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.
Tonight, that dream will be either made or broken as No. 8 Stanford (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) hosts No. 16 UCLA (9-3, 6-3) in the Pac-12 Championship Game, with the winner automatically advancing to the prestigious Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
A decade ago, it took three seasons for Stanford to amass ten wins. During those three miserable years, the Cardinal never finished higher than eighth out of the ten teams in the Pac-10. Nineteen losses in conference play. Twenty-three total defeats. Those were the kinds of numbers that defined the program.
Football: With the Pac-12 North Division title in sight, Stanford squares off against UCLA at the Rose Bowl
The silence was deafening in Autzen. Jordan Williamson raced across the field in celebration, moments after his 37-yard field goal snuck inside the left upright. Devon Carrington, the backup safety who somehow chased down Marcus Mariota to save a touchdown in the first quarter, joined the mob that buried Williamson in elation. Stepfan Taylor too was in the chaos. Kevin Hogan, still in his helmet, congratulated his teammates and even almost cracked a smile in his postgame interview on the field.