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2015 Big Game Cal Bears at Stanford Cardinal: Brennan Scarlett facing a familiar foe

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Brennan Scarlett faces his former teammates as the Cal Bears come to The Farm to take on the Stanford Cardinal in the 2015 Big Game.

William Mancebo/Getty Images

Let's state an obvious fact: Stanford and the California Golden Bears have one of the most heated, or hated, rivalries in all of college athletics.

For that pure reason, when one of Stanford's rivals "Golden Son's" decides to jump ship and head south to The Farm was HUGE news.

Defensive Lineman Brennan Scarlett sent shockwaves throughout the rivalry when he decided to part ways with Cal and is the first player since George Quist in 1946 to head to Stanford to continue his playing days and enroll in graduate school at Stanford.

Brennan Scarlett played 4 years at Cal and was highly regarded on and off the playing field. Scarlett took full advantage of his time in Berkeley and graduated from Cal this past June with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. During his time in Berkeley, Scarlett racked up 54 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 3 seasons.

Brennan just had one issue; he just could not stay healthy for a full season. Scarlett's time was lost to several injuries including an ACL tear last year, and he has never been on the field during a Big Game.

This weekend, Scarlett will be playing in The Big Game for the first time - as a member of the Stanford Cardinal and he could not be any happier.

Scarlett is enjoying his best season as a collegiate athlete, and last week posted his best game as a member of the Cardinal in the heartbreaking defeat to Oregon with a 5 tackle, 2.5-sack performance.

Scarlett his been able to remain healthy for the most part this season, and has been leaned upon to be a huge contributor for the Stanford defense as the Cardinal lost starting Defensive Lineman Harrison Phillips to a knee injury to start out the season.

The nation has been able to witness the talent of Scarlett, as his stock in the upcoming NFL draft his risen steadily in the past few weeks with his speed and tenacity on full display.

Many have wondered why Scarlett would leave Strawberry Canyon for the green pastures of Stanford, and his answer is two-fold: scholastic pursuits and the opportunity to play with his brother.

Scarlett knows that his window of opportunity as a professional athlete is minimal, and will need to rely upon his education to further his business pursuits. Scarlett is pursuing a graduate degree in Management Science and Engineering, and will be graduating with that designation in June of 2016.

Brennan also could not pass up on the opportunity to play a season with his brother Cameron who is redshirting this season. Head Coach David Shaw has joked that the brothers have gone at it a few times in practice, but their competition has elevated each others game.

To say that this week will be a bag of mixed emotions for Brennan is an understatement. Scarlett is the first to say that he still has strong ties to the Cal Bears and their program, but his focus is in winning the Big Game and keeping the "Axe" at Stanford. Scarlett commented recently that the "Axe" is here at Stanford, and he wants to "earn" it this year as a member of the Cardinal.

Scarlett acknowledged that he is going to get some good-natured ribbing from his former teammates, and is looking forward to it. He is looking forward to competing and going up against heralded Cal QB Jared Goff, and especially making an impact in his biggest rivalry game in his collegiate career.

One thing is for certain; Brennan Scarlett is a role model for all young athletes. Scarlett came to school, got his degree, and has a distinct plan for the rest of his life. He is a good natured, humble, down-to-Earth kid that you cannot help but to root for him.

If you are a Stanford or Cal fan, you cannot help but the cheer for Scarlett; one of the true good guys in collegiate athletics.