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Big Game 2011: When Stanford and Cal Play, Fans Should Expect The Unexpected

When the California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal play, fans always expect a heated battle between two bitter rivals. With the Cardinal hoping for BCS bowl bid in 2011, the game will be even a little bigger than usual this weekend.

Throughout history, The Big Game has delivered some incredible moments for both programs. As Kevin Gemmell chronicles, the battle of the Bay Area has had a history of unpredictability. Here are a few of the more wacky and memorable games in the rivalry:

1982: The Play. Enough said.

1990: Known as "The Revenge" John Hopkins connected on a 39-yard field goal as time expired, leading Stanford to a 27-25 win. But it was the series of events that led up to the field goal that were so dramatic. Jason Palumbis hit Ed McCaffrey for a touchdown with 12 seconds left, but Stanford missed the two-point conversion and trailed 25-24. Cal fans stormed the field, which led to a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff -- and Stanford recovered the onside kick. A questionable (depending which colors you wear) roughing the passer call turned a 54-yard field goal into a 39-yard field goal which Hopkins nailed to close out the game.

Will this year's version of The Big Game become an instant classic just as so many have in the past? For all the analysis and predictions that will be made by the experts this week, just remember one thing: expect the unexpected on Saturday.

For more on the showdown, check out California Golden Blogs and Rule Of Tree.