Although many college football programs have recently incurred heavy financial losses due to bowl game participation, the Stanford athletics department has seen both an increase in season-ticket renewals and national profile in the aftermath of the 2013 Rose Bowl.
It’s been a while since the Cardinal has come out on top in the Granddaddy of Them All—41 years to be exact. Tomorrow on New Year’s Day, No. 6 Stanford (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12) finally has the chance to end that drought as it squares off against Wisconsin (8-5, 4-4 Big Ten) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason and five Cardinal defenders held sessions with the media on Thursday before the team began practices for Tuesday’s Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.
As I sit in the Portland airport starting my trip home for Thanksgiving break, I feel something eerily familiar, yet so different. A little over 10 months ago, I had to watch Jordan Williamson sit devastated in the Phoenix airport, fewer than 24 hours after Oklahoma State stunned Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. I will never forget the feeling of complete emptiness in my stomach having to see a friend and classmate in such deep, and crushingly public, emotional agony.
When David Shaw was promoted to head coach of Stanford football almost two years ago, there wasn’t much to say about him. Jim Harbaugh had such a dominating presence during his tenure as head coach that once he departed for the San Francisco 49ers, it felt like Stanford was left with a gaping hole. It left a big question: Who is this Shaw guy and how good of a coach is he really?
Stanford now has 10 sons of former NFL players on its roster, accounting for a combined 927 games of pro football experience. Both are highest in the Pac-12.