Cal Football: Or Should I Say Cal State Football -- the Redbox Name Snafu

Jake Curtis

We’re a day late on this piece of delicious news, but we’re not a dollar short – like the Redbox probably is after this mistake.

Take a look at the above photo of the initial design for the Redbox Bowl T-shirt. Note the opponent for Illinois. It is a school known as “Cal State.”

Uh, er, that is, I mean . . . Oops.

Well, there are 23 colleges with the term Cal State as part of their name. Unfortunately, none of them has an FBS football program and none of them is playing in the Redbox Bowl.

The photo below shows the initial design for Cal Redbox Bowl apparel. Again Cal State. Yikes. 

cal state 2

The school is sometimes known as Cal or California or UC Berkeley or the University of California at Berkeley or just Berkeley or even the Free Speech University. 

Cal State? Never.

And Cal is not some faraway East Coast school that might cause confusion in Santa Clara. Levi's Stadium and the Cal campus are both in the Bay Area, about 45 miles apart. You take the 880 Freeway South and . . .  well, it's a short commute.

Does this rate as a simple forgettable error or does it rise to the impeachable offense of High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

In either case it is fodder for some clever responses.

John Lemein, the Director Brand Creative & Digital Services for Cal athletics, had this tweet:

“UPDATE: we officially rejected this design. It was released without our approval. The University of California, Berkeley Athletics Department either goes by Cal or California, period. Despite this mishap, we look forward to taking on the Redbirds on Alcatraz later this month.”

For those who don’t get the joke about the Redbirds, be advised that Illinois State’s nickname is the Redbirds.

And the reference to Alcatraz refers to another aspect of the design. You will notice images of Coit Tower, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, among other San Francisco landmarks.

And yes this bowl was held in San Francisco . . . FOUR YEARS AGO.

Cal History noted those issues in its Tweet:

Maybe the frequent renaming of the bowl itself led to confusion.

It was first called the San Francisco Bowl in 2002 when it was played at AT&T Park (which also has a different name now). In 2004 the game was renamed the Emerald Bowl, then it was the Fight Hunger Bowl in the 2010 season before becoming the San Francisco Bowl again for just three months in 2014. Then it was named the Foster Farms Bowl in late 2014.

In 2016, the game was moved to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, which, as Cal students and alums may know, is about 36 miles from San Francisco.

It became the Redbox Bowl in 2018.

California Golden Blogs latched onto this as it poked fun at the Redbox Bowl’s Cal State error by calling it by several different names in its story.

It was referred to as Redblox, Redbux, Readbox, Realbox, Rebbox, Rodbox, Riblix, and Reddbox at various times in the story. And we may have missed some.

Cal fans gave their two cents at a number of places, including this Tweet:

The original design would be a keepsake if anyone had managed to get it. If you look at the website for Redbox merchandise as of Wedneday morning, you will see apparel available for Illinois clothing. Nothing for Cal. Hmmmm.

Finally Cal linebacker Evan Weaver, the Pac-12 defensive player of the year,  provided the concluding statement in a Tweet.

Comments (6)
No. 1-5

RE "there are 23 colleges with the term Cal State as part of their name. Unfortunately, none of them has an FBS football program"... California State University, Fresno would like a word...


At least they didn’t call us Tech! Go State!

707 Bear
707 Bear

I feel this will be the biggest pre-game story of this bowl. Played at 1 PM on a Monday. Only bowl activity a one hour band thing the day before in SF just before big 49er/Seahawk game. And this is considered the 4th bowl for the Pac 12?


Shocking ineptitude. You'd think even the lowest layer of Creative Marketing might do a google search before firing up the silkscreen machine. And while we're at it, can we also call out the absurdly ugly, non-designed, clip art car wreck of a tee shirt logo here! That's not design, that's the marketing directors 7 year old son hopped up on Ritalin given the task of gathering every obvious postcard icon known to Man, about the City that is NOT hosting the bowl game. Idiots of mediocrity. High Crimes and Felonies more like it, Jake.

Jeff Faraudo
Jeff Faraudo


I'm hearing that Evan Weaver has promised to tackle anyone at Wrangler Stadium who's wearing an Illy-noise jersey.