Gee-Gees won seven straight Panda Bowls
THE UNIVERSITY OF Ottawa’s first year with a football program was back in 1894, a time when the school was known as Ottawa College. This is when Gee-Gees history gets really interesting; there are facts about the team that few know about nowadays, like how it joined Quebec’s football and rugby union and beat out the Ontario union champions.
In its beginnings, the college team had many years of success. It joined the Quebec Rugby Football Union (QRFU) in 1894 and ended its first season in the union with a perfect 4-0 record.
Ottawa College, the champion of the QRFU, was then scheduled to play against Queen’s University, the champion of the Ontario Rugby Football Union in a national championship final. Ottawa defeated Queen’s in an 8–7 win over their provincial competitors to claim the title that year.
The football program stayed alive until 1912 despite changing unions in 1905. During this time, the Gee-Gees won only one more championship title. The program finally closed after the 1912 season for various reasons including World War One and financial restrictions, and remained closed throughout the Great Depression and World War Two.
The university eventually revived its football program in 1955 with an exhibition game against Carleton University—now known as the Panda Bowl. The team did not join any leagues until 1957 when it joined the Ontario Intercollegiate Football Conference.
After losing its first two Panda Bowls games against Carleton, the Gee-Gees went on to defeat the Carleton Ravens seven straight times from 1957–63. The seven victories were followed by a one-point loss to the Ravens in 1964, in a 40–39 game. The combined score of the 1964 game was the highest score ever recorded.