Here is the story colleague Jon Wilner and I put together on the top quarterback matchups in Big Game history:
Smack in the middle of preparations for the latest installment of their ancient rivalry — precisely when vitriol should rule the day — Cal and Stanford are showing each other a little love, particularly at quarterback.
Cal’s Jared Goff praised Stanford’s Kevin Hogan to the top of Tightwad Hill and back prior to the 118th Big Game, while Hogan talked in glowing terms about Goff’s talent and humility.
The coaches went one better. Stanford’s David Shaw called Goff “the kind of guy you root for,” while Cal’s Sonny Dykes suggested Hogan, not Oregon’s former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, has been the best player in the conference over the past three years.
“He gives them a chance to win every Saturday,” Dykes said, “and that’s about the best thing you can say about a quarterback.”
There’s plenty to say about Hogan and Goff entering Saturday’s showdown at Stanford, including this: They form the Big Game’s best quarterback matchup this century and one of the greatest in series history.
The list, it turns out, is shorter than you might think.
The schools have produced a long line of stellar passers. But many of the greatest (Frankie Albert, Bobby Garrett, Craig Morton, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck) didn’t face an elite quarterback on the other team.