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 main football rival over the last three seasons, Oregon, admitted to major NCAA violations by its football coaches in a report released Monday night, marking the most definitive move since the Ducks’ controversial dealings with talent evaluator Willie Lyles were exposed in early 2011.
I’m not going to pretend I’m happy that Stanford couldn’t even sell out its 50,000-seater stadium for the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, but there is something deliciously anti-establishment in the fact that, on merit alone, a school that wouldn’t normally get picked for even one BCS bowl is going to be heading to its third in three years.
Football: Cardinal rolls No. 17 UCLA 35-17 to win Pac-12 North, set up rematch in Pac-12 Championship
Stanford took care of business on Saturday night, smothering Johnathan Franklin and the UCLA run game and scoring plenty of points on the way to a 42-24 win over the No. 17 Bruins. With the win, Stanford guaranteed its spot in the Pac-12 Championship, which the No. 8 Cardinal will host against this same UCLA team next Friday night.
Stanford football: Zach Ertz and Daniel Zychlinski named Pac-12 Players of the Week after upsetting No. 1 Oregon
In addition to linebacker Shayne Skov being named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, redshirt junior tight end Zach Ertz was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and fifth-year senior punter Daniel Zychlinski was named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week. In addition, Ertz was named one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award.
On the heels of No. 13 Stanford’s stunning 17-14 upset of No. 2 Oregon in overtime last night, senior inside linebacker Shayne Skov was named the Walter Camp national defensive player of the week.
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.