Friday, November 08, 2013

Stanford toughness

OK, now there's a blog post title that I never thought I'd write.

With their second consecutive drubbing of Oregon in the books (although the Ducks, to their credit, made it interesting at the end), there can be no doubting that the Stanford Cardinal are officially the best college football team in the west, and perhaps the toughest team in the country.  And remember, it was not so long ago that the Cal Bears had beaten them in The Big Game for the 7th time in 8 years.  Ah, the good old days.

If you were a fan of Stanford, you could not have scripted last night's game any better.  How does one beat Oregon?  Keep the ball out of their hands.  OK, how does about 42 minutes of possession time sound?  Sounds like you're going to win the game.  And I know that Marcus Mariotta (looks like that Heisman may have to wait another season) was not up to par last night, but given the way the Stanford defense played, it might not have made any difference.

So now the sports world is left to ponder exactly how Stanford lost to Utah a month ago, the only blemish on their record, and one that is likely to keep them out of the BCS Championship game.  They've got three games left, against a somewhat rejuvenated USC squad, a disastrous Cal team (but hey - I was there when the 1-9 Bears beat the 8-2 Cards back in 1986, so anything could happen), and then a Notre Dame team that seems to play better on the road than it does at home.  Will running the table be enough?  Not likely, especially when you consider that among the remaining undefeated teams, Alabama is probably the most likely to lose.

But a once-beaten Stanford squad against an undefeated Ohio State team in the Rose Bowl?  It would be like 1971 and 1972 all over again.  I'd certainly be watching.

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