So the big men’s soccer showdown with Cal Poly is coming up, and the thought of beating the ponies to a pulp has really gotten me riled. But then, that happens to me with a lot of teams, in a lot of different sports. I guess when it comes to Gaucho athletics, there’s a lot of vitriol to go around.

But anyway, it got me thinking: who is the best team to beat. Which opposing school’s agony gives us Gaucho fans the sweetest satisfaction? I can’t speak for everyone, but I did my best to compile a list of UCSB’s favorite foes. First things first…

#1: Cal Poly. Those smug state-schoolers have a lot of things going for them in the hatability (That’s a word, who says it isn’t?) department. They’re geographically close, and occasionally their obnoxious fans invade the Thunderdome or Harder Stadium. Also, their campus smells like manure. Let’s move on.

#2: UCLA. Damn Bruins. They destroy us in just about every sport, every time we play them. Also, as much as I hate to say it, we’re a school that’s composed of a lot of L.A. rejects. That doesn’t help matters. The two schools may not exactly be rivals, but it sure feels good when we do get that rare victory – especially when it comes in the Men’s Soccer National Championship.

#3: UC Irvine. I’ve expressed my disdain for the Anteaters before, so I’ll keep this one short and simple. UCI is where Gaucho seasons and dreams go to die. If you ever have the chance to bet on a UCSB-Irvine match in any sport where the Gauchos need to win, bet Irvine. The only thing that takes away from the sweetness of beating them is the knowledge that nobody at UCI knows or cares.

#4: UC Davis Seriously, these guys were Division II just a couple of years ago. Now, all of a sudden they’re showing up as a legitimate contender in the Big West in a bunch of different sports? I won’t stand for this. No really, these guys need to be put in their place. At least they’re awful at men’s basketball.

#5: Long Beach State. I guess the main reason for hating Long Beach is facility envy. If you’ve ever been down that way (God forbid you’d have to) and seen their baseball and basketball venues, you’ll know what I mean. They play basketball in a gigantic shiny pyramid. We play in a large corrugated cardboard box. You pick which is more awesome.

#6: UC Riverside. So this one mostly applies to women’s basketball, but I’d say they’ve earned their rank here. The Highlanders are the only team that ever holds a candle to the UCSB women, and the fact that they ever actually win the Big West is really annoying. I mean honestly, it’s freakin’ Riverside. Every time the women’s basketball team crushes their hopes I get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, and then feel like a bad person a little bit afterwards. But mostly it’s the fuzzy thing.

Honorable mention: The other UCs, USC, all East Coast schools and Cal Poly again (because once is not enough).

So it’s a long list. Like I said, there are a lot of teams I’d like for the Gauchos to beat. To be honest, an ideal situation would be if UCSB never lost at anything. Since that’s not a possibility, I’ll have to prioritize.

Daily Nexus Sports Editor John Greely wants to know who you’d most like to beat. Shoot him an email at and let him know.