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‘Rags to Roses’ excerpt: Leadup to Oregon 2012

One thing was clear: The road to the Pac-12 Championship went through Oregon.

No team understood that fact better than Stanford. For two consecutive seasons, the Ducks had denied the Cardinal the conference title and a national championship bid; Andrew Luck ‘12, who only beat the Ducks once in his three-year playing career, had even admitted that Stanford was suffering from an “Oregon problem.” With Luck gone, the Cardinal arrived at Autzen as a 21-point underdog.

‘Rags to Roses’ excerpt: ‘Celebrating with football’

First, Harbaugh told them, they were going to “celebrate Christmas and Jesus Christ by celebrating with football.” To ensure players could get home early enough to enjoy Christmas Eve, Harbaugh had practice start
very early in the morning. Harbaugh promised it would be a short practice: The first team would only have around 20 plays.

“So 46 plays later for the ones,” McGillicuddy remembers, “tensions are getting a little high…People started getting a little chippy.”