Clardy's Corner: Ten-year anniversary

Have you ever seen a movie where someone gets a letter from the future? This is one of those letters. I am you…exactly ten years to the day. And you are about to post your first Clardy's Corner on The Bootleg.

September 4, 2012

Dear Troy Clardy (the 2002 version),

Have you ever seen a movie where someone gets a letter from the future? This is one of those letters. I am you…exactly ten years to the day. And you are about to post your first Clardy's Corner on The Bootleg.

Before that first Corner gets posted, I thought I'd let you (and Jim, Lars, and all the other Booties) know what the next ten years will bring. I'd normally call this a spoiler alert, but what you and every other Stanford Football fan are about to experience is so amazing, so improbable, so gut-wrenching, and so exhilarating, that you're probably not going to believe me anyway.

You're starting these Corners at a crossroads of sorts in Stanford Football history. Despite a 2001 season that featured the best Stanford Football team you have ever watched, you're still a bit disappointed with how it all ended. First, the Seattle Bowl (which, by the way, won't exist in ten years). Then, Tyrone Willingham, a man you liked, respected, and enjoyed getting to know, leaves the program. Now you've got a new coach with a new approach, and you're feeling optimistic about where things may lead.

The new coach? That guy named Buddy Teevens? He's a nice enough human being, and you'll enjoy talking to each other, but Saturdays for the next few years are not going to be pretty. In fact, a few of them are going to be downright awful.

The first warning sign is going to come in about three weeks down at Arizona State. Soon things are going to start snowballing, and the angle will keep getting steeper. By the end of the 2003 season, you'll be angered and totally embarrassed. By the end of the 2004 season, after this Teevens guy gets shown the door, you'll be making a recommendation for a new head coach that causes a firestorm on the BootBoards. Ted Leland won't follow that recommendation, instead going with a coach who will quickly lose the program.

And just when you think it can't get worse, it will.

And just when you think it can't get worse than that, it will. This will probably be the absolute low point, by the way.

So you're going to be in for some really rough spots and some incredibly dark moments. Meanwhile, U$C—the school and the program you love to hate--will be national champions soon. You will not be happy about this. A couple years later, the still-mighty Trojans will 41-point favorites over the sad-sack Cardinal. You will give Stanford zero chance of winning.

And then, this will happen. And everything will change.

It will change largely because a new athletic director will hire a familiar name as the new coach. That coach will attack the job with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. He won't be perfect, but he will lead the Card to places you never thought this program could go.

Would you believe me if I told you that, within the next ten years, Stanford will field better teams than the 2001 squad you just watched? Would you believe me if I told you that the list of Heisman Trophy finalists would feature Stanford players in three consecutive seasons?

What if I said Stanford would be a legitimate top-five team, and that you would be on planes to watch the Card play in BCS bowl games in back-to-back years? That would be pretty heady stuff, wouldn't it?

How about if I told you that the bar for football on The Farm would be raised so high that the Card would actually finish a regular season 11-1…and it would still leave you lukewarm?

Go to your fellow Stanford buddies right now and predict that, within the next ten years, ESPN's College GameDay will actually be broadcasting live from The Farm. They'll look at you like you're crazy. Well, crazier than normal. But, not only is it something you'll actually predict, a couple of years later it will actually come true.

Along the way, you're going to watch some great players. The Cardinal's fine quarterback tradition will continue with a tough, accurate passer from Los Gatos. Some players will grow up right before your eyes, from the Cardinal's most unlikely hero to an immature receiver turned defensive leader.

And get this: within the next ten years, Jim Plunkett and John Elway will have to make room for Stanford's next transcendent quarterback.

Oh by the way, that rickety old stadium you're watching Stanford play in now? The one with all the amenities of a hotel after a hurricane? It will be replaced soon.

Along the way, you'll have a little fun with these Corners, too. Years before something called the Pac-12 Network becomes a reality (though apparently it will be easier to get in Pittsburgh, PA than in Pittsburg, CA), you'll have the blueprint for a Stanford sports channel. And you'll catch some heat for your rankings of the Pac-10 fight songs.

But through it all, you are going to be a part of watching one of college football's great stories of the next decade. And that, my friend, is pretty cool.

Have fun writing your first Corner. It's going to be the start of something unforgettable. You're going to love every moment of it all.

Go Stanford.

Troy C (the 2012 version)

P.S. When they have their IPO in about two years, buy as much Google stock as you can afford. You're welcome.

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RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

Not gonna lie to you…I didn't sleep that well last Friday night following that result at Stanford Stadium…

After grinding the Spartans down in the first quarter and calling the most basic passing plays possible, Stanford tried to go to another gear in the second quarter. The moment that happened, the Card offense lost its rhythm. That was troubling to watch…

Even though the offensive line didn't get as much push as I would have liked, I'm still surprised that Stanford didn't run more power on early downs in the second half. Instead of trying to re-establish physical control of the game, bleed the clock, and kill San Jose State's momentum, it seemed Stanford was playing right into the Spartans' hands…

Part of me is glad Usua Amanam was able to make big disruptive plays in the Spartan backfield. Most of me wishes the front seven could have done it by themselves…

Was there a single holding call for Chase Thomas? By my count, there should have been about 172 of them…

Stanford's season basically boils down to this: if Josh Nunes can consistently beat blitzes and make throws when the extra defender is in the box, the Card will be successful. If Nunes doesn't give opposing teams reasons to have to play Stanford's passing game honest, we could see a lot more of what we saw last week…

$321 million still can't buy a win over Nevada. Or real restrooms for all the paying customers. Nice going, cal…

Just when I think Oregon's uniforms can't get any worse…

Checked out Washington State's first series against BYU (the rest of that game was past my bedtime). Even though they moved the ball on that series, Coug QB Jeff Tuel still looked indecisive at times, and took too long to get the ball out. I could also tell right away that Wazzu receivers weren't exactly getting free and helping Tuel out. In a Mike Leach offense, those things are never good…

In their first five snaps, UCLA gained 193 yards, scored three touchdowns, and led Rice 19-0. How's that for a start?

Someone in the Rice student section taunted UCLA by holding up a sign that called the Bruin players "Stanford rejects". That, my friends, is your Sign of the Week…

Just when I think Oregon's unis can't get any worse…

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… I spent much of my Saturday at Heinz Field watching the Youngstown State Penguins (an FCS team) beat the Pitt Panthers (an FBS team). That marks the second time I've seen an FCS team beat an FBS team. I'm not proud of this, by the way…

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… Pitt loses to Youngstown State. Penn State loses to Ohio. Is it possible that the best college football team in the Keystone State now belongs to Temple? Who the hell saw that coming?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… Oklahoma State just scored again…

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Troy Clardy is in his 20th year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. In its 11th 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, hear him on Pittsburgh's Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan, or e-mail him at troyc@thebootleg.com.


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