Gopher Football Adds Home-and-Home Series with Cal Golden Bears for 2028-2029

Cal running back Marshawn Lynch ran past Gophers defenders Dominic Jones (2) and Mike Sherels in 2006. (Star Tribune file photo)

Get your calendars out Gopher Football fans! Three Rose Bowls and 4 National Championships from now, the Gophers will play two non-conference games vs the California Golden Bears.

This will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two schools, with Cal holding a 4-2 advantage in the series. The teams last met in 2009 at TCF Bank Stadium and Minnesota’s last win in the series was a 32-23 home triumph in 1987.

Before the national dominance shown by Gopher football in the late-1930’s and 40’s under Bernie Bearman, the Cal Golden Bears were running the college scene in the early 20’s under Andy Smith.

From 1920 to 1958, Cal played in 8 Rose Bowls but while the Gophers were dominating the Early Big Ten, the Rose Bowl didn’t include a team from our historic conference.

The Pac-12, or PCC (Pacific Coast Conference) back then, has always been a part of the Rose Bowl festivities but the Big Ten didn’t become a regular participant until 1947, when Illinois introduced the two new rival conferences by embarrassing UCLA, 45-14.

Anyway, the Bears have never won the PAC-12, were co-champions of the PAC-10 once back in 2006, and co-champions of the PAC-8 once in 1975. They haven’t won the conference outright since 1958, when they were PCC Champions.

The Golden Bears haven’t won 10 games since that co-PAC-12 championship in 2006 but they’ve been trending gradually up since hiring Justin Wilcox back in 2017.

They finished 5-7 in year 1, before flipping the script to 7-6 in year 2, and then improving to 8-5 in year 3. If Wilcox continues on this path, Cal and the Gophers might be meeting in the Rose Bowl before these non-conference regular season matchups are set to take place in 2028-29.


Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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