No one can be sure where Cambridge got its name but we can be sure that the University town in Cambridge is a spin from Oxford. Apparently (from Lonely Planet), after a strife with the townfolks, some Oxford scholars decided to flee 'while their heads were intact' and set up a scholar base in Cambridge, which was then at best a sleepy outpost.
What made it worked was that River Cam snakes through the peripheral of the area. A medieval person will see a sprawling market dotted with colleges. Now we see a sprawling university colleges dotted with markets and shops.
Cambridge scholars always refer to Oxford as 'the other place' and we can expect the show of disdain to be mutual. However, to an outsider (me of course), I would say that in terms of scenary and overall impression, Cambridge wins hands down. Perhaps it's the ban of vehicles in central Cambridge or the wide (comparatively) River Cams that tips the balance. If you have only time to visit one University, make Cambridge your choice.
Punting is of course a favorite past time in Cambridge (and Oxford). The act of being pushed (literally) along a river by a pole that's easily twice the height of an adult is rather... novel. That's only possible due to the shallow waters. If you aren't confident of doing it yourself, you can always plonk down 40 quids to hire a student to do it for you... it'll be a bonus if the student happens to be a hunk who choose to do it bare chested.... Ladies behave!