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Cal Basketball

The Cal Berkeley Bears? You've Got to be Kidding

September 21, 2023
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We don’t often do editorials at Bear Insider but rather usually just cover the news and maybe flavor it with our opinion. The views expressed here may or may not represent the views of our full staff but they certainly represent this writer’s view along with a large swath of passionate Cal Athletics fans.

We are the University of California. We are the flagship university of one of the most renowned academic institutions in the world and the flag bearer of one of the oldest and most storied athletic programs in the country, yet in one of the goofiest and egg-headed decisions to come down the pike in many years, a 19-member task force released a recent report recommending that the University of California athletic teams rebrand to the name Cal Berkeley.

In the immortal words of tennis legend John McEnroe: Are you kidding me?

Fight For California. Big C. Sons of California. Hail to California. Toast to California. California Marching Song. California Drinking Song. A collection of some of the most heart-stirring fight songs in all of college athletics and all are California. Not Berkeley but California.

Forget that the Berkeley moniker is tied to an 18th-century Irish bishop who ostensibly supported slavery and reportedly purchased as many as five slaves during his brief tenure in the United States. With the progressive nature of our great university, the Berkeley name may well be abandoned at some point near in time and where would that leave our confused and beloved Cal Berkeley Bears?

The recommendation was made to help prevent the confusion that Cal’s many common monikers have engendered over the years. Cal. Cal-Berkeley. UC Berkeley. The University of California. The Univesity of California Berkeley. The list goes on.

People are confused. We get it. What graduate of our great university has not had to offer a second or third version of our university’s name to help quell the confusion of a conversation partner when referring to our university? No rebrand or committee recommendation is ever likely to end that confusion.

Well, let me unconfuse you. Cal Athletics has always been and always should be CAL Athletics. Not Cal Berkeley Athletics. Not UC Berkeley Athletics or anything but Cal, short for California, the flagship school and program of our university. You know, the athletic program that brought you the Big Game rivalry with Stanford that started in 1892. The Wonder Team led by legendary head coach Andy Smith in 1920 that won the Rose Bowl and started a 5-year run of undefeated football. A basketball program started in 1907 and the 1959 team led by legendary coach Pete Newell who won the national championship over a loaded Cincinnati team led by future NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Roberson and national runner-ups the following season. A baseball program that’s been around since 1892 and won two national championships in 1947 and 1957 and has been to the College World Series 6 times overall and the regionals 6 times in the last two decades. Men’s aquatic programs -swimming, water polo and crew who won unprecedented back-to-back national championships the last two years and many more besides that. A men’s rugby program that has won an astounding 33 national championships since 1980. And that’s just for starters.

All of them were won under the banner of California. What makes anyone believe that changing our athletic program’s name to Cal Berkeley - to directly contradict our name of the last nearly century and a half of athletic competition will make people less confused?

This is a bad idea and one that is hopefully destined for the dustbin of bad ideas of history.

Cal, California or bust.

Discussion from...

The Cal Berkeley Bears? You've Got to be Kidding

7,043 Views | 40 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by Big C
HoopDreams
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calumnus
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On the other thread I posted EVERY SINGLE Cal fight song and every single one refers to us as "California"not even as "Cal."
Grrrrah76
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A camel is a horse designed by a committee (or 19 person task force). I went to Cal.
Shocky1
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jim & greg, realize u both bleed blue & gold but at some point u gotta stop thinking that taking a measured approach without calling out james arthur knowlton is somehow gonna work out ok & that his ongoing destruction of cal athletics must come to an end

where's the interview with the con artist???
DiabloWags
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Shocky1 said:

jim & greg, realize u both bleed blue & gold but at some point u gotta stop thinking that taking a measured approach without calling out james arthur knowlton is somehow gonna work out ok & that his ongoing destruction of cal athletics must come to an end

where's the interview with the con artist???
This ^^^
"Cults don't end well. They really don't."
Boot
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Obviously the committee were all Stanford Alums.
sonofabear51
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Agreed. ^^^. TY for bringing this up, Shocky.


The AD is a coward.
Start Slowly and taper off
udaman1
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So, it's clear that Ron Rivera would happily roam the sidelines at Memorial one day, clipboard in hand. What will it take to get him here now?
-Step one: Commanders need to eat it this year. 6 wins. No loffs. Rivera fired
-Step two: WIlcox canned after the season. $3.9 M payout? Is that correct?
-Step three- Rivera 3 year deal hometown discount. He's loaded right?

Or wilcox for 4 more years?
DiabloWags
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Wilcox will have to get bought out of his remaining contract.
You got $20 million laying around?
"Cults don't end well. They really don't."
Cal Junkie
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Cal or University of California.

...Or the U Cali City of Berkeley State Bears.
sycasey
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Just going to continue repeating this:

Keep calling the athletic teams "California," or "Cal" for short.

Add some smaller branding on uniform and court/field designs to indicate that the school is in Berkeley.

Done.
BearinOC
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I am not fond of this either. I like California, UC Berkeley, and/or CAL.


California-no connection to the university by the public
UC Berkeley-It is a Nobel producing school
CAL-only in sports world knows CAL but cannot connect to UC Berkeley

CAL Berkeley- Connects sports and academia.

The common perception on the softball field they are wanting to go to "Cal Berkeley" or committed to "Cal Berkeley". The athletes are saying it so that the listener can make the connection.

Don't shoot the messenger.
udaman1
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So 4 more years mediocre to bad football? Stopping that bleeding is easily worth more than $5M per year. Yes it would be a mortgage. Get Rivera in here, ramp up recruiting, transfer in some major talent. Why bother accepting the ACC offer unless we're going to do something to make the program better, beyond the "bear" minimum.
Econ141
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Is there any timeline on when they expect to make a final decision. If they go Cal-Berkeley I'll have to question my decision to attend a Cal State school when I could have gone to a real university.
Shocky1
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Good morning Cal Berkeley Bears Fans!!!

It's a beautiful morning here in Colorado Springs as I gaze over the majestic Rocky Mountains from my real estate house flipping home office, so excited to announce the rebranding of my current employer!

And this couldn't have happened without Jenny & Markeisha leading the charge, I'm 100% confident that the merchandise sales of them Cal Berkeley Bears are going to triple the current gear sales. I would've loved to also sat in these bureaucratic meetings but with the Colorado Spring Senior All State League playoffs that just not possible, can't be 2 places at one time!
https://chancellor.berkeley.edu/berkeleycal-identity-task-force

And let's be real here, as long as the $1,300,000 salary checks keep accumulating here in panoramic Colorado Springs you could call it the Berkeley Liberal Smelly Hippies for all that I care!

Please be assured that despite the projected future tens of millions less revenue dollars from the ACC that I will NOT reduce any administrative expenses, cut any of our 30+ sport teams or basically do anything!

Covertly (unless Shocky finds out) borrowing more money from the Central Campus is definitely the path of least resistance.

Go Cal Berkeley Bears!!!

General James Arthur Knowlton
BearSD
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sycasey said:

Just going to continue repeating this:

Keep calling the athletic teams "California," or "Cal" for short.

Add some smaller branding on uniform and court/field designs to indicate that the school is in Berkeley.

Done.
I would strongly prefer more "California" and less "Cal". The Cal nickname will never go away entirely because it is too ingrained, but...

Would Texas have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Tex?

Would Michigan have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Mich?

Would Minnesota have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Minny?

No, no, and no.

California > Cal.

GoOskie
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Go Cal Berkeley Bears!!!
chazzed
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Settling on "Cal Berkeley" would be a terrible decision. This 19-person task force is failing us.
bluehenbear
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The entire university, not just the athletic department should be embracing and promoting CALIFORNIA.

Go to any other flagship state university and you'll see students wearing not just TEXAS Football or MICHIGAN Men's Basketball shirts but your regular students wearing WISCONSIN Biology or MICHIGAN Psychology shirts. Students should be able to proudly display CALIFORNIA Physics, or CALIFORNIA Civil Engineering, or CALIFORNIA History. I've seen it claimed that the academic departments are prohibited for using CALIFORNIA or Cal at all. Simply ridiculous. It is the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA and it is in Berkeley.
calumnus
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BearSD said:

sycasey said:

Just going to continue repeating this:

Keep calling the athletic teams "California," or "Cal" for short.

Add some smaller branding on uniform and court/field designs to indicate that the school is in Berkeley.

Done.
I would strongly prefer more "California" and less "Cal". The Cal nickname will never go away entirely because it is too ingrained, but...

Would Texas have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Tex?

Would Michigan have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Mich?

Would Minnesota have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Minny?

No, no, and no.

California > Cal.




Agree 100%. We need to lean into California and use it wherever it fits so that when we use Cal, people know it is short for California.
sycasey
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BearSD said:

sycasey said:

Just going to continue repeating this:

Keep calling the athletic teams "California," or "Cal" for short.

Add some smaller branding on uniform and court/field designs to indicate that the school is in Berkeley.

Done.
I would strongly prefer more "California" and less "Cal". The Cal nickname will never go away entirely because it is too ingrained, but...

Would Texas have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Tex?

Would Michigan have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Mich?

Would Minnesota have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Minny?

No, no, and no.

California > Cal.


Penn State, Pitt, Mizzou, and Ole Miss are fine with shortened nicknames in common use. This isn't a big deal to me.
BearlyCareAnymore
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bluehenbear said:

The entire university, not just the athletic department should be embracing and promoting CALIFORNIA.

Go to any other flagship state university and you'll see students wearing not just TEXAS Football or MICHIGAN Men's Basketball shirts but your regular students wearing WISCONSIN Biology or MICHIGAN Psychology shirts. Students should be able to proudly display CALIFORNIA Physics, or CALIFORNIA Civil Engineering, or CALIFORNIA History. I've seen it claimed that the academic departments are prohibited for using CALIFORNIA or Cal at all. Simply ridiculous. It is the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA and it is in Berkeley.
The reason for the academic branding is that the Berkeley brand in academics is far more prestigious than any other state university. To put it bluntly, we are better than all of them by a long shot. There is no reason on the academic side that we should be branding the same way as Texas or Michigan or Kansas or Oregon.

I watch a lot of British television shows and a lot of them are set in Oxford and Cambridge (It is amazing how many murders take place in those towns if the BBC is correct). Whenever there is a reference to American universities, they say "Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley". We can't compete with professors' salaries paid by "Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley". Visiting professors come from Harvard, Stanford or Berkeley. Professors leave to take jobs at Harvard, Stanford or Berkeley. This is not new. I've seen it on shows from the 70's. The Berkeley brand is huge and it is special it is on par with any Ivy. We are not just another state school. We are not just THE University of California. We are global. We are THE state school. The best one anywhere and everyone knows our brand. It is like saying UCLA should change their brand to California-LA. I know some of you don't like the fact that the brand is the same as the city, but it would be a serious downgrade to change the academic brand. (And I still think that people here don't get that when people in conservative states refer to Berkeley liberals, they mean University of California, Berkeley liberals. They mean people in Democratic administrations. Government advisors, lawyers and judges and politicians. They don't mean bubble lady or hate man.)

The Berkeley brand does not exist in sports. College football is not a global phenomenon. And much of the audience for the sports branding is not overlapping with the academic branding. There, we should be THE University of California. We should be California. We should be Cal. The problem is not the brand it is the product. If in 1960, Cal had chosen to go all in on sports and UCLA had chosen to de-emphasize, Cal would be a household name and no one would have heard of UCLA, and we wouldn't have to explain why we play UCLA's fight song.
calumnus
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sycasey said:

BearSD said:

sycasey said:

Just going to continue repeating this:

Keep calling the athletic teams "California," or "Cal" for short.

Add some smaller branding on uniform and court/field designs to indicate that the school is in Berkeley.

Done.
I would strongly prefer more "California" and less "Cal". The Cal nickname will never go away entirely because it is too ingrained, but...

Would Texas have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Tex?

Would Michigan have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Mich?

Would Minnesota have better brand identity if they labeled their athletic teams as Minny?

No, no, and no.

California > Cal.


Penn State, Pitt, Mizzou, and Ole Miss are fine with shortened nicknames in common use. This isn't a big deal to me.


Pennsylvania was already taken, it is an Ivy League school. Plus William Penn founded Pennsylvania so "Penn State" actually is accurate. California was not founded by someone named "Cal." Pittsburgh? It is not the state plus Pittsburgh is the Steelers and Pirates, being a city name (pro sports) there was a need for differentiation. What other sports team in California competes as "California"? Missouri goes by Missouri, Mizzou is only a nickname, should be the same as "Cal." Ole Miss is very "Southern" name another school in Mississippi? Plus are you really comparing the brand value of "California" with "Mississippi"?

Every one of our fight songs uses "California." I use "Cal" we all do, but we should reclaim "California" and emphasize it as much as possible so there is no question "Cal" is just a nickname for the "California Golden Bears."

Our move to the ACC in a league separate from UCLA and "Southern Cal" is the perfect time to reassert our rightful ownership of "California." It is a great, great sports brand, it is not Mississippi or Pittsburgh it is California, the wealthiest, most populous, most storied, most envied and hated state in the nation. California is our traditional brand, we would be crazy to give it up. California on programs and scoreboards , interview backdrops, everywhere official or where there is room. Cal should just be an affectionate nickname, not our official name.
MrGPAC
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Of the schools brought up in this thread:

Texas helmet: Longhorn (Happens to be the shape of a T...unsure if that's on purpose)
Michigan helmet: No school symbol at all.
Ohio State helmet: No school symbol at all.
Florida helmet: "Gators" script
Minnesota helmet: Block M

For schools with nick names instead of the State:
Penn State helmet: No school symbols at all.
Pitt: Script Pitt
Mizzou: Picture of mascot
Ole Miss: Script Ole Miss (On a separate note, how bad is that? Their field goal kicker has "Miss" right there on his helmet!)

Its surprising how many of the flagship schools don't have any symbols at all / blank helmets. Those that do have something on their helmets tend to go by the name on the helmet more than anything else. The only exception to that is the Block letters or pictures of mascots.

If we want to ditch "Cal" and go with "California" we should start by going with a block C, script "Bears", a picture of a bear, a bear paw print (no Cal inside), or just a blank helmet. Until we do we will continue to be "Cal" rather than "California."

Other fun ideas to put on a helmet to piss everyone off (cuz hey, its a Friday, why not?):

"Cali"
Block B
"Bk" (in a box as if on the periodic table)
Crying bear picture

Random aside, if they DO change the name from "Berkeley" do we get to rename Berkelium?
baytobreakers
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sycasey said:

Just going to continue repeating this:

Keep calling the athletic teams "California," or "Cal" for short.

Add some smaller branding on uniform and court/field designs to indicate that the school is in Berkeley.

Done.
ditto
JimSox
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BearlyCareAnymore said:

bluehenbear said:

The entire university, not just the athletic department should be embracing and promoting CALIFORNIA.

Go to any other flagship state university and you'll see students wearing not just TEXAS Football or MICHIGAN Men's Basketball shirts but your regular students wearing WISCONSIN Biology or MICHIGAN Psychology shirts. Students should be able to proudly display CALIFORNIA Physics, or CALIFORNIA Civil Engineering, or CALIFORNIA History. I've seen it claimed that the academic departments are prohibited for using CALIFORNIA or Cal at all. Simply ridiculous. It is the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA and it is in Berkeley.
The reason for the academic branding is that the Berkeley brand in academics is far more prestigious than any other state university. To put it bluntly, we are better than all of them by a long shot. There is no reason on the academic side that we should be branding the same way as Texas or Michigan or Kansas or Oregon.

I watch a lot of British television shows and a lot of them are set in Oxford and Cambridge (It is amazing how many murders take place in those towns if the BBC is correct). Whenever there is a reference to American universities, they say "Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley". We can't compete with professors' salaries paid by "Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley". Visiting professors come from Harvard, Stanford or Berkeley. Professors leave to take jobs at Harvard, Stanford or Berkeley. This is not new. I've seen it on shows from the 70's. The Berkeley brand is huge and it is special it is on par with any Ivy. We are not just another state school. We are not just THE University of California. We are global. We are THE state school. The best one anywhere and everyone knows our brand. It is like saying UCLA should change their brand to California-LA. I know some of you don't like the fact that the brand is the same as the city, but it would be a serious downgrade to change the academic brand. (And I still think that people here don't get that when people in conservative states refer to Berkeley liberals, they mean University of California, Berkeley liberals. They mean people in Democratic administrations. Government advisors, lawyers and judges and politicians. They don't mean bubble lady or hate man.)

The Berkeley brand does not exist in sports. College football is not a global phenomenon. And much of the audience for the sports branding is not overlapping with the academic branding. There, we should be THE University of California. We should be California. We should be Cal. The problem is not the brand it is the product. If in 1960, Cal had chosen to go all in on sports and UCLA had chosen to de-emphasize, Cal would be a household name and no one would have heard of UCLA, and we wouldn't have to explain why we play UCLA's fight song.


Exactly right Bearly. (And it sounds like you really do care!)
JimSox
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baytobreakers said:

sycasey said:

Just going to continue repeating this:

Keep calling the athletic teams "California," or "Cal" for short.

Add some smaller branding on uniform and court/field designs to indicate that the school is in Berkeley.

Done.
ditto


And I agree as well
calumnus
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MrGPAC said:

Of the schools brought up in this thread:

Texas helmet: Longhorn (Happens to be the shape of a T...unsure if that's on purpose)
Michigan helmet: No school symbol at all.
Ohio State helmet: No school symbol at all.
Florida helmet: "Gators" script
Minnesota helmet: Block M

For schools with nick names instead of the State:
Penn State helmet: No school symbols at all.
Pitt: Script Pitt
Mizzou: Picture of mascot
Ole Miss: Script Ole Miss (On a separate note, how bad is that? Their field goal kicker has "Miss" right there on his helmet!)

Its surprising how many of the flagship schools don't have any symbols at all / blank helmets. Those that do have something on their helmets tend to go by the name on the helmet more than anything else. The only exception to that is the Block letters or pictures of mascots.

If we want to ditch "Cal" and go with "California" we should start by going with a block C, script "Bears", a picture of a bear, a bear paw print (no Cal inside), or just a blank helmet. Until we do we will continue to be "Cal" rather than "California."

Other fun ideas to put on a helmet to piss everyone off (cuz hey, its a Friday, why not?):

"Cali"
Block B
"Bk" (in a box as if on the periodic table)
Crying bear picture

Random aside, if they DO change the name from "Berkeley" do we get to rename Berkelium?


I don't want to ditch "Cal" but I want to reassert "California" far more. This week's uniform is the perfect example: we have a small "Cal" on the chest above the numbers. That is where we need "California." We already have "Cal" on the helmets, so repeating it on the uniform is as if "Cal" is our actual name.
TandemBear
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No problem it'll just be "Cal Berkelium." Problem solved.
TouchedTheAxeIn82
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BearSD said:

I would strongly prefer more "California" and less "Cal".
Totally agree with you. I said this over 10 years ago, the problem with our branding (the confusion over associating our athletic identity with Berkeley) is using the nickname Cal. I suggested putting California on our jerseys, Colorado-style, and mocked up a jersey with Loggy. I still believe having "California" as a fixture on our jerseys will help get us recognized in the same way as Texas, Michigan, Georgia, etc. We all know Texas refers to Austin, Michigan refers to Ann Arbor, and Georgia refers to Athens. People confuse "Cal" with a Cal State school or even UCLA. The consistent use and visibility of "California" will eventually lead to the proper association. California. It refers to Berkeley.

BarcaBear
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the solution is quite simple, but somehow the administration keeps wasting money on useless marketing firms. They opted for the most nonsensical crap ever with "Cal Berkeley". its facepalming to its core. all administrators involved in that decision need to be fired. stop hiring hacks masquerading as marketing experts. and ban the 19 people involved in that report.

Use "Cal" and "California" and "Golden Bears" for sports, and maintain "UC Berkeley" or "Berkeley" for academics.

and the author is right, the university should drop the name of a slave owner from its name.
BearHunter
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MrGPAC said:

Of the schools brought up in this thread:

Texas helmet: Longhorn (Happens to be the shape of a T...unsure if that's on purpose)
Michigan helmet: No school symbol at all.
Ohio State helmet: No school symbol at all.
Florida helmet: "Gators" script
Minnesota helmet: Block M

For schools with nick names instead of the State:
Penn State helmet: No school symbols at all.
Pitt: Script Pitt
Mizzou: Picture of mascot
Ole Miss: Script Ole Miss (On a separate note, how bad is that? Their field goal kicker has "Miss" right there on his helmet!)

Its surprising how many of the flagship schools don't have any symbols at all / blank helmets. Those that do have something on their helmets tend to go by the name on the helmet more than anything else. The only exception to that is the Block letters or pictures of mascots.

If we want to ditch "Cal" and go with "California" we should start by going with a block C, script "Bears", a picture of a bear, a bear paw print (no Cal inside), or just a blank helmet. Until we do we will continue to be "Cal" rather than "California."

Other fun ideas to put on a helmet to piss everyone off (cuz hey, its a Friday, why not?):

"Cali"
Block B
"Bk" (in a box as if on the periodic table)
Crying bear picture

Random aside, if they DO change the name from "Berkeley" do we get to rename Berkelium?

The Cal logo on the helmet is classic and original. While I do like the Block C, other schools like Connecticut, Cornell, and even South Carolina have their own versions of it.
sycasey
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BearHunter said:

MrGPAC said:

Of the schools brought up in this thread:

Texas helmet: Longhorn (Happens to be the shape of a T...unsure if that's on purpose)
Michigan helmet: No school symbol at all.
Ohio State helmet: No school symbol at all.
Florida helmet: "Gators" script
Minnesota helmet: Block M

For schools with nick names instead of the State:
Penn State helmet: No school symbols at all.
Pitt: Script Pitt
Mizzou: Picture of mascot
Ole Miss: Script Ole Miss (On a separate note, how bad is that? Their field goal kicker has "Miss" right there on his helmet!)

Its surprising how many of the flagship schools don't have any symbols at all / blank helmets. Those that do have something on their helmets tend to go by the name on the helmet more than anything else. The only exception to that is the Block letters or pictures of mascots.

If we want to ditch "Cal" and go with "California" we should start by going with a block C, script "Bears", a picture of a bear, a bear paw print (no Cal inside), or just a blank helmet. Until we do we will continue to be "Cal" rather than "California."

Other fun ideas to put on a helmet to piss everyone off (cuz hey, its a Friday, why not?):

"Cali"
Block B
"Bk" (in a box as if on the periodic table)
Crying bear picture

Random aside, if they DO change the name from "Berkeley" do we get to rename Berkelium?

The Cal logo on the helmet is classic and original. While I do like the Block C, other schools like Connecticut, Cornell, and even South Carolina have their own versions of it.

Yup, the script Cal sets us apart.
Bearly Clad
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The University of California
California
Cal
The only monikers I will ever use. The only gear I ever purchase. The only names with any weight or staying power. **** Berkeley
bluehenbear
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Maybe we should brand "of" like Ohio st branded "the"

The University
OF
California
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