Clardy's Corner: A Matter of Trust

What does trust have to do with Stanford's loss to Northwestern? To Troy, maybe everything.



Down 10-3 early in the third quarter, on 4th-and-5 from the Northwestern 37-yard line, and with the wind at the kicker's back, Stanford chose to punt.

Ahead 13-6 with less than four minutes left in the game, the ball at the Stanford 32-yard line, and the wind still at the kicker's back, Northwestern sent out their field goal unit. Jack Mitchell responded by making the longest kick of his collegiate career.

As I saw it, those two events taken together spoke volumes about each team's respective approach to last Saturday's opener. I think it largely explained why Northwestern was able to make Stanford the first upset victim of the 2015 college football season.

And it had this question floating through my head: did the Cardinal lose this game on a matter of trust?

Trust is a precious commodity, particularly when it involves how a coach looks at a player. So much of sports rides on whether a coach trusts his players to do their respective jobs and help them win games.

For more on this, see San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy. More specifically, look at his decision to let Madison Bumgarner come out of the bullpen and pitch in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

I remember that notion being discussed before the game, and I thought it was nuts. Bumgarner had just thrown 117 pitches and a complete game three days before. Sure, he'd pitched brilliantly to that point, but I didn’t think there was any way that running him out there again in Game 7 was a good idea.

Of course, by the end of the night, the Giants were champs again, and Madison Bumgarner had become Madison F. Bumgarner right before our eyes. No other manager would've had the stones to do that. As he often does, Bochy proved why he manages a ball team and I don't. Bochy's handling of that scenario should be Exhibit A when his name is brought up for Cooperstown.

It wasn’t just the Bumgarner situation, though. All through that playoff run, Bruce Bochy showed he was willing to ride or die with his guys. He never managed scared, unlike every other manager he faced along the way. He made big decisions with his gut, not by the book. He pushed buttons that told everyone that he trusted his players -- and not just his star players, either -- to make big plays, and was willing to put them in the best situations possible. As an Oakland A's fan, I resented the hell out of watching it. But as a sports fan, I respected the hell out of it, too.

Which brings me back to last Saturday in Evanston. Northwestern 16, Stanford 6. And, quite honestly, it probably wasn't that close. After the Card closed their opening drive with a field goal, the Wildcats were the better team the rest of the way.

Trust me, I'd love to call that result a fluke. I can't. Stanford's offense devolved as the game went on, while the Treefense couldn't get off the field on third down. (Northwestern faced third down 22 times. They converted 12 of them. I don't know which number is more amazing.)

While the overall result was an eye-opener, some of Stanford's decisions were head-scratchers. Relying on a horizontal passing game that proved easy for Northwestern to control. Not putting Christian McCaffrey in space where he is more likely to do more damage. Running sweeps on 3rd-and-long. Twice.

(About those sweeps: while I didn't like the message they sent, I understood them on some level. The first one came on 3rd-and-14 from Stanford's own 29 midway through the first quarter. No real need to do anything fancy there. The second time it was 3rd-and-13 from Northwestern's 47 early in the second quarter. In that situation, the case can be made for playing the field position game. Again, did I agree with staying conservative in those situations? Not necessarily. But I could see the logic...)

All of those moves left me asking myself whether the coaches trust the players right now to go out and win a game. Whether they're willing to put the ball in Kevin Hogan's hands. Whether they trust Devon Cajuste's ankle or Michael Rector's judgment. Whether they trust Conrad Ukropina to make a big kick. Whether they trust the offensive line to win the trenches.

Then again, players have to earn a coach's trust, too. It's a two-way street. Players have to show they can handle what they're being tasked with. And based on what you've seen to this point, how much do you really trust them? Seems like Stanford's most trust-worthy player right now is Alex Robinson. The punter.

When there is trust between coaches and players, good things can happen. Remember the end of the first half of Super Bowl XLIX? New England had scored a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead with 31 seconds left. Seattle could have just kneeled down, run out the clock, and gone to the locker room.

Instead, the Seahawks went for a score. They were aggressive. They drove 80 yards in five plays. And they were rewarded with a game-tying touchdown with two seconds remaining. Seattle trusted their players to get it done, and they got a key score at a key time.

Now, contrast that with how that game actually ended. Pete Carroll and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (remember watching him lead Wisconsin to a tie against the Card at Stanford Stadium in 1995?) can defend the indefensible call all they want. But in a situation tailor-made for Marshawn Lynch, they did not trust their best player for that situation with the game -- hell, not just any game, the Super Bowl -- on the line. You know how that story ended.

On some level, we’re all armchair coaches. That’s why you're reading this, right? Isn't that why The Bootleg is here? And while I admit I'm a bit of an armchair coach too, I'll still readily admit that I don’t have anywhere near all the information that the head coach does. He knows exactly what the game plan is. He knows exactly what the film shows. He knows exactly what his staff thinks. He knows exactly what the trainer knows. He also knows that a team that doesn't have trust doesn't have a chance to win.

I hope I'm wrong. I really, really hope I'm wrong. I hope this is just the standard overreacting everybody does if their team loses its opener. But watching that result last Saturday left me questioning whether this staff truly trusts its players right now to go out there and win, and which players can really be trusted in the first place.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

I just had to ask what could possibly go wrong last week, didn't I? Lesson re-learned: don't ask scary questions if you're afraid of the answers...

Talk about a worst-case scenario for the defensive line? Doesn't get much more dire than losing Harrison Phillips for the year. Was really looking forward to seeing that young man flourish. All the best to him and his recovery...

Scary thought: Northwestern looked much faster than they did last year. Scarier thought: they looked faster than Stanford for much of the game. Scariest thought: there are at least seven teams left on the Card's schedule that are faster than Northwestern...

Based on their respective results this past weekend, something tells me Cal can't wait to head down to Texas to play the Longhorns next weekend...

I don't know what stunned me more from Pullman: watching Portland State beat Washington State, or actually seeing a Mike Leach-coached team go under center, use play-action, and -- gasp! -- run the ball...

That's what the Cougars need to do, by the way. And that was the big difference between them and Cal last year. The Bears had a rushing attack, so they were able to diversify their offense and keep their quarterback healthy. The Cougars did not, so their offense was one-dimensional and their quarterback took one hit too many...

Speaking of taking one hit too many, Vernon Adams' debut in Eugene ended prematurely. He'll need to have better self-preservation instincts from here out...

By the way, Eastern Washington is fun to watch! Cooper Kupp may have made some NFL money with that performance last week. Might have to keep an eye on what's happening on the red turf...

Colorado fans can blame the officiating crew all they want for the debacle at the end of that game in Hawaii. They should be more upset about the debacles their team committed (allowing a blocked punt that led to Hawaii's first score, throwing a pick at the Hawaii 12-yard line) at the start of that game...

Josh Rosen had the best debut I’ve seen for a Pac-12 quarterback since, well, UCLA's Ben Olson. His 2006 performance against Utah (25-33-318, 3 TD, 0 INT) was even better than his numbers. It was jaw-dropping to watch. Whatever happened to that guy, by the way?

Eddie Vanderdoes is done for the year. The Bruins are going to miss that guy...

Look, I was every bit as impressed by Texas A&M as many of you were. But having them ranked Number 16? While Arizona State goes from Number 15 to the Also Receiving Votes category? Methinks the Sun Devils were penalized too harshly...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… I should probably wait until this Saturday's results in East Lansing just to be sure, but I think it's safe to skip ahead and start focusing on that Ohio State-Michigan State matchup on November 14...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… when it comes to those two San Antonio high school football players who assaulted that official, please do not ask for the context surrounding the act. There is nothing -- nothing! -- that official could have done that would have justified that happening...

Shameless plug alert #1… busy week ahead for me on the Pac-12 Networks...including calling #2 Stanford women's soccer against Oklahoma this Sunday on The Farm! Can't wait...

Shameless plug alert #2… I am pleased to announce the debut of my new podcast! "The TreeCast with Troy Clardy" will come your way on Tuesdays and Fridays during the football season. Download it via the Cardinal Sports Radio app from VSporto. We'll have guests, we'll talk Stanford sports, we'll have fun. If you missed Tuesday's show, get it now. Looking forward to Friday's show!


The 2015 season marks Troy Clardy’s 23rd year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. Troy also calls baseball, softball, and soccer games for the Pac-12 Network. In its 14th season of Cardinal commentary, Clardy’s Corner appears Wednesdays during the college football regular season on TheBootleg.com. His “TreeCast with Troy Clardy” podcast is available for download via the Cardinal Sports Radio app from VSporto on Tuesdays and Fridays. 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

Follow\r\n@TroyClardy\r\n\r\n

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Down 10-3 early in the third quarter, on 4th-and-5 from the Northwestern 37-yard line, and with the wind at the kicker's back, Stanford chose to punt.

\r\n\r\n

Ahead 13-6 with less than four minutes left in the game, the ball at the Stanford 32-yard line, and the wind still at the kicker's back, Northwestern sent out their field goal unit. Jack Mitchell responded by making the longest kick of his collegiate career.

\r\n\r\n

As I saw it, those two events taken together spoke volumes about each team's respective approach to last Saturday's opener. I think it largely explained why Northwestern was able to make Stanford the first upset victim of the 2015 college football season.

\r\n\r\n

And it had this question floating through my head: did the Cardinal lose this game on a matter of trust?

\r\n\r\n

Trust is a precious commodity, particularly when it involves how a coach looks at a player. So much of sports rides on whether a coach trusts his players to do their respective jobs and help them win games.

\r\n\r\n

For more on this, see San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy. More specifically, look at his decision to let Madison Bumgarner come out of the bullpen and pitch in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

\r\n\r\n

I remember that notion being discussed before the game, and I thought it was nuts. Bumgarner had just thrown 117 pitches and a complete game three days before. Sure, he'd pitched brilliantly to that point, but I didn’t think there was any way that running him out there again in Game 7 was a good idea.

\r\n\r\n

Of course, by the end of the night, the Giants were champs again, and Madison Bumgarner had become Madison F. Bumgarner right before our eyes. No other manager would've had the stones to do that. As he often does, Bochy proved why he manages a ball team and I don't. Bochy's handling of that scenario should be Exhibit A when his name is brought up for Cooperstown.

\r\n\r\n

It wasn’t just the Bumgarner situation, though. All through that playoff run, Bruce Bochy showed he was willing to ride or die with his guys. He never managed scared, unlike every other manager he faced along the way. He made big decisions with his gut, not by the book. He pushed buttons that told everyone that he trusted his players -- and not just his star players, either -- to make big plays, and was willing to put them in the best situations possible. As an Oakland A's fan, I resented the hell out of watching it. But as a sports fan, I respected the hell out of it, too.

\r\n\r\n

Which brings me back to last Saturday in Evanston. Northwestern 16, Stanford 6. And, quite honestly, it probably wasn't that close. After the Card closed their opening drive with a field goal, the Wildcats were the better team the rest of the way.

\r\n\r\n

Trust me, I'd love to call that result a fluke. I can't. Stanford's offense devolved as the game went on, while the Treefense couldn't get off the field on third down. (Northwestern faced third down 22 times. They converted 12 of them. I don't know which number is more amazing.)

\r\n\r\n

While the overall result was an eye-opener, some of Stanford's decisions were head-scratchers. Relying on a horizontal passing game that proved easy for Northwestern to control. Not putting Christian McCaffrey in space where he is more likely to do more damage. Running sweeps on 3rd-and-long. Twice.

\r\n\r\n

(About those sweeps: while I didn't like the message they sent, I understood them on some level. The first one came on 3rd-and-14 from Stanford's own 29 midway through the first quarter. No real need to do anything fancy there. The second time it was 3rd-and-13 from Northwestern's 47 early in the second quarter. In that situation, the case can be made for playing the field position game. Again, did I agree with staying conservative in those situations? Not necessarily. But I could see the logic...)

\r\n\r\n

All of those moves left me asking myself whether the coaches trust the players right now to go out and win a game. Whether they're willing to put the ball in Kevin Hogan's hands. Whether they trust Devon Cajuste's ankle or Michael Rector's judgment. Whether they trust Conrad Ukropina to make a big kick. Whether they trust the offensive line to win the trenches.

\r\n\r\n

Then again, players have to earn a coach's trust, too. It's a two-way street. Players have to show they can handle what they're being tasked with. And based on what you've seen to this point, how much do you really trust them? Seems like Stanford's most trust-worthy player right now is Alex Robinson. The punter.

\r\n\r\n

When there is trust between coaches and players, good things can happen. Remember the end of the first half of Super Bowl XLIX? New England had scored a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead with 31 seconds left. Seattle could have just kneeled down, run out the clock, and gone to the locker room.

\r\n\r\n

Instead, the Seahawks went for a score. They were aggressive. They drove 80 yards in five plays. And they were rewarded with a game-tying touchdown with two seconds remaining. Seattle trusted their players to get it done, and they got a key score at a key time.

\r\n\r\n

Now, contrast that with how that game actually ended. Pete Carroll and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (remember watching him lead Wisconsin to a tie against the Card at Stanford Stadium in 1995?) can defend the indefensible call all they want. But in a situation tailor-made for Marshawn Lynch, they did not trust their best player for that situation with the game -- hell, not just any game, the Super Bowl -- on the line. You know how that story ended.

\r\n\r\n

On some level, we’re all armchair coaches. That’s why you're reading this, right? Isn't that why The Bootleg is here? And while I admit I'm a bit of an armchair coach too, I'll still readily admit that I don’t have anywhere near all the information that the head coach does. He knows exactly what the game plan is. He knows exactly what the film shows. He knows exactly what his staff thinks. He knows exactly what the trainer knows. He also knows that a team that doesn't have trust doesn't have a chance to win.

\r\n\r\n

I hope I'm wrong. I really, really hope I'm wrong. I hope this is just the standard overreacting everybody does if their team loses its opener. But watching that result last Saturday left me questioning whether this staff truly trusts its players right now to go out there and win, and which players can really be trusted in the first place.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

\r\n\r\n

I just had to ask what could possibly go wrong last week, didn't I? Lesson re-learned: don't ask scary questions if you're afraid of the answers...

\r\n\r\n

Talk about a worst-case scenario for the defensive line? Doesn't get much more dire than losing Harrison Phillips for the year. Was really looking forward to seeing that young man flourish. All the best to him and his recovery...

\r\n\r\n

Scary thought: Northwestern looked much faster than they did last year. Scarier thought: they looked faster than Stanford for much of the game. Scariest thought: there are at least seven teams left on the Card's schedule that are faster than Northwestern...

\r\n\r\n

Based on their respective results this past weekend, something tells me Cal can't wait to head down to Texas to play the Longhorns next weekend...

\r\n\r\n

I don't know what stunned me more from Pullman: watching Portland State beat Washington State, or actually seeing a Mike Leach-coached team go under center, use play-action, and -- gasp! -- run the ball...

\r\n\r\n

That's what the Cougars need to do, by the way. And that was the big difference between them and Cal last year. The Bears had a rushing attack, so they were able to diversify their offense and keep their quarterback healthy. The Cougars did not, so their offense was one-dimensional and their quarterback took one hit too many...

\r\n\r\n

Speaking of taking one hit too many, Vernon Adams' debut in Eugene ended prematurely. He'll need to have better self-preservation instincts from here out...

\r\n\r\n

By the way, Eastern Washington is fun to watch! Cooper Kupp may have made some NFL money with that performance last week. Might have to keep an eye on what's happening on the red turf...

\r\n\r\n

Colorado fans can blame the officiating crew all they want for the debacle at the end of that game in Hawaii. They should be more upset about the debacles their team committed (allowing a blocked punt that led to Hawaii's first score, throwing a pick at the Hawaii 12-yard line) at the start of that game...

\r\n\r\n

Josh Rosen had the best debut I’ve seen for a Pac-12 quarterback since, well, UCLA's Ben Olson. His 2006 performance against Utah (25-33-318, 3 TD, 0 INT) was even better than his numbers. It was jaw-dropping to watch. Whatever happened to that guy, by the way?

\r\n\r\n

Eddie Vanderdoes is done for the year. The Bruins are going to miss that guy...

\r\n\r\n

Look, I was every bit as impressed by Texas A&M as many of you were. But having them ranked Number 16? While Arizona State goes from Number 15 to the Also Receiving Votes category? Methinks the Sun Devils were penalized too harshly...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… I should probably wait until this Saturday's results in East Lansing just to be sure, but I think it's safe to skip ahead and start focusing on that Ohio State-Michigan State matchup on November 14...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… when it comes to those two San Antonio high school football players who assaulted that official, please do not ask for the context surrounding the act. There is nothing -- nothing! -- that official could have done that would have justified that happening...

\r\n\r\n

Shameless plug alert #1… busy week ahead for me on the Pac-12 Networks...including calling #2 Stanford women's soccer against Oklahoma this Sunday on The Farm! Can't wait...

\r\n\r\n

Shameless plug alert #2… I am pleased to announce the debut of my new podcast! \"The TreeCast with Troy Clardy\" will come your way on Tuesdays and Fridays during the football season. Download it via the Cardinal Sports Radio app from VSporto. We'll have guests, we'll talk Stanford sports, we'll have fun. If you missed Tuesday's show, get it now. Looking forward to Friday's show!

\r\n\r\n

The 2015 season marks Troy Clardy’s 23rd year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. Troy also calls baseball, softball, and soccer games for the Pac-12 Network. In its 14th season of Cardinal commentary, Clardy’s Corner appears Wednesdays during the college football regular season on TheBootleg.com. His “TreeCast with Troy Clardy” podcast is available for download via the Cardinal Sports Radio app from VSporto on Tuesdays and Fridays. You can also check him out online at TroyClardy.com, or follow him on Twitter @TroyClardy.

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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)!

","mobileBody":" Follow @TroyClardy

Down 10-3 early in the third quarter, on 4th-and-5 from the Northwestern 37-yard line, and with the wind at the kicker's back, Stanford chose to punt.

Ahead 13-6 with less than four minutes left in the game, the ball at the Stanford 32-yard line, and the wind still at the kicker's back, Northwestern sent out their field goal unit. Jack Mitchell responded by making the longest kick of his collegiate career.

As I saw it, those two events taken together spoke volumes about each team's respective approach to last Saturday's opener. I think it largely explained why Northwestern was able to make Stanford the first upset victim of the 2015 college football season.

And it had this question floating through my head: did the Cardinal lose this game on a matter of trust?

Trust is a precious commodity, particularly when it involves how a coach looks at a player. So much of sports rides on whether a coach trusts his players to do their respective jobs and help them win games.

For more on this, see San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy. More specifically, look at his decision to let Madison Bumgarner come out of the bullpen and pitch in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

I remember that notion being discussed before the game, and I thought it was nuts. Bumgarner had just thrown 117 pitches and a complete game three days before. Sure, he'd pitched brilliantly to that point, but I didn’t think there was any way that running him out there again in Game 7 was a good idea.

Of course, by the end of the night, the Giants were champs again, and Madison Bumgarner had become Madison F. Bumgarner right before our eyes. No other manager would've had the stones to do that. As he often does, Bochy proved why he manages a ball team and I don't. Bochy's handling of that scenario should be Exhibit A when his name is brought up for Cooperstown.

It wasn’t just the Bumgarner situation, though. All through that playoff run, Bruce Bochy showed he was willing to ride or die with his guys. He never managed scared, unlike every other manager he faced along the way. He made big decisions with his gut, not by the book. He pushed buttons that told everyone that he trusted his players -- and not just his star players, either -- to make big plays, and was willing to put them in the best situations possible. As an Oakland A's fan, I resented the hell out of watching it. But as a sports fan, I respected the hell out of it, too.

Which brings me back to last Saturday in Evanston. Northwestern 16, Stanford 6. And, quite honestly, it probably wasn't that close. After the Card closed their opening drive with a field goal, the Wildcats were the better team the rest of the way.

Trust me, I'd love to call that result a fluke. I can't. Stanford's offense devolved as the game went on, while the Treefense couldn't get off the field on third down. (Northwestern faced third down 22 times. They converted 12 of them. I don't know which number is more amazing.)

While the overall result was an eye-opener, some of Stanford's decisions were head-scratchers. Relying on a horizontal passing game that proved easy for Northwestern to control. Not putting Christian McCaffrey in space where he is more likely to do more damage. Running sweeps on 3rd-and-long. Twice.

(About those sweeps: while I didn't like the message they sent, I understood them on some level. The first one came on 3rd-and-14 from Stanford's own 29 midway through the first quarter. No real need to do anything fancy there. The second time it was 3rd-and-13 from Northwestern's 47 early in the second quarter. In that situation, the case can be made for playing the field position game. Again, did I agree with staying conservative in those situations? Not necessarily. But I could see the logic...)

All of those moves left me asking myself whether the coaches trust the players right now to go out and win a game. Whether they're willing to put the ball in Kevin Hogan's hands. Whether they trust Devon Cajuste's ankle or Michael Rector's judgment. Whether they trust Conrad Ukropina to make a big kick. Whether they trust the offensive line to win the trenches.

Then again, players have to earn a coach's trust, too. It's a two-way street. Players have to show they can handle what they're being tasked with. And based on what you've seen to this point, how much do you really trust them? Seems like Stanford's most trust-worthy player right now is Alex Robinson. The punter.

When there is trust between coaches and players, good things can happen. Remember the end of the first half of Super Bowl XLIX? New England had scored a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead with 31 seconds left. Seattle could have just kneeled down, run out the clock, and gone to the locker room.

Instead, the Seahawks went for a score. They were aggressive. They drove 80 yards in five plays. And they were rewarded with a game-tying touchdown with two seconds remaining. Seattle trusted their players to get it done, and they got a key score at a key time.

Now, contrast that with how that game actually ended. Pete Carroll and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (remember watching him lead Wisconsin to a tie against the Card at Stanford Stadium in 1995?) can defend the indefensible call all they want. But in a situation tailor-made for Marshawn Lynch, they did not trust their best player for that situation with the game -- hell, not just any game, the Super Bowl -- on the line. You know how that story ended.

On some level, we’re all armchair coaches. That’s why you're reading this, right? Isn't that why The Bootleg is here? And while I admit I'm a bit of an armchair coach too, I'll still readily admit that I don’t have anywhere near all the information that the head coach does. He knows exactly what the game plan is. He knows exactly what the film shows. He knows exactly what his staff thinks. He knows exactly what the trainer knows. He also knows that a team that doesn't have trust doesn't have a chance to win.

I hope I'm wrong. I really, really hope I'm wrong. I hope this is just the standard overreacting everybody does if their team loses its opener. But watching that result last Saturday left me questioning whether this staff truly trusts its players right now to go out there and win, and which players can really be trusted in the first place.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

I just had to ask what could possibly go wrong last week, didn't I? Lesson re-learned: don't ask scary questions if you're afraid of the answers...

Talk about a worst-case scenario for the defensive line? Doesn't get much more dire than losing Harrison Phillips for the year. Was really looking forward to seeing that young man flourish. All the best to him and his recovery...

Scary thought: Northwestern looked much faster than they did last year. Scarier thought: they looked faster than Stanford for much of the game. Scariest thought: there are at least seven teams left on the Card's schedule that are faster than Northwestern...

Based on their respective results this past weekend, something tells me Cal can't wait to head down to Texas to play the Longhorns next weekend...

I don't know what stunned me more from Pullman: watching Portland State beat Washington State, or actually seeing a Mike Leach-coached team go under center, use play-action, and -- gasp! -- run the ball...

That's what the Cougars need to do, by the way. And that was the big difference between them and Cal last year. The Bears had a rushing attack, so they were able to diversify their offense and keep their quarterback healthy. The Cougars did not, so their offense was one-dimensional and their quarterback took one hit too many...

Speaking of taking one hit too many, Vernon Adams' debut in Eugene ended prematurely. He'll need to have better self-preservation instincts from here out...

By the way, Eastern Washington is fun to watch! Cooper Kupp may have made some NFL money with that performance last week. Might have to keep an eye on what's happening on the red turf...

Colorado fans can blame the officiating crew all they want for the debacle at the end of that game in Hawaii. They should be more upset about the debacles their team committed (allowing a blocked punt that led to Hawaii's first score, throwing a pick at the Hawaii 12-yard line) at the start of that game...

Josh Rosen had the best debut I’ve seen for a Pac-12 quarterback since, well, UCLA's Ben Olson. His 2006 performance against Utah (25-33-318, 3 TD, 0 INT) was even better than his numbers. It was jaw-dropping to watch. Whatever happened to that guy, by the way?

Eddie Vanderdoes is done for the year. The Bruins are going to miss that guy...

Look, I was every bit as impressed by Texas A&M as many of you were. But having them ranked Number 16? While Arizona State goes from Number 15 to the Also Receiving Votes category? Methinks the Sun Devils were penalized too harshly...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… I should probably wait until this Saturday's results in East Lansing just to be sure, but I think it's safe to skip ahead and start focusing on that Ohio State-Michigan State matchup on November 14...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but… when it comes to those two San Antonio high school football players who assaulted that official, please do not ask for the context surrounding the act. There is nothing -- nothing! -- that official could have done that would have justified that happening...

Shameless plug alert #1… busy week ahead for me on the Pac-12 Networks...including calling #2 Stanford women's soccer against Oklahoma this Sunday on The Farm! Can't wait...

Shameless plug alert #2… I am pleased to announce the debut of my new podcast! \"The TreeCast with Troy Clardy\" will come your way on Tuesdays and Fridays during the football season. Download it via the Cardinal Sports Radio app from VSporto. We'll have guests, we'll talk Stanford sports, we'll have fun. If you missed Tuesday's show, get it now. Looking forward to Friday's show!


The 2015 season marks Troy Clardy’s 23rd year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. Troy also calls baseball, softball, and soccer games for the Pac-12 Network. In its 14th season of Cardinal commentary, Clardy’s Corner appears Wednesdays during the college football regular season on TheBootleg.com. His “TreeCast with Troy Clardy” podcast is available for download via the Cardinal Sports Radio app from VSporto on Tuesdays and Fridays. 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)!

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