bears
No More No. 12's
Fallen QB Joe Roth was the last one
to wear No. 12 for the Bears.