Over the last two years, NCAA violations have given me a whole lot to write about: how Stanford’s academics-first approach casts doubt on pay-for-play systems for collegiate athletes, how sanctions like those at Ohio State often harm fan bases and entire institutions instead of the perpetrators within the violating athletic department and how USC’s postseason ban made a mockery of the inaugural Pac-12 Title Game.
Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball have combined for 9,252 career rushing yards, the largest total for two starting running backs the history of the Rose Bowl. The previous record, set by Ball and James last year, was a measly 8,069 yards, and this will be just the fourth Rose Bowl in the last 40 years to feature two tailbacks who have combined for at least 7,000 over their careers.
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.
Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson said he “blacked out” as his 37-yard field goal sailed a few feet inside the left upright. Stanford fans will remember every second of it, as the kick gave the No. 13 Cardinal a stunning 17-14 overtime upset over No. 2 Oregon Saturday night from Autzen Stadium.
Stanford vs. Oregon: Cardinal travels to Eugene to take on No. 2 Oregon in battle of Pac-12 heavyweights
With just about everything on the line, three-touchdown underdog No. 13 Stanford (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) hopes to knock off No. 2 Oregon (10-0, 7-0) tomorrow night. As if the game didn’t have enough of a David-Goliath feel to it, the Cardinal will have to pull off the upset in Autzen, where the crowd noise can grow so loud that the pellets on the turf start to shake.
In part two of a two-part series, Miles Bennett-Smith looks at Oregon’s path to a win. Read part one, on how Stanford could win, here…. Continue Reading »