Clardy's Corner: Our moment

For Stanford Football, this Saturday will become the Saturday by which all future Saturdays are judged. It doesn't matter who you are: an old alum, a casual Stanford supporter or a current student. It doesn't matter where you'll be, whether you are on The Farm to witness it all in person, or if you're miles away wishing you could be there. You will remember this Saturday for the rest of your life.

If you have been a Cardinalmaniac from day one, or if you fell in love with The Farm at first sight…

If you never believed that a school like Stanford could become a serious national title contender in football…

If you still can't believe the Cardinal's thrilling win over Oregon two years ago…

If you still can't believe the Cardinal's wild comeback win at Autzen Stadium ten years ago…

If you still can't believe the Cardinal's program-changing win at Autzen Stadium 16 years ago…

If you suited up for Stanford and spent your days sweating, bleeding, and puking for the program…

If you go back to the days of Bobby Garrett, saw Jim Plunkett and the Thunderchickens, or were there to watch John Elway play Superman in cleats every week…

If you're young enough to consider Steve Stenstrom part of Stanford Football's ancient history…

If you were there to watch Stanford take the field at the Rose Bowl…

If you don't like admitting the days you were there to watch as Cardinal football circled the toilet bowl…

If you were there for the days when Maples Pavilion was the center of the college basketball universe, and hoped beyond hope that someday Stanford Stadium would have its day in the sun…

If you missed watching the Greatest Upset Ever because you made other plans, thinking there was no way the Card could beat U$C, then kicked yourself after you heard what happened later…

If, five years ago, you turned in your tickets and vowed never to waste your time following this team ever again…

If you are a current Stanford student who is helping your classmates rock the stadium as it has never been rocked before…

If you know for a fact that Garner's knee was down…

If you still miss Prince Lightfoot…

If names like Tuan Van Le and Jon Eide bring back memories…

If a name like Marques Tuiasosopo still stirs up nightmares…

If some of your Stanford tailgate mates or season-ticket neighbors have become lifelong friends…

If you were one of the kids who unfurled the "WE BELIEVE IN STANFORD FOOTBALL" banner at the 2007 season opener…

If you feel cheated because you never got to experience a Big Game bonfire…

If "All Right Now" puts you in a happy place every time you hear it…

If anything by the U$C band gives you the dry heaves…

If "Bookman up the middle" makes you throw up your hands in despair…

If you wanted Waldvogel…

If you're the All-Everything quarterback who still has his doubters…

If you're Shayne Skov or Chris Owusu, and can only watch and offer encouragement from the sidelines while your teammates play for you…

If you are getting on a plane and coming back to The Farm this weekend…

If you can only watch it all unfold from afar…

If you are still pinching yourself that Stanford Football has come so far and achieved so much in a few short years…

If you believe that there is no better time and place on Earth than game day inside the Eucalyptus Curtain…

…then this Saturday is for you.

The game and the scenario we've all hoped for and dreamed of is finally here. This Saturday, all eyes will be on The Farm. Finally. The day will begin with a nation watching ESPN College GameDay coming from The Oval, and it will end with a nation watching Stanford take on Oregon in the college football season's second-most anticipated matchup. Obviously the stakes are high on the field: the winner of this game all but punches its ticket to the conference title game and remains one of the teams that may end up booking plane rides to New Orleans for the second week in January. The loser will likely end up with a nice season, but a season intertwined with disappointment too.

This is Stanford Football's moment. This is our moment. As players, as fans, as followers, as students, as alums, as a university community. All of us share in this.

Relish this moment. There is no guarantee that it will return ever again. And if it does return, it will certainly never be like this again.

Our players, our coaches, our fans, our campus…all of us will be in the spotlight on Saturday. So tailgate like you never have before (but do enjoy responsibly, please). Cheer at the stadium like you never have before. Then go out and win the postgame parties.

For Stanford Football, this Saturday will become the Saturday by which all future Saturdays will be judged. It doesn't matter who you are: an old alum, a casual Stanford supporter or a current student. It doesn't matter where you'll be, whether you are on The Farm to witness it all in person, or if you're miles away wishing you could be there. You will remember this Saturday for the rest of your life.

I called last year's meeting with Oregon the biggest regular season game for Stanford in 40 years. Not only is this year's duel with the Ducks Stanford's biggest regular season game ever, I think it may be Stanford's biggest game of all time. It may not be the Game of The Century. But it most certainly is the Game of Our Century.

Our moment is here. Let's seize it. On and off the field.

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RANDOM PAC-11 THOUGHTS

Inauspicious start to that Stanford-Oregon State game, as Coby Fleener dropped a deep ball at goal line, and the officials missed a safety on the Beavers' first play from scrimmage. Right from the start, you knew this wouldn't be a cake walk…

Watching Jordan Poyer's collision with Chris Owusu live and at regular speed, I didn't think it was a dirty hit. As ABC kept showing replay upon super slow-mo replay, I still didn't think it was a dirty hit. Although there appeared to be helmet-to-helmet contact, there was no malicious intent there. When it comes to deciding what a dirty hit is, I don't think you can judge it by what seems so painfully obvious in super slow motion. It's obviously unfortunate for Owusu, whose career seems in doubt now, but it's also unfortunate for Poyer, who was just doing his job as a defensive player…

That said, T.J. McDonald's hit on Chris Owusu was as dirty as they come…

Really, Arizona State? You let UCLA convert on 3rd & 29 with the game on the line? Unbelievable…

I'm not a big fan of San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, but I have to admit: that was a brilliant picks segment with Fowler, Herbstreit, and Corso…

Not a Pac-11 thought, but… it will take years for the Penn State program to recover from this. Years. A decade, perhaps. There is a pall over the Keystone State right now, and it emanates from the recent developments that have come to light from State College. What a despicable, disgusting, and reprehensible story coming from that town. What an awful way to try to handle a crisis. And what a way for Joe Paterno's career to end…

Not a Pac-11 thought, but… was I being a bad college football fan last week because I wasn't believing the "Game of the Century" hype surrounding LSU-Alabama? Am I being a bad college football fan because I didn't find that game entertaining or compelling? If I wanted to watch low-scoring games decided by kickers, I would watch soccer. And I hate watching soccer…

Not a Pac-11 thought, but… to those of you who are complaining that Alabama is still higher than Stanford in the BCS standings this week despite losing to LSU, ask yourself this simple question: do you really think that the Cardinal would beat the Crimson Tide on a neutral site right now? I don't. And quite honestly, if I had a ballot, LSU would be my number one, and Alabama would still be my number two…

Not a Pac-11 thought, but… what's crazier: the San Francisco 49ers as the current No. 2 seed in the NFC? Or the Cincinnati Bengals as the current No. 1 seed in the AFC?

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CLARDY'S CORNER INBOX

You knew I'd be hearing from Duck fan Scott in Phoenix this week…although not for the reason you might think…

"With the upcoming tilt between Oregon and Stanford and the hit Chris Owusu took in the Oregon State game this last week, I am once again reminded of his scary hit in last year's Stanford versus Oregon matchup as well as his concussion earlier this year. I wanted to get your opinion. Is he targeted, snake-bit or left in vulnerable positions? I understand football is a violent game and hits like this happen, but three in two seasons does stand out and I am trying to wrap my head around it."

There's also the hit he took in the Washington State game, which probably started Owusu on this season's slippery concussion slope.

If I had to choose between your three options, I'd go with "left in vulnerable positions", but only because the very nature of playing receiver inherently puts him in vulnerable spots. I was stunned to see him even out there playing against Oregon State, and watching his body lock up on impact from Jordan Poyer absolutely frightened me.

I don't know where Chris Owusu's football career goes from here. But whether Owusu plays another down or not, I hope the correct decisions for his future are made from here on out.

By the way, if not for that huge play in last year's Oregon game, I think Stanford wins. I will always believe that.

Got a thought on this Corner? Drop me a line either at my Scout.com inbox (username: troyc)... or e-mail me at troyc@thebootleg.com...

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PAC-11 PICKS

The good news? I nailed U$C-Colorado, from calling Matt Barkley's record-setting night to predicting a 25-point margin of victory for the Trojans. The bad news? Everything else…

Arizona @ Colorado The Buffs have to beat someone in the conference, right? Right? Not until they find a defense. I like Arizona by 14.

Washington @ U$C I'd love to pick Washington here, but I wish I had more faith in the Husky defense. It's probably because I still remember Stanford running backs skipping through them like Homer Simpson skipping through the Land of Chocolate. I like U$C by 12.

UCLA @ Utah. Give the Bruins credit…they're gaining momentum. Kevin Price is playing much better, and the running game is leading the way for UCLA. So why do I not like their chances against Utah's defense on the road? I like Utah by seven.

Oregon State @ cal. I've learned my lesson: unless their opponent is clearly the better team coming in, do not picks against the Bears when they're at home. I like cal by 13. Of course, this means the Beavers will win easily.

Arizona State @ Washington State. A night game at the Palouse? And the Sun Devils are coming off a tough loss? Hmmmm. I smell an ambush. But because ASU can run the ball, I'm still going to play it safe. I like Arizona State by nine.

Last week: 2-3 (straight-up), 2-3 (ATS).
This year: 19-11 (straight-up), 20-10 (ATS).
Last year: 23-13 (straight-up), 16-20 (ATS).

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Troy Clardy is in his 19th year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. In its 10th season of Cardinal commentary, Clardy's Corner appears Wednesdays during the college football regular season on TheBootleg.com. You can also check him out online at TroyClardy.com, or e-mail him at troyc@thebootleg.com.


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