Clardy’s Corner: Unplugged

To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, the college football season moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.

There was no Stanford Football game to get ready for last weekend. My Saturday morning routine still started the same way though, as I tuned in to the picks segment on College GameDay. Then, after checking out the first half of Baylor-Oklahoma, I watched the first quarter of Arizona State-Notre Dame (rooting for the Sun Devils and throwing up in my mouth the whole time).

That was all the college football I saw last week.

I should have watched more than that. I was hoping to get home in time to catch the second half of Oregon-Utah, but some idiot decided to drive the wrong way on the Bay Bridge and ruin traffic for everyone trying to get out of the city. There went that plan. So, believe it or not, there was actually someone out there who made a bigger mistake Saturday night than Kaelin Clay.

So if my day didn’t revolve around Stanford Football or college football—novel concepts, I realize—then what could I possibly have been doing? Well, the wife and I headed to Livermore to hit a few wineries. (Wine? In Livermore? Did that happen while I was away?) We had a great day sipping the latest from our favorite spot. We relaxed. And that evening, we had dinner with my mom in San Francisco. It was a great day.

And it wasn’t just any college football Saturday I was missing. There were five huge games and a surprise result or two with tremendous playoff implications. Nonstop action exploding all around us at a breakneck pace. Last Saturday, of all Saturdays, would have been the perfect day to sit on the couch, order a pizza, disappear for ten to twelve hours, and overdose on college football.

I didn’t. And the amazing thing about it? I didn’t miss it. I wasn’t checking scores every five minutes. I wasn’t worried about what everyone else was doing. I wasn’t spending a lot of thought on all the big games I wasn’t watching. I wasn’t peeking in on the BootBoard Plus, reading posts from the folks who think Stanford Football is headed to Hell in a handbasket and rolling my eyes the entire time.

It was actually pretty nice. Then again, if you can’t have an enjoyable afternoon while sipping wine on an 80-degree November day, then the problem is you.

Now, let’s not get it twisted. I haven’t discovered a whole new way of life without Stanford Football. Far from it. I can’t wait until this upcoming Saturday afternoon. I’m a little sad that it’s going to be the last time we all meet behind the Eucalyptus Curtain this year.

I love Stanford Football. I love college football. I’m the only one on 95.7 The Game who will willingly talk about either of those subjects on my show. But I don’t want to burn out on them. And sometimes, the best way to combat that is to step away from things for a bit when the opportunity arises.

So I’ll admit it. I’m glad Stanford’s bye week came when it did. Judging from how banged up the Card were, I’m sure they were glad, too. Normally I’m cursing the schedule makers (and I will next year when Stanford plays at U$C one week, then gets on another plane to Corvallis for a Friday game the next week). This time around? Not so much.

Based on the tenor of Stanford Football discourse these days, I hope a few Stanford fans used last week as a chance to unplug and unwind a bit. I hope Cardinalmaniacs spent time with people who want to be around them. Or perhaps spent the day taking up other interests outside of football. I mean, we’re Stanford. We’re about more than just football, right?

I hope the bye week provided a chance for some Stanford fans to relax, reset their perspective, take a deep breath, and be ready for the stretch run. With three dangerous games left, I think we’ll need all the energy we can get.

Utah was one yard away from having Oregon right where they wanted them. The Bears still don’t have a defense yet, but their offense is truly two-dimensional and dangerous. UCLA will not be an easy out at all. Two of those games will be on the road, by the way. The stakes may not be as high as we’d like them to be, but this stretch run is still important. As we all know, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And 8-4 looks a hell of a lot better than 6-6.

I’m definitely mellowing with age. I realize this. Trust me, I haven’t been thrilled about Stanford’s losses, either. You think I was walking around with a smile on my face the rest of the day after that loss to U$C?

But somewhere along the way, I had a fairly simple revelation: Life is too short to be mad and disappointed about football all the time. Sometimes, it’s just good to unplug. To get refreshed. To remove yourself. To take a deep breath and get ready for the weeks ahead.

To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, the college football season moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.

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RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

Not a lot of Random Thoughts…after all, I spent the weekend unplugged…

Is it too much to ask that the TV networks decide kickoffs no less than two weeks in advance? As it is, we won’t know what time next week’s Big Game will kick off until, well, next week. Television is holding the Big Game hostage. I can’t be the only one who thinks this is disrespectful to the fans…

I think a one-loss Oregon is better than an undefeated Florida State, too. But I’m having trouble putting the Ducks number two overall…

Shameless plug alert: It was a pleasure to chat with Johnny Dawkins on my radio show Tuesday night! If you missed it, give it a listen!

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… how stoned do you have to be to think putting Fritos on a pizza is tasty?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… need further proof that there are no great teams in the NFL this year? Check out the NFC, where the Arizona Cardinals have the best record. Who has the second-best? The Detroit Lions. Bet you didn’t see any of that coming…

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PAC-12 PICKS

cal @ U$C (Thursday). Sonny Dykes also joined my radio show this week. He told me he hopes the Bears can run the ball and put up points. I hope they can tackle. I like U$C by 14.

Washington @ Arizona. No real reason for me to pick the Huskies here. Which, of course, is why they will win this game. I like Arizona by 13.

Arizona State @ Oregon State. The Sun Devils are coming off one of their biggest wins ever, and now they face a night kickoff in Corvallis. Normally, I’d say this is a perfect setup for the Beavers. Not this time. I like Arizona State by 26.

Last week: 2-2 (straight-up), 2-2 (ATS).
This year: 20-13 (straight-up), 13-20 (ATS).
Last year: 35-10 (straight-up), 24-21 (ATS).

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Troy Clardy hosts evenings 7p-11p and Oakland A’s pregame & 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.


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