When the California Golden Bears take the field against the Fresno State Bulldogs, they won't just be fighting for a return to respectability in the Pac-12. They'll be fighting for ghosts of Cal past who couldn't vanquish their Central Valley colleagues in two prior matchups.
(Home team in caps)
1995: Fresno State 25, CAL 24
No real records of this game, but it was Keith Gilbertson's final year, and it was horrid. The team finished 3-8, 8th in the Pac-10. That Cal team featured Tony Gonzalez, Dameane Douglas, Ryan Longwell, Bobby Shaw, Duane Clemons and Regan Upshaw. Fresno State had Lane Kiffin at quarterback. It's probably best that Cal Athletics burned all records of the game.
Fresno State went on to go 5-7 that season (well come on, LANE KIFFIN was quarterback), and was part of a stretch that led to Jim Sweeney's ouster and Pat Hill becoming the head coach for the program. Jeff Tedford was offensive coordinator for the Bulldogs that season.
2000: FRESNO STATE 17, Cal 3
Commonly described by Cal fans as one of the most horrifying games in program history. Cal piled up over 300 yards of total offense, but Kyle Boller went 16 for 36 for 197 yards and threw two costly picks, while in the last game he ever played without getting sacked seven times, David Carr piled up 325 passing yards on 24 completions through 41 attempts with two touchdowns.
Fresno State finished 7-5 this season, Cal finished 3-8. This was not enough to convince the Athletic Department to fire Tom Holmoe, so he stayed on, and Cal was punished with a 1-10 season.
For more on Cal football, go to the California Golden Blogs.