It hasn't mattered this year, but if Shaw and his staff keep coaching scared, it's going to cost us a game every season or two moving forward.
History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. So said Mark Twain, and we certainly see it this season as college football starts down its stretch run:
In this year's Heisman race, we have a Stanford candidate who puts up good numbers against Notre Dame in his final home game, and Brent and Kirk are complementary on national television. But will it be enough against the running back who probably isn't the best nationally at his position or most deserving of the award, but does play for Alabama? Meanwhile, a Big 12 player who perhaps is the most deserving is on pace to finish a likely third. Sound familiar?
Oh, and the smallest of things totally out of his control may cost our candidate the Heisman. For Toby Gerhart, it was the holding call against Wake Forest that may have cost us a ninth win. For Luck, maybe it's Shaw settling for 28 against Notre Dame, while we could have broken 40 had we kept pushing.
Meanwhile, a shout-out to USC for displaying the ultimate in class by continuing to bomb away when up by four, five, six touchdowns against UCLA. Matt Barkley got his six touchdowns and maybe a pro forma invite to New York for that Heisman presentation. But, to me, the moment of the night was watching Barkley try, and fail, to keep a straight face when answering the sideline reporter's postgame question of why they kept chucking it downfield with the score "USC too many, UCLA not nearly enough." Barkley's answer: "We were concerned about a UCLA comeback." And then Barkley went, hugged and whispered sweet nothings into the ears of the half-dozen coeds who, best as I can tell, had been escorted to the field for this express purpose. Looks like he has a thing for blondes.
Oh, and remember USC complaining about us running it up in the "what's your deal" game? What was that Twain quote about history rhyming?
Well, now we can settle that argument. A commonly-asked question in this BCS era has been how well a team from a mid-major conference would do in a big-boy conference. Take, for example, Boise State or TCU or, well, Utah.
Last year, the Utes had a gaudy top-10 ranking heading into their mid-season showdown with fellow undefeated TCU and finished with 10 wins. They also won 10 in 2009. In 2008, they went 13-0, capping their perfect season with a 31-17 takedown of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. This year? 7-5, including a 4- 5 mark in the Pac-12 - and the Utes didn't even play Stanford and Oregon this year, avoiding two more likely losses. The Utes managed no more than 14 points in their in-conference losses and lost each game by multiple scores. The one exception came this last week, when the Utes played themselves out of the Pac-12 Championship by losing 17-14 to mighty Colorado. I guess week-in, week-out life in a tough conference does take its toll after all.
A shout-out to the GameDay crew for genuinely loving the game. Lee Corso was so caught up in the moment that he dropped an F bomb while picking the Houston/SMU game, of all things. (Video contains the f-word, obviously.) Herbstreit and Fowler dropping their jaws and cracking up in disbelief makes the video. In a sport that's so disingenuous (see: the BCS, NCAA investigations, the acts that cause these investigations, and the whole student-athlete charade) and on a medium that's so scripted, it's wonderful to see a real display of emotion, one that dovetails perfectly with the spontaneity and joy that is college football.
Anyway, Corso offers the standard somber apology 30 minutes later, but then, on the next week's GameDay (start at 1:06), he makes light of the whole situation while offering his Iron Bowl pick. Love it.
And finally, a shout-out to our very own Kevin Danna who had several seconds of national TV face time as he conducted his post-game interviews. Too bad Brent Musberger didn't comment on your looks, Kevin, because had he done so, I saw a Jenn Sterger-like career path (and Brett Favre *special* pic) in your future.
That's our take. Here are the thoughts of writers around the world.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!