West’s Best Bets – California Dreamin’

The West’s Best Bets hits the road leaving the great Pacific Northwest and heading for California! In the second matchup of the second round we visit a rivalry as old as the state itself. Which is better – NorCal or SoCal? Read on to find out the answer…

After besting Cal in the first round; Stanford, the Harvard of the West takes on the University of California, Los Angeles. One of the nation’s best private universities versus arguably the best public institution in the country, this is going to a great matchup.

Located approximately halfway between San Francisco and San Jose lies the city of Palo Alto and the home of Stanford University. The 8,180-acre campus is located about five miles west of the famed San Francisco Bay and 25 miles east of the Pacific Ocean.

Stanford University was found by railroad magnate, U.S. Senator and former California Governor Leland Stanford and his wife Jane in 1891 to honor their only son, Leland Jr. who passed away prior to his 16th birthday. They declared that the chldren of California to be their own and donated their country estate “Palo Alto Stock Farm” as the site of the university.

Stanford asked then president of Harvard, Charles Eliot in 1885 how to replicate Harvard on the west coast and the two moved forward with the plans opening the campus to students in 1891. The school offered free tuition up until the 1930’s.

Stanford has finally grown in to the vision that the founders had in mind producing over 50 faculty, staff and alumni that have won Nobel Prizes and is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and one of the leading producers of the United States Congress.

Let’s revisit their rankings:


Athletics Teams

  • Football – Two National Championships, Bowl Record of 10-12-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-6-1 and 12 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eight, two Final Fours and one National Championship in 1942 as well as two pre-tournament championships. They have fifteen regular season Championships and five Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 30 Tournament appearances including 27 out of 30 years while going to the College World Series 16 times and winning back-to-back championships in 1987-1988.
  • 61 total Men’s National Championships including Tennis (18), Water Polo (11), Golf (8), Swimming & Diving (8), Gymnastics (5), Outdoor Track & Field (4), Cross Country (4) and Volleyball (2).
  • 42 total Women’s National Championships including Tennis (17), Swimming & Diving (9), Volleyball (6), Cross Country (5), Synchronized Swimming (6), Water Polo (3), Basketball (2), Rowing (1) and Soccer (1).
  • 116 total National Championships and 448 individual sport champions.
  • Winner of the NACDA Directors’ Cup for the past 17 years straight, the award has only been given out for 18 years.

Absolute dominanceand I didn’t even mention Tiger Woods – for this I award Stanford University 29 out of a possible 30 points.



Women with big brains turn me on…as long as they are wearing skimpy outfits that show off their “assets.” Unfortunately, too many women had their noses buried in books and were always bundled up. The night life/party scene seemed to bring out some beauties, but I doubt they were Stanford students. I have always had a thing for Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Connelly though. – 20 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Much like Berkeley, Palo Alto has its fair share of good college bars and pubs but it seems to be overrun with wine bars, like it was still stuck in the 90’s. There is a Gordon Biersch and a local brewpub called the Firehouse Grill & Brewery, but you really need to leave Palo Alto to find some real night life.  – 15 out of 20 possible points.


The coldest winter I have ever spent is the summer in San Francisco is a famous saying from Mark Twain an it pretty much rings true 35 miles south east in Palo Alto, but at least it gets into the 80’s there…or so I am told. The winters are a little cooler than Berkeley, but once again, no snow…just a bunch of rain– 8 out of 15 possible points.


Is there anything about Stanford’s academics that you don’t know? In a head to head battle of academia, the Ivy League of the West is head and shoulders above the rest. Stanford is a virtual breeding ground for billionaires, the millionaires settle for Berkeley. Google, PayPal, Netflix, LinkedIn, Victoria’s Secret, Pandora, Electronic Arts, Cisco Systems, Trader Joe’s, Dolby Labs, Charles Schwab, Capital One, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo! And Sun Microsystems were all were founded with Stanford degrees. If you are looking to get ahead and you are smart enough, get your ass to Stanford   – 10 out of 10 possible points.



A short five-and-a-half hour drive south we find the University of California, Los Angeles, or UCLA in the city of Westwood.The city borders some of the most affluent towns in the state if not the country. WIth Brentwood, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills(site of the Playboy Mansion) and Beverly Hills close by, the sprawling campus that was originally called the UC “southern branch” is gorgeous. The name University of California at Los Angeles became the official name in 1927. The campus is a short six-mile trip to Santa Monica and the iconic pier and beach park. It is no wonder that UCLA is the most applied-to university as well as being the most selective public university in the nation. Over 72,000 freshman applications were received for the fall of 2012 with only 17.8% were accepted.

This has marked the 14th year that UCLA has been the most applied-to public university and has been one of he most selective public universities in the country along with UC-Berkeley and The University of Virginia.

The University ranks 10th by the American Ranking of World Universities and was ranked 12th by Newsweek Magazine. The Washington Monthly ranks UCLA third nationally based on research, community service and social mobility. The Princeton Review listed it as the only public institution on the “Dream School” edition selected by students and parents. Lastly, it ranks ninth nationally and tied for second among public schools for most billionaires produced.

This is going to be close, so let’s revisit the rankings for UCLA:


Athletics Teams

  • Football – Bowl Record of 15-16-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-7, one National Championship (shared) and 17 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 44 tournament appearances, 18 Final Fours with 13 National Title Game appearances and 11 National Championships including a streak of seven straight. They also have 40 regular season Championships and three Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 18 Tournament appearances and four College World Series appearances.  They have won eight regular season Conference Championships including the past two.
  • Softball – 11 National Championships and seven time runners-up.
  • 108 Total National Championships
  • Other men’s teams National Championships (60) – Volleyball (19), Tennis (16), Track & Field (8) Water Polo (8), Soccer (4), Gymnastics (2), Golf (2), Swimming & Diving (1).
  • Other women’s teams National Championships (26) – Water Polo (7), Gymnastics (6), Track & Field (5), Volleyball (4), Golf (3), Tennis (1).

The University of California, Los Angeles has a tradition of winning. The basketball streak of seven straight National Championships is a record that will never be broken, not to mention the litany of other records including an 88-game regular season winning streak, a 38 game NCAA Tournament winning streak and four perfect, undefeated seasons. Add to that their football team notched eight consecutive Bowl game victories; including three Rose Bowls and the sheer dominance of their Men’s Volleyball and Softball teams, I award UCLA 28 out of a possible 30 points.


With such close proximity to the beach, Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, it’s no surprise that the women at UCLA are hot. I was thoroughly impressed with the current student body as well as three of my childhood crushes in Winnie Cooper, Jessie Spano, Princess Vespa from Spaceballs and Blossom, well, maybe not Blosssom. I spend most every day with a UCLA alum – the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis. Another notable UCLA hottie is Bridget Marquardt from the Girls Next Door and you know what they say “If she’s good enough for Hef, that’s good enough for me.”   – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

It seems like there is always a party going on with all levels of beautiful people and celebrities galore within a couple miles of campus. So, if you are looking to see and be seen, LA-LA Land is right up there with the best scenes in the country. However, if you are looking for your neighborhood sports bar or college bar head to nearby Barney’s Beanery or O’Hara’s (the old Maloney’s), you will not be disappointed – 17 out of 20 possible points.


Beautiful beach weather with a wide range of temperature changes are the norm in the city of Westwood and nearby Los Angeles.  Sunny and warm weather keep the co-eds in shorts and sundresses for most of the year and the beach at night is a crisp and cool alternative – 13 out of 15 possible points.


As previously stated, UCLA is the most selective of all public universities in the nation and for good reason. Ranked as the #24 University in the country by U.S. News & World Report, #9 on the list of top research universities and #13 by the London Times for International Universities, UCLA is definitely a top tier school. Their roll call of alumni, students & faculty includes 12 Nobel Laureates, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 12 MacArthur Fellows and 3 Pulitzer Prize Winners – 8 out of 10 possible points.


It looks as though the public school beats out the private school – take that Muffy! The academics and athletics are better at Stanford, but the lifestyle of the typical UCLA student seems to be just a little bit better. Whether it is because it is on the beach or because the weather is nicer. You can’t deny that both schools are wonderful, but it seems that UCLA is just a little bit better and they have Giada.

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