California Golden Bears
If asked if USC football or Cal football was founded first, most would say USC. Most would be wrong.
Cal’s team was founded in 1886, two years before the Trojans. They also boast national titles won in the early half of the 20th century. The Golden Bears go through cycles, they go up and then they go down. They have mostly been down in recent years, so younger fans don’t recall that they have had some very good teams over the years.
One of those teams was in 1991. Cal finished 9-2 in the regular season and was ranked in the Top 20 when they received an invitation to play the Clemson Tigers in the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 1992. Clemson was the ACC champion and ranked 13th in the country with a 9-1-1 record.
This was a great matchup, but most Clemson fans probably didn’t take Cal seriously. Clemson came out for warm-ups wearing their normal orange jerseys but when they came out for the game they had slipped on the purple jerseys, a rarity in that era.
Tiger Nation was fired up. Then Cal whipped Clemson 37-13.
It was brutal, and it started a downswing for the Tiger program. Clemson didn’t win another ACC title until Dabo Swinney did it in 2011. The Tigers have never come across the Golden Bears again on the gridiron.