Cal defeated Tennessee, 45-31, in the first game of the college football season. I was at the game last Saturday, and saw the orange-clad visitors go home sad, the women smoking unfiltered cigarettes and the men stroking their ill-advised wispy half-goatees.
The final score was vindication for Cal fans, hurt by last year's blowout loss and a whole season of trash-talking from SEC fans. However, this only means the series is tied 1-1. I crunched the numbers to find a tiebreaker to the state rivalry.
1. The Law. Albert "Albie" Gore III was arrested for drunk driving in Orange County this July. He was also was driving a Prius, which means it was a double victory for California over Tennessee. (Cal 2, Tenn 0)
2. Currency. Everyone knows that Andrew Jackson is on the $20. But who's on the million? Ronald Reagan, that's who. Point for California. (3-0)
3. Hustle & Flow. The Oscar for Best Song was a big win for Tennessee, especially. However, critics and audiences alike underestimated how much the film was inspired by director Craig Brewer's time in Pleasant Hill, CA. That scene where the girl seduces the electronics store employee in order to get a fancy microphone? I've seen worse from high school girls trying to buy beer at World Gas. (3-1)
4. The Civil War. It's true in organized labor, and it's true in history: America works best when we say Union Yes. (Cali up 4-1)
5. Rap music. "Going back to Cali", by a guy not even from California, is better than any rap song produced by a Tennessee artist. "Tennessee" by Arrested Development is a classic, but seems to be overlooked or overshadowed these days by other early-90's hip-hop acts, or their frontman's own self-importance. Speech, "Zingalamaduni" was terrible name! And it's not like the first album had such an awesome, catchy name that you could coast. Come on now! (5-1)
6. Geography. The state of Tennessee is geographically and constitutionally divided into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. Constitutionally divided, mind you. California is informally divided into four regions as well:
b. Bay Area
c. San Diego
While those divisions probably should be constitutional, and the greater Fresno area should be cordoned off, California has not done it yet, so Tennessee wins this round. (5-2)
7. Mascots. Cal has Oski, beloved bear, and one of the NCAA's first openly-gay mascots. Tennessee is the Volunteers, but their mascot is some kind of brown dog. I asked a fan next to me about it: "You're the Volunteers, so what's that down there on the field?" She told me, "That's a hound dog!" (6-2)
8. Fight songs. Someone complained that the UT band played the fight song, "Rocky Top", too much during last year's game. I didn't notice, but then again, I have attended at least ten Cal-USC games over the years. anything short of playing the fight song after every single first down, touchdown, defensive stop, and homoerotic pushup performed my male yell leaders, as the Trojans do with "Fight On". "Rocky Top" is a nice song, so I'm calling this one a push. (6-2-1)
9. Squirrels. Cal's squirrels are on top of the prestigious Campus Squirrel Listings. Tennessee's squirrels are mostly found inside pots, being cooked and eaten by rednecks. Point for Cali. (7-2-1)
10. Reception of Harsh Taunts.
UT wins, because that one stings, even if it's known as the Capital One Bowl now. So that's 7-3-1, and it looks like, scientifically, California is the superior state, and we didn't even get into California's advantages in weather, diversity, and the effects of places called Alamo on their state heroes.