“Well, it’s called the Stanford Axe for a reason,” said offensive coordinator Tavita Pritchard. A quarterback during his time at Stanford, Pritchard continued, “It belongs here, so we’re going to do everything in our power to keep it here where it belongs.”
It’s been a disappointing season for Stanford football. Last week’s 48-17 win over Oregon State makes it look a little better, but the Cardinal are still just 6-4 on the year, with a 4-3 record in Pac-12 play. Those four regular season losses are the most since 2014, and with three games left to play, it could easily become the worst season for Stanford since 2008 in Jim Harbaugh’s second year. The Cardinal came into the season with high expectations which their 4-0 start only elevated, but since then, they have not managed to live up to those expectations.
Stanford football enters the Big Game this year with the same record as the Cal Golden Bears for the first time in what seems like forever. The playing field is level, and everything is on the line. The Cardinal have an eight game winning streak in progress, and look to make it nine. Cal has a strong defensive identity and a bowl game for the first time since 2015. Two teams enter, one team leaves. The Daily’s King Jemison, Andrew Tan, and Gregory Block share their thoughts on the aerial strength of the Stanford offense, the Big Game finale for Bryce Love, the meager Cal offensive attack, and how everything (and I mean everything)could go wrong.
Only one team has a worse record in the Pac-12 North than Cal – Oregon State. If that doesn’t give you any indication of the quality of Cal’s football team, I really don’t know what will.
Stanford 20, Cal 23
I want Stanford to win as much as the next person, but unfortunately, I already know exactly how this game is going to play out. Step one: Stanford comes out of the tunnel and plays abysmal offense with their flawed offensive line, as they try to run Bryce Love 20 times before the half. They pick up three first downs and are shut out in the first half. Step two: Our lack of a pass rush makes Chase Garbers look like Aaron Rodgers; he carves us up to the tune of two touchdowns and three field goals. Step three: Trailing 0-23 at the half, KJ Costello will emerge from the tunnel like the second coming of Andrew Luck and lead the most immaculate comeback attempt in Big Game history. It will be breathtaking. Step four: Lance Anderson’s halftime wizardry solves all of the defense’s problems and they shut out Cal in the second half. Step five: The comeback falls just short for any number of reasons. Unfortunately, this has been the script of every Stanford performance, and we already used up our miracle in Oregon.
In honor of the Big Game this week, we decided to compare the best players in the NFL from Stanford and Cal by position – a spinoff of our weekly ‘Stanford in the NFL’ article.
Here’s how it stacked up:
Stanford has won their previous eight Big Games against Cal. With a win on Saturday, the Cardinal seniors have a chance to finish their collegiate careers undefeated against the Golden Bears.
Though the Stanford football team’s season largely over, the NFL season is still in full swing, and there are quite a few phenomenal former Cardinal players making their marks on a weekly basis in the pros.