Clardy’s Corner: Bring The Noise

Stanford Football finally hits the road, and it finally visits the new Husky Stadium. Are Washington’s new digs still a place where visiting teams go to die?



This Saturday, the Card return to Husky Stadium. It looks a little different now thanks to its $280 million facelift, but you still know the place. It still sits by the lake. The stands are still nine miles high. And it’s still a unique venue in the sport.

But when those fans get revved up, is it still louder than a jet taking off? Is it still the toughest place to win a road game in the Pac-12? For years, Husky Stadium wore that crown. Is that the case now?

It seems a fair question to ask, especially with all the new and renovated stadiums popping up throughout college football and the NFL. The tradeoff for a new, comfortable stadium with all the amenities often seems to be a more docile, less active crowd that’s more interested in the social event than the actual game. Isn’t that what the San Francisco 49ers are learning now?

I went to the old Husky Stadium. On Monday, I talked to a fellow longtime Pac-12 football follower who saw the new Husky Stadium a couple weeks ago. To hear him tell it, the new place is every bit as loud as the old place. Plus, the old running track is gone, allowing the fans to be much closer to the action. I forgot to ask him if the current press box shakes like the old one did. (That was fun.)

The old Husky Stadium gave Washington a true home-field advantage. Only a handful of today’s Pac-12 stadiums can say that now. And honestly? I don’t think Stanford Stadium is one of them.

Oh sure, the Cardinal had won 17 straight games inside the Eucalyptus Curtain before they decided to gift U$C with a win three weeks ago. But Stanford Stadium in of itself has never been known as a particularly inhospitable place for visiting teams.

That was certainly true for “the Library”, the 85,000-seat cavern the Card used to play in. Former Washington State coach Mike Price loved coaching his Cougs in Palo Alto because he never had to worry about his players being able to hear their audibles. The old stadium was almost never loud, and the crowd was almost never a factor. The cyclone fence and the running track helped see to that.

The new, more intimate Stanford Stadium has been an improvement in the noise department. But that’s largely because of one entity: the Red Zone. When the student section is in full force, they are tough to top. If, instead, you’re catching the Cardinal at home before school starts, it’s an entirely different story. The atmosphere at the U$C game was electric, but it still wasn’t quite what it should be because the students didn’t have all hands on deck.

So if Stanford Stadium doesn’t pose one of the most hostile environments for road teams in the Pac-12, which stadiums do? Well, one place is obvious: Autzen Stadium in Eugene. That stadium is the toughest place to win on the road in the Pac-12, bar none. And really, it’s not that close.

Even before they expanded the place and fired the first shots in the Pac-12’s facilities arms race, the place was loud and rowdy. The expansion just amplified everything. Now, Autzen is a pit of noise and sound that swallows teams whole.

Some other dangerous places may not be so obvious. Pullman, for example. Anyone can trek to the attractive destinations like Los Angeles, Seattle, or Phoenix. Only the real diehards make the trip to Pullman.

It’s not hard to figure out why. Pullman is almost impossible to get to. Once you get there, there’s absolutely nothing to do. And if snowflakes are falling and the weather is rough? Forget it.

I always describe it as pretty in a remote, desolate, Rocky IV-in-Russia kind of way. It’s a harsh contrast from all of the other Pac-12 schools, which are all in or near cities where you feel close enough to some sort of civilization. Pullman can spook some people out before they even get there. And as soon as they step off the plane (in lovely Lewiston, Idaho, no less), they can crack.

Those things combine to give the Cougs an advantage that no other Pac-12 teams have. A trip to Pullman doesn’t necessarily assault your ears; it messes with your mind. And if you’ve got a night kickoff at Martin Stadium, when the fans can be a little more fired up, you could be in for a long night.

Have you ever been to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah? Since the Utes are still new to the Pac-12, chances are you probably haven’t. At the base of the Wasatch Mountains in the middle of Salt Lake City, it’s one of the more scenic places to take in a college football game.

That said, the place is loud. It’s often packed. And, since it also sits 4,657 feet above sea level, altitude is a factor. When it comes to hostile environments, the one in Utah is right up there.

U$C? If it’s an “event” game and more than 90,000 people show up, it can be an intimidating place for visiting teams. But those days don’t seem to be as consistent as they once were. You’re not intimidated by the surroundings at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena; you’re awed by the history of the place.

The heat makes things difficult in Tempe and Tucson, but neither of those places ever struck me as particularly tough places to play. Reser Stadium can be difficult, but will always pale in comparison to Autzen.

In the end, though, show me a stadium that’s tough on the people who have to use the visitors’ locker room, and I’ll show you a stadium that has a really good team using the home locker room. It’s not the fans, the noise, the building, or the playing conditions. Most times, it’s the home team that determines how rough a stadium can be on its opponents.

A trip to The Farm isn’t dangerous to opponents because of the fans or the environment. It’s dangerous because the Stanford team turns every game into a street fight and beats the other team to a pulp.

Those teams the Ducks have fielded would be tough to beat in any stadium. They could play down at the local park and still win handily. But in that place? With that noise? With those crazy fans? With it all raining down on top of you? Until further notice, I can’t pick anyone in college football to beat the Ducks in Eugene. And yes, as of right now, that includes Oregon’s November 1 opponent.

Which brings us back to Washington. Husky Stadium was known as one of the loudest stadiums in the country…before Oregon took over the Pacific Northwest and Washington hit hard times. The Huskies have spent the last few years looking good, but not good enough in the Pac-12.

The Huskies need to make noise on the field before their fans can make noise in the stands. This Saturday, the Cardinal will try to bring the noise with a fourth straight Husky Stadium win that silences the Washington fans…and Stanford’s own critics.

********** ********** **********

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

There are few better ways to wake up on a Monday morning than by watching the Pac-12 Network’s special on Stanford-Notre Dame 2009. That was fun. How in the hell did Toby not win the Heisman that year again?

So what does an injured and bored Stephen Vogt do to pass the time on a Saturday when he’s not with his team? He comes to The Farm to check out Stanford-Army. I thought I’d seen the Oakland A’s fan favorite in the press box during that game, and I finally confirmed it with him this week. A’s fans believe in Stephen Vogt. And Vogt believes in Stanford Football…

Pretty jarring to see a tremendously large swath of empty seats in Michigan. In the student section no less. Then again, if you read this brilliant and telling piece from June on how the Michigan athletic department alienated the students and the fans, you’re not surprised…

Was impressed with the Utah defense’s lateral quickness. And Nate Orchard can get after the QB. Utes defense is not going to be a pushover, folks…

Even when cal was up big on Arizona, I had a feeling the Wildcats weren’t out of it. After all, the Bears let Northwestern back in. And Northwestern’s offense isn’t anywhere near as speedy as Arizona’s …

Meanwhile, Arizona shouldn’t think its playoff path has been paved just yet. They’ve got a lot of work to do. For 59 minutes and 56 seconds, Anu Solomon wasn’t on target enough, and when he was, his guys didn’t make plays for him.

Jared Goff has become a much better QB fundamentally. On several occasions, he showed the strength to get away from the rush, reset, and throw an accurate ball, all in one motion. Impressive…

My biggest takeaway for Arizona? Their defense can. Not. Tackle. That’s going to be a big(ger) problem for them going forward…

No, Washington State didn’t beat Oregon. But the Coug linemen and receivers blocked very well throughout that game. You can tell how unselfish a team is by whether it puts hats on people. I liked what I saw from Wazzu on that front…

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… score of the week: East Carolina 70, North Carolina 41. Defense, anyone?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… as he hopped around the field with his teammates following Florida State’s dramatic overtime win over Clemson, Jameis Winston sure looked like a remorseful, ashamed kid who had learned his lesson…

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… I don’t think a No. 1 team should fall out of the top spot unless they lose. That said, Florida State doesn’t exactly look like the best team in the country, do they?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… so, if not Florida State, then who? Texas A&M would have my vote…

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… which team will Jim Harbaugh be coaching in 2015: the 49ers, the Raiders, or the Michigan Wolverines? Of those three, I’d put my money on the Raiders…

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… what? Amazing Race is now on Friday nights instead of Sundays? No bueno, CBS. No bueno…

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… worse decision: Mark Ingram over Toby Gerhart for the Heisman in 2009? Or “Forrest Gump” over “Pulp Fiction” for Best Picture in 1994?

********** ********** **********

PAC-12 PICKS

UCLA @ Arizona State. You know those teams that seem to underwhelm every week despite their talent, yet they find ways to win games? The Bruins strike me as that type of team. I like UCLA by 13.

Colorado @ cal. Unless the Bears don’t have an answer for Nelson Spruce (which I’m not ruling out), I like cal by six.

Washington State @ Utah. The Cougars don’t quite know how to win on the road. Yet. That’s why I like Utah by 15.

Oregon State @ U$C. The Beavers’ offense is worst in the Pac-12 at third-down conversions. That’s where they’ll come up short on Saturday. I like U$C by 11.

Last week: 2-0 (straight-up), 1-1 (ATS).
This year: 3-0 (straight-up), 1-2 (ATS).
Last year: 35-10 (straight-up), 24-21 (ATS).

********** ********** **********


Troy Clardy hosts evenings 7-11 p.m. and Oakland A’s pregame and postgame shows on San Francisco’s 95.7 The Game. The 2014 season marks his 22nd year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. In its 13th 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 follow him on Twitter @TroyClardy.






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)!


The Bootleg Top Stories

\r\n\r\nFollow @TheBootleg\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n\r\nThis Saturday, the Card return to Husky Stadium. It looks a little different now thanks to its $280 million facelift, but you still know the place. It still sits by the lake. The stands are still nine miles high. And it’s still a unique venue in the sport.\r\n

\r\nBut when those fans get revved up, is it still louder than a jet taking off? Is it still the toughest place to win a road game in the Pac-12? For years, Husky Stadium wore that crown. Is that the case now? \r\n

\r\nIt seems a fair question to ask, especially with all the new and renovated stadiums popping up throughout college football and the NFL. The tradeoff for a new, comfortable stadium with all the amenities often seems to be a more docile, less active crowd that’s more interested in the social event than the actual game. Isn’t that what the San Francisco 49ers are learning now? \r\n

\r\nI went to the old Husky Stadium. On Monday, I talked to a fellow longtime Pac-12 football follower who saw the new Husky Stadium a couple weeks ago. To hear him tell it, the new place is every bit as loud as the old place. Plus, the old running track is gone, allowing the fans to be much closer to the action. I forgot to ask him if the current press box shakes like the old one did. (That was fun.)\r\n

\r\nThe old Husky Stadium gave Washington a true home-field advantage. Only a handful of today’s Pac-12 stadiums can say that now. And honestly? I don’t think Stanford Stadium is one of them.\r\n

\r\nOh sure, the Cardinal had won 17 straight games inside the Eucalyptus Curtain before they decided to gift U$C with a win three weeks ago. But Stanford Stadium in of itself has never been known as a particularly inhospitable place for visiting teams. \r\n

\r\nThat was certainly true for “the Library”, the 85,000-seat cavern the Card used to play in. Former Washington State coach Mike Price loved coaching his Cougs in Palo Alto because he never had to worry about his players being able to hear their audibles. The old stadium was almost never loud, and the crowd was almost never a factor. The cyclone fence and the running track helped see to that. \r\n

\r\nThe new, more intimate Stanford Stadium has been an improvement in the noise department. But that’s largely because of one entity: the Red Zone. When the student section is in full force, they are tough to top. If, instead, you’re catching the Cardinal at home before school starts, it’s an entirely different story. The atmosphere at the U$C game was electric, but it still wasn’t quite what it should be because the students didn’t have all hands on deck.\r\n

\r\nSo if Stanford Stadium doesn’t pose one of the most hostile environments for road teams in the Pac-12, which stadiums do? Well, one place is obvious: Autzen Stadium in Eugene. That stadium is the toughest place to win on the road in the Pac-12, bar none. And really, it’s not that close. \r\n

\r\nEven before they expanded the place and fired the first shots in the Pac-12’s facilities arms race, the place was loud and rowdy. The expansion just amplified everything. Now, Autzen is a pit of noise and sound that swallows teams whole. \r\n

\r\nSome other dangerous places may not be so obvious. Pullman, for example. Anyone can trek to the attractive destinations like Los Angeles, Seattle, or Phoenix. Only the real diehards make the trip to Pullman.\r\n

\r\nIt’s not hard to figure out why. Pullman is almost impossible to get to. Once you get there, there’s absolutely nothing to do. And if snowflakes are falling and the weather is rough? Forget it.\r\n

\r\nI always describe it as pretty in a remote, desolate, Rocky IV-in-Russia kind of way. It’s a harsh contrast from all of the other Pac-12 schools, which are all in or near cities where you feel close enough to some sort of civilization. Pullman can spook some people out before they even get there. And as soon as they step off the plane (in lovely Lewiston, Idaho, no less), they can crack.\r\n

\r\nThose things combine to give the Cougs an advantage that no other Pac-12 teams have. A trip to Pullman doesn’t necessarily assault your ears; it messes with your mind. And if you’ve got a night kickoff at Martin Stadium, when the fans can be a little more fired up, you could be in for a long night.\r\n

\r\nHave you ever been to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah? Since the Utes are still new to the Pac-12, chances are you probably haven’t. At the base of the Wasatch Mountains in the middle of Salt Lake City, it’s one of the more scenic places to take in a college football game.\r\n

\r\nThat said, the place is loud. It’s often packed. And, since it also sits 4,657 feet above sea level, altitude is a factor. When it comes to hostile environments, the one in Utah is right up there.\r\n

\r\nU$C? If it’s an “event” game and more than 90,000 people show up, it can be an intimidating place for visiting teams. But those days don’t seem to be as consistent as they once were. You’re not intimidated by the surroundings at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena; you’re awed by the history of the place.\r\n

\r\nThe heat makes things difficult in Tempe and Tucson, but neither of those places ever struck me as particularly tough places to play. Reser Stadium can be difficult, but will always pale in comparison to Autzen. \r\n

\r\nIn the end, though, show me a stadium that’s tough on the people who have to use the visitors’ locker room, and I’ll show you a stadium that has a really good team using the home locker room. It’s not the fans, the noise, the building, or the playing conditions. Most times, it’s the home team that determines how rough a stadium can be on its opponents.\r\n

\r\nA trip to The Farm isn’t dangerous to opponents because of the fans or the environment. It’s dangerous because the Stanford team turns every game into a street fight and beats the other team to a pulp.\r\n

\r\nThose teams the Ducks have fielded would be tough to beat in any stadium. They could play down at the local park and still win handily. But in that place? With that noise? With those crazy fans? With it all raining down on top of you? Until further notice, I can’t pick anyone in college football to beat the Ducks in Eugene. And yes, as of right now, that includes Oregon’s November 1 opponent.\r\n

\r\nWhich brings us back to Washington. Husky Stadium was known as one of the loudest stadiums in the country…before Oregon took over the Pacific Northwest and Washington hit hard times. The Huskies have spent the last few years looking good, but not good enough in the Pac-12.\r\n

\r\nThe Huskies need to make noise on the field before their fans can make noise in the stands. This Saturday, the Cardinal will try to bring the noise with a fourth straight Husky Stadium win that silences the Washington fans…and Stanford’s own critics.\r\n

\r\n********** ********** **********\r\n

\r\nRANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS\r\n

\r\nThere are few better ways to wake up on a Monday morning than by watching the Pac-12 Network’s special on Stanford-Notre Dame 2009. That was fun. How in the hell did Toby not win the Heisman that year again?\r\n

\r\nSo what does an injured and bored Stephen Vogt do to pass the time on a Saturday when he’s not with his team? He comes to The Farm to check out Stanford-Army. I thought I’d seen the Oakland A’s fan favorite in the press box during that game, and I finally confirmed it with him this week. A’s fans believe in Stephen Vogt. And Vogt believes in Stanford Football…\r\n

\r\nPretty jarring to see a tremendously large swath of empty seats in Michigan. In the student section no less. Then again, if you read this brilliant and telling piece from June on how the Michigan athletic department alienated the students and the fans, you’re not surprised…\r\n

\r\nWas impressed with the Utah defense’s lateral quickness. And Nate Orchard can get after the QB. Utes defense is not going to be a pushover, folks…\r\n

\r\nEven when cal was up big on Arizona, I had a feeling the Wildcats weren’t out of it. After all, the Bears let Northwestern back in. And Northwestern’s offense isn’t anywhere near as speedy as Arizona’s …\r\n

\r\nMeanwhile, Arizona shouldn’t think its playoff path has been paved just yet. They’ve got a lot of work to do. For 59 minutes and 56 seconds, Anu Solomon wasn’t on target enough, and when he was, his guys didn’t make plays for him.\r\n

\r\nJared Goff has become a much better QB fundamentally. On several occasions, he showed the strength to get away from the rush, reset, and throw an accurate ball, all in one motion. Impressive…\r\n

\r\nMy biggest takeaway for Arizona? Their defense can. Not. Tackle. That’s going to be a big(ger) problem for them going forward…\r\n

\r\nNo, Washington State didn’t beat Oregon. But the Coug linemen and receivers blocked very well throughout that game. You can tell how unselfish a team is by whether it puts hats on people. I liked what I saw from Wazzu on that front…\r\n

\r\nNot a Pac-12 thought, but… score of the week: East Carolina 70, North Carolina 41. Defense, anyone?\r\n

\r\nNot a Pac-12 thought, but… as he hopped around the field with his teammates following Florida State’s dramatic overtime win over Clemson, Jameis Winston sure looked like a remorseful, ashamed kid who had learned his lesson…\r\n

\r\nNot a Pac-12 thought, but… I don’t think a No. 1 team should fall out of the top spot unless they lose. That said, Florida State doesn’t exactly look like the best team in the country, do they?\r\n

\r\nNot a Pac-12 thought, but… so, if not Florida State, then who? Texas A&M would have my vote…\r\n

\r\nNot a Pac-12 thought, but… which team will Jim Harbaugh be coaching in 2015: the 49ers, the Raiders, or the Michigan Wolverines? Of those three, I’d put my money on the Raiders…\r\n

\r\nNot a Pac-12 thought, but… what? Amazing Race is now on Friday nights instead of Sundays? No bueno, CBS. No bueno…\r\n

\r\nNot a Pac-12 thought, but… worse decision: Mark Ingram over Toby Gerhart for the Heisman in 2009? Or “Forrest Gump” over “Pulp Fiction” for Best Picture in 1994?\r\n

\r\n********** ********** **********\r\n

\r\nPAC-12 PICKS\r\n

\r\nUCLA @ Arizona State. You know those teams that seem to underwhelm every week despite their talent, yet they find ways to win games? The Bruins strike me as that type of team. I like UCLA by 13.\r\n

\r\nColorado @ cal. Unless the Bears don’t have an answer for Nelson Spruce (which I’m not ruling out), I like cal by six.\r\n

\r\nWashington State @ Utah. The Cougars don’t quite know how to win on the road. Yet. That’s why I like Utah by 15.\r\n

\r\nOregon State @ U$C. The Beavers’ offense is worst in the Pac-12 at third-down conversions. That’s where they’ll come up short on Saturday. I like U$C by 11.\r\n

\r\nLast week: 2-0 (straight-up), 1-1 (ATS).\r\n
This year: 3-0 (straight-up), 1-2 (ATS).\r\n
Last year: 35-10 (straight-up), 24-21 (ATS).\r\n

\r\n********** ********** **********\r\n


\r\nTroy Clardy hosts evenings 7-11 p.m. and Oakland A’s pregame and postgame shows on San Francisco’s 95.7 The Game. The 2014 season marks his 22nd year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. In its 13th 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 follow him on Twitter @TroyClardy.\r\n


\r\n

\r\n




\r\n

Are you fully subscribed to The\r\nBootleg? If not, then you are missing out on\r\nall the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our\r\naward-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in\r\nStanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com\r\n(sign-up)!

\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" Follow @TheBootleg This Saturday, the Card return to Husky Stadium. It looks a little different now thanks to its $280 million facelift, but you still know the place. It still sits by the lake. The stands are still nine miles high. And it’s still a unique venue in the sport.

But when those fans get revved up, is it still louder than a jet taking off? Is it still the toughest place to win a road game in the Pac-12? For years, Husky Stadium wore that crown. Is that the case now?

It seems a fair question to ask, especially with all the new and renovated stadiums popping up throughout college football and the NFL. The tradeoff for a new, comfortable stadium with all the amenities often seems to be a more docile, less active crowd that’s more interested in the social event than the actual game. Isn’t that what the San Francisco 49ers are learning now?

I went to the old Husky Stadium. On Monday, I talked to a fellow longtime Pac-12 football follower who saw the new Husky Stadium a couple weeks ago. To hear him tell it, the new place is every bit as loud as the old place. Plus, the old running track is gone, allowing the fans to be much closer to the action. I forgot to ask him if the current press box shakes like the old one did. (That was fun.)

The old Husky Stadium gave Washington a true home-field advantage. Only a handful of today’s Pac-12 stadiums can say that now. And honestly? I don’t think Stanford Stadium is one of them.

Oh sure, the Cardinal had won 17 straight games inside the Eucalyptus Curtain before they decided to gift U$C with a win three weeks ago. But Stanford Stadium in of itself has never been known as a particularly inhospitable place for visiting teams.

That was certainly true for “the Library”, the 85,000-seat cavern the Card used to play in. Former Washington State coach Mike Price loved coaching his Cougs in Palo Alto because he never had to worry about his players being able to hear their audibles. The old stadium was almost never loud, and the crowd was almost never a factor. The cyclone fence and the running track helped see to that.

The new, more intimate Stanford Stadium has been an improvement in the noise department. But that’s largely because of one entity: the Red Zone. When the student section is in full force, they are tough to top. If, instead, you’re catching the Cardinal at home before school starts, it’s an entirely different story. The atmosphere at the U$C game was electric, but it still wasn’t quite what it should be because the students didn’t have all hands on deck.

So if Stanford Stadium doesn’t pose one of the most hostile environments for road teams in the Pac-12, which stadiums do? Well, one place is obvious: Autzen Stadium in Eugene. That stadium is the toughest place to win on the road in the Pac-12, bar none. And really, it’s not that close.

Even before they expanded the place and fired the first shots in the Pac-12’s facilities arms race, the place was loud and rowdy. The expansion just amplified everything. Now, Autzen is a pit of noise and sound that swallows teams whole.

Some other dangerous places may not be so obvious. Pullman, for example. Anyone can trek to the attractive destinations like Los Angeles, Seattle, or Phoenix. Only the real diehards make the trip to Pullman.

It’s not hard to figure out why. Pullman is almost impossible to get to. Once you get there, there’s absolutely nothing to do. And if snowflakes are falling and the weather is rough? Forget it.

I always describe it as pretty in a remote, desolate, Rocky IV-in-Russia kind of way. It’s a harsh contrast from all of the other Pac-12 schools, which are all in or near cities where you feel close enough to some sort of civilization. Pullman can spook some people out before they even get there. And as soon as they step off the plane (in lovely Lewiston, Idaho, no less), they can crack.

Those things combine to give the Cougs an advantage that no other Pac-12 teams have. A trip to Pullman doesn’t necessarily assault your ears; it messes with your mind. And if you’ve got a night kickoff at Martin Stadium, when the fans can be a little more fired up, you could be in for a long night.

Have you ever been to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah? Since the Utes are still new to the Pac-12, chances are you probably haven’t. At the base of the Wasatch Mountains in the middle of Salt Lake City, it’s one of the more scenic places to take in a college football game.

That said, the place is loud. It’s often packed. And, since it also sits 4,657 feet above sea level, altitude is a factor. When it comes to hostile environments, the one in Utah is right up there.

U$C? If it’s an “event” game and more than 90,000 people show up, it can be an intimidating place for visiting teams. But those days don’t seem to be as consistent as they once were. You’re not intimidated by the surroundings at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena; you’re awed by the history of the place.

The heat makes things difficult in Tempe and Tucson, but neither of those places ever struck me as particularly tough places to play. Reser Stadium can be difficult, but will always pale in comparison to Autzen.

In the end, though, show me a stadium that’s tough on the people who have to use the visitors’ locker room, and I’ll show you a stadium that has a really good team using the home locker room. It’s not the fans, the noise, the building, or the playing conditions. Most times, it’s the home team that determines how rough a stadium can be on its opponents.

A trip to The Farm isn’t dangerous to opponents because of the fans or the environment. It’s dangerous because the Stanford team turns every game into a street fight and beats the other team to a pulp.

Those teams the Ducks have fielded would be tough to beat in any stadium. They could play down at the local park and still win handily. But in that place? With that noise? With those crazy fans? With it all raining down on top of you? Until further notice, I can’t pick anyone in college football to beat the Ducks in Eugene. And yes, as of right now, that includes Oregon’s November 1 opponent.

Which brings us back to Washington. Husky Stadium was known as one of the loudest stadiums in the country…before Oregon took over the Pacific Northwest and Washington hit hard times. The Huskies have spent the last few years looking good, but not good enough in the Pac-12.

The Huskies need to make noise on the field before their fans can make noise in the stands. This Saturday, the Cardinal will try to bring the noise with a fourth straight Husky Stadium win that silences the Washington fans…and Stanford’s own critics.

********** ********** **********

There are few better ways to wake up on a Monday morning than by watching the Pac-12 Network’s special on Stanford-Notre Dame 2009. That was fun. How in the hell did Toby not win the Heisman that year again?

So what does an injured and bored Stephen Vogt do to pass the time on a Saturday when he’s not with his team? He comes to The Farm to check out Stanford-Army. I thought I’d seen the Oakland A’s fan favorite in the press box during that game, and I finally confirmed it with him this week. A’s fans believe in Stephen Vogt. And Vogt believes in Stanford Football…

Pretty jarring to see a tremendously large swath of empty seats in Michigan. In the student section no less. Then again, if you read this brilliant and telling piece from June on how the Michigan athletic department alienated the students and the fans, you’re not surprised…

Was impressed with the Utah defense’s lateral quickness. And Nate Orchard can get after the QB. Utes defense is not going to be a pushover, folks…

Even when cal was up big on Arizona, I had a feeling the Wildcats weren’t out of it. After all, the Bears let Northwestern back in. And Northwestern’s offense isn’t anywhere near as speedy as Arizona’s …

Meanwhile, Arizona shouldn’t think its playoff path has been paved just yet. They’ve got a lot of work to do. For 59 minutes and 56 seconds, Anu Solomon wasn’t on target enough, and when he was, his guys didn’t make plays for him.

Jared Goff has become a much better QB fundamentally. On several occasions, he showed the strength to get away from the rush, reset, and throw an accurate ball, all in one motion. Impressive…

My biggest takeaway for Arizona? Their defense can. Not. Tackle. That’s going to be a big(ger) problem for them going forward…

No, Washington State didn’t beat Oregon. But the Coug linemen and receivers blocked very well throughout that game. You can tell how unselfish a team is by whether it puts hats on people. I liked what I saw from Wazzu on that front…

score of the week: East Carolina 70, North Carolina 41. Defense, anyone?

as he hopped around the field with his teammates following Florida State’s dramatic overtime win over Clemson, Jameis Winston sure looked like a remorseful, ashamed kid who had learned his lesson…

I don’t think a No. 1 team should fall out of the top spot unless they lose. That said, Florida State doesn’t exactly look like the best team in the country, do they?

so, if not Florida State, then who? Texas A&M would have my vote…

which team will Jim Harbaugh be coaching in 2015: the 49ers, the Raiders, or the Michigan Wolverines? Of those three, I’d put my money on the Raiders…

what? Amazing Race is now on Friday nights instead of Sundays? No bueno, CBS. No bueno…

worse decision: Mark Ingram over Toby Gerhart for the Heisman in 2009? Or “Forrest Gump” over “Pulp Fiction” for Best Picture in 1994?

********** ********** **********

You know those teams that seem to underwhelm every week despite their talent, yet they find ways to win games? The Bruins strike me as that type of team.

Unless the Bears don’t have an answer for Nelson Spruce (which I’m not ruling out),

The Cougars don’t quite know how to win on the road. Yet. That’s why

The Beavers’ offense is worst in the Pac-12 at third-down conversions. That’s where they’ll come up short on Saturday.

2-0 (straight-up), 1-1 (ATS). 3-0 (straight-up), 1-2 (ATS). 35-10 (straight-up), 24-21 (ATS). ********** ********** **********

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