Potential Pac-12 milestones

As the conference season gets in full swing, here's a peak at milestones in reach for the Cardinal and their Pac-12 brethren.

Reaching a milestone can either involve breaking a record or ending a streak of futility. Arizona State and Washington State recently celebrated the latter.

The Sun Devils ended their 12-year winless streak against USC, exorcising the demons of years past (2005, 2007) when Pete Carroll's juggernaut crushed their dreams. The Cougars' nice start (3-1) also guarantees they'll avoid a dubious distinction. They won't become the first conference team to suffer four straight double-digit loss seasons. Forgive the denizens of Pullman, who made New Year's plans for Pasadena not too long ago, for not throwing any parades.

As the conference season gets in full swing, here's a peak at milestones – ones to celebrate and, in the case of Oregon State, definitely avoid – that are in reach for the Cardinal and their Pac-12 brethren:

  • Whatever postseason appearance awaits Stanford, it will be the program's third straight bowl game. Not since the Vow Boys (Rose Bowls from 1933 to 1935) has that happened.

  • In some eyes, Andrew Luck has already surpassed John Elway and Jim Plunkett as the most accomplished quarterback ever at Stanford. He's about to pass Steve Stenstrom in one key category: most wins by a Cardinal starting quarterback. Both have 24 career victories, presumably not for long.

  • Prior to 2008, only four Stanford running backs -- Darrin Nelson, Brad Muster, Jon Volpe and Tommy Vardell -- had rushed for a 1,000 yards in a season. Stepfan Taylor can make it four straight seasons with a Cardinal tailback breaking such a barrier. (To his credit, Nelson did it three different times.)

  • Oregon will arrive at Stanford Stadium next month aiming for a third straight conference championship. That would put Chip Kelly's Ducks in some lofty company. Win a couple conference titles in a row (like Stanford in the early-'70s, UCLA a decade letter), you get some street cred. Win three straight, you truly become the stuff of legends.

  • Safe to say, few outside of Stanford's circles know that the Indians won consecutive Rose Bowl in 1971 and 1972. UCLA enjoyed a nice run under Terry Donahue in the early '80s. But three straight crowns? That's a different story. Some rare air – think USC from 1972-74, or Don James' gang of 1990 to 1992 – sits in Oregon's reach. Just six times since World War II has a team won three straight titles in what's now called the Pac-12.

  • While his team stumbles, Nick Foles does nothing but continue to etch his name in his school's record books. The senior needs to average 237 yards per game over his team's final seven tilts to become Arizona's all-time leading passer. He needs 14 touchdowns passes to break another career mark held by predecessor Willie Tuitama.

  • If Colorado upsets Stanford, it would be the Buffaloes' second victory all-time in California – and its first outside the Rose Bowl. The Buffs' 2002 win at UCLA is the one bright spot on a putrid 1-10-1 record in the Golden State. Road-weary Colorado, who has also dropped 20 straight road games, visits the Bruins on Nov. 19.

  • The record books say Jeff Tedford just surpassed Andy Smith for the most career coaching victories in Cal history. With apologies to Lee Corso, not so fast. Record-breaking victory No. 75 came when the Bears won against… Presbyterian. Until further notice, that deserves an asterisk. Tedford owes it to the legacy of Smith – whose 1920's "Wonder Team" captured multiple national titles and helped establish West Coast college football – to actually beat somebody of notice.

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