UCSB Athletics has a bit of a tradition when it comes to dominating the Big West. The Gauchos have won all but two Commissioner’s Cups (given to the highest performing school across all sports) this millennium, and this year the teams are looking better than ever.
With that success has come various rivalries over the years, from an Irvine curse in men’s basketball to some Riverside bad blood on the women’s side of the court. Northridge has always given the men’s soccer team fits, and Long Beach State has put the pressure on the women’s footie squad lately. But the one team that has consistently provided big matches across the board — bringing the fans out no matter the time or place — is Cal Poly. With this in mind, the UCSB and Cal Poly Athletic Depts. have announced the introduction of the Blue-Green Rivalry, making the passion and excitement the schools share official.
“It just seemed like a natural decision,” UCSB Associate Communications Director Matt Hurst, who contributed to the arrangement, said. “At least over the past decade, maybe even longer, all sports have battled and have had really good competition.”
The format of the rivalry is fairly simple. For every head-to-head matchup between team sports, the winning school is awarded one point (except baseball and softball, where the series winner will pick up two points). In individual sports like tennis, golf and track, the teams’ respective positions in the Big West Championships will determine who takes the point. At the end of the year, the school with the most points will be declared the winner and will pick up a trophy. As for what the trophy will be? That has yet to be decided.
“There are some ideas being bandied around about something to keep,” Hurst said. “It’s kind of a symbolic thing.”
Hurst also encouraged students to let the Athletic Dept. know if they have any suggestions for a trophy.
“[Students] could always write in to us. We have a few ideas, but we might have overlooked some things. ”
The focus of the rivalry, however, will be not on the trophy but on the message behind it: sustainability.
“The Central Coast in general, and Santa Barbara in particular, is where for the modern environmental movement began in the late 1960s,” UCSB Director of Athletics Mark Massari said. “This series gives our two schools an opportunity to do our part by bringing awareness to the sustainability issues.”
The schools hope to use the rivalry, named Blue-Green both for the schools’ colors and its sustainability message, to promote recycling and eco-friendly initiatives on the two campuses.
With good intent and a strong foundation behind it, this Gaucho-Mustang rivalry just keeps getting better. And you can bet the athletes will live up to the hype all year long.