Whether BYU and Cal are playing in the Varsity Cup, a USARFU competition, or a parking lot, it has become the most anticipated contest in American rugby.
To earn distinction, sporting events require competitors who push one another to new heights, beyond those which we have known, and also a familiar context, so we can appreciate the stakes of what we are watching.
Three times in the past seven years -- 2006, 2009, and 2011 -- the Bears and Cougars have produced championship matches of technical excellence and genuinely mainstream appeal. No other rivalry can make such a claim.
Those who contend the 2013 contest is not a 'true' national championship have a point, but it is academic.
It is the consensus championship because most rugby people would acknowledge the pair of unbeatens as the teams to beat. Neither is college football's crown fair and exhaustive; but it too is definitive.
Like all good rivalries, BYU-Cal has built up a history which transcends the players. Tomorrow marks the Bears' first visit to Provo in 30 years. The Cougars have never lost a collegiate match at (renovated) South Field.
Of the 30 starters who lined up in the Cal's 21-14 win at Rio Tinto 2 seasons ago, just 7 appeared in last week's semifinals, which underlines traditions of enduring quality. A remarkable six players in the 2006 final were subsequently US national teamers (Cal: Chris Biller, Eric Fry, Louis Stanfill; BYU: Jeff Hulliger, Salesi Sika, Alipate Tuilevuka).
Two of the current elite are BYU number eight and 7s Eagle Ryan Roundy, and Cal center and national team pool player Seamus Kelly. The interesting matchup may be in the halfbacks, where both teams field underclassmen, and Cal has not been settled. And who will be this year's unlikely hero?