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The Roast of Cal Berkeley

From punctuation to mascot choice, let’s joke about the Golden Bears.

Washington v California Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

*taps mic*

Welcome, one and all, to the Frogs O’ War Roast of the University of California, Berkeley. TCU takes on Cal in the Cheez-It Bowl this year, and while there’s still two weeks remaining until kickoff, it’s never too early to stock up on lighthearted ill will toward an opponent.

And what could possibly be an easier opponent to roast than, uh, one of the premier universities in the United States? At least those nerds can’t possibly be good at sports.

Ah! Well.

Let’s trawl through the Cal Wikipedia page and see what we can find.

PUNCTUATION: The school’s official name is the University of California, Berkeley. It’s the comma that I want to discuss here. What a bad comma that is! It takes away an opportunity to use a hyphen, the best punctuation of them all. The Texas state university systems punctuate their schools using styles like “Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi” and “University of Texas at El Paso.” And we all know Texas state education is far superior to California’s! (Note: please do not look that up.)

Cal’s name just makes it look like you’re telling a person named Berkeley that you attend the University of California.

RIVALRY: Cal has a longstanding rivalry with Stanford, in an unimaginative and dully named series known as the “Big Game.” The two teams have met 121 times, and Stanford leads 64-46-11. The winner of the game gets what’s known as the “Stanford Axe.”

Cal — what are you doing? You’re down bad to Stanford and allowed the Cardinal to name the rivalry trophy after itself! I simply can’t imagine trailing a rival in a series. And TCU already proved its dominance over Stanford last year in the Alamo Bowl. We’re basically just facing the runner-up in a boring rivalry that has never had anything interesting happen, ever, especially not involving a band running out onto the field or anything.

ALUMNI: Per the Wikipedia:

“As of October 2018, Berkeley alumni, faculty members and researchers include 107 Nobel laureates, 25 Turing Awards winners, and 14 Fields Medalists. They have also won 9 Wolf Prizes, 45 MacArthur Fellowships, 20 Academy Awards, 14 Pulitzer Prizes and 207 Olympic medals (117 gold, 51 silver and 39 bronze). In 1930, Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron at Berkeley, based on which UC Berkeley researchers along with Berkeley Lab have discovered or co-discovered 16 chemical elements of the periodic table – more than any other university in the world.”

Okay, yeah, well, Dan Jenkins graduated from TCU, and he wrote “Dead Solid Perfect,” so take that, Cal. Reverend Lovejoy from “The Simpsons” and The Professor from “Gilligan’s Island” also have fictional degrees from TCU.

You know what, let’s call this section a wash between both schools.

RANKINGS: The most important ranking for Cal is the U.S. News and World Report ranking of Global Universities. As best I can find, the highest Berkeley has finished in that poll since 2000 is No. 4, in 2017.

The most important ranking for TCU? Why, that’d be the AP Poll! And the Frogs finished No. 2 in 2010 and No. 3 in 2014. That’s a mark in our column for sure.

STUDENT LIFE: At the risk of alienating half our readers (one way or another), I will avoid making any jokes about the politics of the Cal student body, and instead focus on the fact that Cal is located in Berkeley, a town of 112,000 just north of Oakland. A quick Google search reveals that Berkeley does not have a Dutch’s Hamburgers, and does not have a Fuzzy’s Tacos anywhere in the vicinity. What a miserable existence that must be!

MASCOT: Kudos to Cal, supposedly one of the most innovative and unique schools in the nation, for looking up “most common mascots in the U.S.” and just picking whichever popped up first and adding a color to it. The bear is a cop-out, somewhat intimidating yet milquetoast enough to fade into the background. It’s a second-choice mascot — which is perfect, because Cal is a second-choice school for people who couldn’t get into MIT.

PROXIMITY TO CHEEZ-IT HEADQUARTERS: Cheez-It, a subsidiary of Kellogg, lists its address for comments as Battle Creek, Michigan. TCU is 1,131 miles away from Battle Creek. The Cal campus is 2,272 miles away. That’s just over twice as far away from TCU! Clearly, the Frogs have the upper hand here, and Cal is too far removed from our dear, dear friends at Cheez-It, who we love so much.

In summary: eat it, nerds!