Clardy's Corner: Snap Decisions

Think Stanford's QB competition is over? You might need to think again. Clardy's Corner kicks off its 15th season on The Bootleg by going under center.



Yes, Ryan Burns will be taking Stanford's first snaps of the year in Friday's opener against Kansas State. But I wouldn't call him the winner of the 2016 Stanford Quarterback Derby.

After all, the race isn't over. Hell, we haven't even hit the mountain stages yet.

After making the announcement last week, Cardinal coach David Shaw was quick to note that Keller Chryst will see significant time at quarterback as well, not only because Chryst brings a different skill set to the table, but also because, according to Shaw, the competition to be QB1 was a tight one right from the jump.

Above all, I would expect to see a healthy dose of both Burns and Chryst because Shaw's evaluation of the quarterback position never ends. It's ongoing. And, barring any extraordinary circumstances, I suspect that will be reflected in the playing time both Burns and Chryst receive during the year.

We saw a similar situation when Josh Nunes was named the starter in 2012, replacing some guy named Andrew Luck. When the season rolled around, Nunes showed occasional flashes, but nowhere near the consistency that I'm sure Shaw would have preferred. And he left the door open for a youngster named Kevin Hogan to see more playing time, then seize the job for good by season's end.

As Shaw continued his evaluation process, he saw Hogan coming on strong, then made the switch when he felt the time was right. He wasn't going to force his evaluation process into a box, rigidly adhere to an arbitrary deadline, and hold to it come hell or high water. He let the situation present itself from week to week, and went from there. That seemed to work out for the best, as we all spent that December planning for Pasadena.

So just because Burns will take the first snaps, that doesn't necessarily mean he'll take all of the most crucial snaps throughout the year. And if both Burns and Chryst contribute, make the most of their chances, move the ball, and help the team win, that's not a bad thing.

I'm sure you've heard that old football saying: "when you have two quarterbacks, you really have none." That can be true, but sometimes, that's not the case. In 1995, Brad Otton and Kyle Wachholz took USC to the Rose Bowl. Wachholz led the Trojans to a comeback win over the Cardinal that year that I still have problems processing.

For a happier example, look at what Stanford did four years later, with Joe Borchard coming on for Todd Husak in special situations. I will take what Borchard did against UCLA that year (15-of-19, 324 yards, 4 TDs, 74 yards rushing) to my grave with me. That's still one of the most incredible exhibitions of quarterbacking I've ever seen in person. Husak was fantastic that year, but Borchard did a lot of other great things too, and Y2K began with all of us at the Rose Bowl.

That said, you can completely blow it with a rotating quarterback system, too. I thought the Card stunted their offensive growth and rhythm when Alex Loukas came in to spell Tavita Pritchard at times in 2008. And the textbook example of how NOT to handle a two-quarterback system is provided by Tom Landry himself, who alternated Roger Staubach and Craig Morton on every snap one day in 1971.

Still, you don't necessarily need one guy to be The Guy. This works at running back, too. When the critics and worriers (the cool kids call those people "the haters") wondered how the Cardinal were going to replace Toby Gerhart, Stanford trotted out Stepfan Taylor, Anthony Wilkerson, Tyler Gaffney, and Jeremy Stewart. Those four rushed for more yards and scored one less touchdown in 2010 then Gerhart did by himself the year before. More effective, and perhaps more efficient.

Now, if either Burns or Chryst lights it up, puts a stranglehold on the job, and keeps putting the Card in the win column, well, I'm sure David Shaw will take that, too.

But no matter who takes the snaps (and when), the tasks will be the same: process information quickly, diagnose potential problems, arrive at the correct decision, and make plays. Shaw has always asked all of those things from his quarterbacks. But around the rest of college football, most coaches don't even bother with the first three items from their signal-callers.

In college football, for the most part, the quarterback doesn't necessarily need to think. All of that is done for him. After the offense rushes into formation, the coaches upstairs see what the defense looks like, then rush a play call down to the sideline, which is relayed to the team, sometimes via some funny-looking cue card with a bunch of pictures on it that the announcers make fun of. The quarterback's hardest work actually comes after the snap.

That's how it works in college. Not so in the NFL, where the battle is often won before the ball is snapped.

Remember during the run-up to the NFL scouting combine when Jared Goff's hand size suddenly became an issue? I do. And it was one of the dumbest things I'd ever heard. I don't care about a quarterback's hand size, and I seriously doubt that anyone who knows how pro football works truly cares about that, either.

Here's what I wanted to know about Goff: how will he handle the line of scrimmage? Can he change a bad play into a good one? I guarantee you Jeff Fisher and the Los Angeles Rams' offensive braintrust is much more worried about that than what size Isotoners to get Goff for Christmas. Those answers are what dictate the success -- or, more often, the failure -- of all quarterbacks on the NFL level.

Same thing is at work at Stanford. Few college programs, if any, put as much on its quarterback's plate then the Cardinal. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anywhere else that asks its signal-callers to spit out up to three different plays in the huddle, then choose the best one AFTER going to the line of scrimmage and quickly seeing that what they expected in the huddle is not what the defense is showing.

It's a heavy responsibility, one of many that are unique to Stanford Football. But in the grand scheme of things, whether it's Ryan Burns or Keller Chryst taking snaps, as long as they know how to hand the ball off to Christian McCaffrey, the Cardinal, in all likelihood, will be just fine once again this season.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

The Stanford player I can't wait to see this year? You mean the one not named Christian McCaffrey? That's easy: Solomon Thomas. In the spring game, he looked like the 1972 version of Mean Joe Greene. I can't wait to watch Quenton Meeks, either...

Speaking of the spring game, I posted a picture of the crowd at Cagan Stadium on my Facebook page. Cagan, of course, is where Stanford's soccer and lacrosse teams play. Someone posted: "Not as big of a crowd as they get in the SEC, huh? Wow"...I quickly reminded him that the good news is that we always sell out our Rose Bowl allotment every year in record time...

Yes, the Card's schedule is a real gauntlet, especially the first six games. But even though that road trip to Washington will have a more direct impact on Stanford's place in the Pac-12 race, the most dangerous game on that schedule to me is the game at UCLA. They want to beat Stanford. Badly. (mostly because they want to be Stanford. Badly. This topic may deserve its own Corner)...

When I wear my "Stanford Alum" hat, I can't root for USC. But since the Trojans are playing Alabama this week, I'm breaking out my "Back The Pac" hat in a big, big way...

The closer I got to Cal's season opener, the fewer questions I had about their offense...and the more questions I had about their defense. After I watched Cal & Hawaii combine to put 82 points on the scoreboard, neither of those trends have changed...

Something to keep in mind on the Bears' trip to Australia and the lasting effects it could have on their season: after the Denver Broncos went to Japan to play a preseason game in 1995, I remember talking to a few of those players later. They revealed that it took them about two months to get their bodies back on track from that trip. Sure, we know much more about the human body and how to optimize athletic performance now than we did two decades ago. But it's still something to watch...

Washington's getting a lot of hype, aren't they? On paper, there are enough things to like (defense, Myles Gaskin, tough home crowd). And they'll probably get off to a good start, like they always do. But will they still be a factor by the time the World Series starts? Usually, that answer has been no...

I'm not just saying this because I call games for the Pac-12 Network (though it doesn't hurt!), but carve out some time to watch Washington State host Eastern Washington. You know about Coug QB Luke Falk and his weapons. But if you don't know about Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp, you will...

Speaking of the Pac-12 Network, it is an awesome thrill to be back with them for a third season. Already knee deep into the soccer seasons...had fun last weekend calling two results for Stanford men's soccer that, quite honestly, I wasn't expecting. And since I'll be in Eugene on Friday night calling Oregon women's soccer while the Cardinal are kicking off the season against Kansas State, I am gladly taking suggestions on places in Eugene where I can duck in and watch the second half of Stanford's game...

The SEC apologists will tell you that in Week 1 of the season, the Pac-12 is playing four non-FBS opponents, while the SEC is playing none. However, a complete look at the schedules will tell you that for the entire season, the Pac-12 plays eight non-FBS opponents, while the SEC plays 14. Always look at the bigger picture, folks. Always...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... all I will say about the reaction to the Colin Kaepernick situation (on this forum, anyway) is this: as uncomfortable as it may be to watch play out in real time, it is always revealing to see which people are willing to approach complex social issues with nuance, which people are willing to use critical thinking skills to solve those problems, and who just simply can't be bothered and would rather yell out the usual talking points that have nothing to do with the real issues at hand...

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

The 2016 season marks Troy Clardy’s 24th year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. Troy also calls baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse games for the Pac-12 Network, and was the sideline reporter for the Stanford football radio network's broadcast of the 2016 Rose Bowl. In its 15th 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, follow him on Twitter @TroyClardy, or Like him on Facebook.






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

\r\n

Yes, Ryan Burns will be taking Stanford's first snaps of the year in Friday's opener against Kansas State. But I wouldn't call him the winner of the 2016 Stanford Quarterback Derby.

\r\n\r\n

After all, the race isn't over. Hell, we haven't even hit the mountain stages yet.

\r\n\r\n

After making the announcement last week, Cardinal coach David Shaw was quick to note that Keller Chryst will see significant time at quarterback as well, not only because Chryst brings a different skill set to the table, but also because, according to Shaw, the competition to be QB1 was a tight one right from the jump.

\r\n\r\n

Above all, I would expect to see a healthy dose of both Burns and Chryst because Shaw's evaluation of the quarterback position never ends. It's ongoing. And, barring any extraordinary circumstances, I suspect that will be reflected in the playing time both Burns and Chryst receive during the year.

\r\n\r\n

We saw a similar situation when Josh Nunes was named the starter in 2012, replacing some guy named Andrew Luck. When the season rolled around, Nunes showed occasional flashes, but nowhere near the consistency that I'm sure Shaw would have preferred. And he left the door open for a youngster named Kevin Hogan to see more playing time, then seize the job for good by season's end.

\r\n\r\n

As Shaw continued his evaluation process, he saw Hogan coming on strong, then made the switch when he felt the time was right. He wasn't going to force his evaluation process into a box, rigidly adhere to an arbitrary deadline, and hold to it come hell or high water. He let the situation present itself from week to week, and went from there. That seemed to work out for the best, as we all spent that December planning for Pasadena.

\r\n\r\n

So just because Burns will take the first snaps, that doesn't necessarily mean he'll take all of the most crucial snaps throughout the year. And if both Burns and Chryst contribute, make the most of their chances, move the ball, and help the team win, that's not a bad thing.

\r\n\r\n

I'm sure you've heard that old football saying: \"when you have two quarterbacks, you really have none.\" That can be true, but sometimes, that's not the case. In 1995, Brad Otton and Kyle Wachholz took USC to the Rose Bowl. Wachholz led the Trojans to a comeback win over the Cardinal that year that I still have problems processing.

\r\n\r\n

For a happier example, look at what Stanford did four years later, with Joe Borchard coming on for Todd Husak in special situations. I will take what Borchard did against UCLA that year (15-of-19, 324 yards, 4 TDs, 74 yards rushing) to my grave with me. That's still one of the most incredible exhibitions of quarterbacking I've ever seen in person. Husak was fantastic that year, but Borchard did a lot of other great things too, and Y2K began with all of us at the Rose Bowl.

\r\n\r\n

That said, you can completely blow it with a rotating quarterback system, too. I thought the Card stunted their offensive growth and rhythm when Alex Loukas came in to spell Tavita Pritchard at times in 2008. And the textbook example of how NOT to handle a two-quarterback system is provided by Tom Landry himself, who alternated Roger Staubach and Craig Morton on every snap one day in 1971.

\r\n\r\n

Still, you don't necessarily need one guy to be The Guy. This works at running back, too. When the critics and worriers (the cool kids call those people \"the haters\") wondered how the Cardinal were going to replace Toby Gerhart, Stanford trotted out Stepfan Taylor, Anthony Wilkerson, Tyler Gaffney, and Jeremy Stewart. Those four rushed for more yards and scored one less touchdown in 2010 then Gerhart did by himself the year before. More effective, and perhaps more efficient.

\r\n\r\n

Now, if either Burns or Chryst lights it up, puts a stranglehold on the job, and keeps putting the Card in the win column, well, I'm sure David Shaw will take that, too.

\r\n\r\n

But no matter who takes the snaps (and when), the tasks will be the same: process information quickly, diagnose potential problems, arrive at the correct decision, and make plays. Shaw has always asked all of those things from his quarterbacks. But around the rest of college football, most coaches don't even bother with the first three items from their signal-callers.

\r\n\r\n

In college football, for the most part, the quarterback doesn't necessarily need to think. All of that is done for him. After the offense rushes into formation, the coaches upstairs see what the defense looks like, then rush a play call down to the sideline, which is relayed to the team, sometimes via some funny-looking cue card with a bunch of pictures on it that the announcers make fun of. The quarterback's hardest work actually comes after the snap.

\r\n\r\n

That's how it works in college. Not so in the NFL, where the battle is often won before the ball is snapped.

\r\n\r\n

Remember during the run-up to the NFL scouting combine when Jared Goff's hand size suddenly became an issue? I do. And it was one of the dumbest things I'd ever heard. I don't care about a quarterback's hand size, and I seriously doubt that anyone who knows how pro football works truly cares about that, either.

\r\n\r\n

Here's what I wanted to know about Goff: how will he handle the line of scrimmage? Can he change a bad play into a good one? I guarantee you Jeff Fisher and the Los Angeles Rams' offensive braintrust is much more worried about that than what size Isotoners to get Goff for Christmas. Those answers are what dictate the success -- or, more often, the failure -- of all quarterbacks on the NFL level.

\r\n\r\n

Same thing is at work at Stanford. Few college programs, if any, put as much on its quarterback's plate then the Cardinal. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anywhere else that asks its signal-callers to spit out up to three different plays in the huddle, then choose the best one AFTER going to the line of scrimmage and quickly seeing that what they expected in the huddle is not what the defense is showing.

\r\n\r\n

It's a heavy responsibility, one of many that are unique to Stanford Football. But in the grand scheme of things, whether it's Ryan Burns or Keller Chryst taking snaps, as long as they know how to hand the ball off to Christian McCaffrey, the Cardinal, in all likelihood, will be just fine once again this season.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

\r\n\r\n

The Stanford player I can't wait to see this year? You mean the one not named Christian McCaffrey? That's easy: Solomon Thomas. In the spring game, he looked like the 1972 version of Mean Joe Greene. I can't wait to watch Quenton Meeks, either...

\r\n\r\n

Speaking of the spring game, I posted a picture of the crowd at Cagan Stadium on my Facebook page. Cagan, of course, is where Stanford's soccer and lacrosse teams play. Someone posted: \"Not as big of a crowd as they get in the SEC, huh? Wow\"...I quickly reminded him that the good news is that we always sell out our Rose Bowl allotment every year in record time...

\r\n\r\n

Yes, the Card's schedule is a real gauntlet, especially the first six games. But even though that road trip to Washington will have a more direct impact on Stanford's place in the Pac-12 race, the most dangerous game on that schedule to me is the game at UCLA. They want to beat Stanford. Badly. (mostly because they want to be Stanford. Badly. This topic may deserve its own Corner)...

\r\n\r\n

When I wear my \"Stanford Alum\" hat, I can't root for USC. But since the Trojans are playing Alabama this week, I'm breaking out my \"Back The Pac\" hat in a big, big way...

\r\n\r\n

The closer I got to Cal's season opener, the fewer questions I had about their offense...and the more questions I had about their defense. After I watched Cal & Hawaii combine to put 82 points on the scoreboard, neither of those trends have changed...

\r\n\r\n

Something to keep in mind on the Bears' trip to Australia and the lasting effects it could have on their season: after the Denver Broncos went to Japan to play a preseason game in 1995, I remember talking to a few of those players later. They revealed that it took them about two months to get their bodies back on track from that trip. Sure, we know much more about the human body and how to optimize athletic performance now than we did two decades ago. But it's still something to watch...

\r\n\r\n

Washington's getting a lot of hype, aren't they? On paper, there are enough things to like (defense, Myles Gaskin, tough home crowd). And they'll probably get off to a good start, like they always do. But will they still be a factor by the time the World Series starts? Usually, that answer has been no...

\r\n\r\n

I'm not just saying this because I call games for the Pac-12 Network (though it doesn't hurt!), but carve out some time to watch Washington State host Eastern Washington. You know about Coug QB Luke Falk and his weapons. But if you don't know about Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp, you will...

\r\n\r\n

Speaking of the Pac-12 Network, it is an awesome thrill to be back with them for a third season. Already knee deep into the soccer seasons...had fun last weekend calling two results for Stanford men's soccer that, quite honestly, I wasn't expecting. And since I'll be in Eugene on Friday night calling Oregon women's soccer while the Cardinal are kicking off the season against Kansas State, I am gladly taking suggestions on places in Eugene where I can duck in and watch the second half of Stanford's game...

\r\n\r\n

The SEC apologists will tell you that in Week 1 of the season, the Pac-12 is playing four non-FBS opponents, while the SEC is playing none. However, a complete look at the schedules will tell you that for the entire season, the Pac-12 plays eight non-FBS opponents, while the SEC plays 14. Always look at the bigger picture, folks. Always...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... all I will say about the reaction to the Colin Kaepernick situation (on this forum, anyway) is this: as uncomfortable as it may be to watch play out in real time, it is always revealing to see which people are willing to approach complex social issues with nuance, which people are willing to use critical thinking skills to solve those problems, and who just simply can't be bothered and would rather yell out the usual talking points that have nothing to do with the real issues at hand...

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

The 2016 season marks Troy Clardy’s 24th year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. Troy also calls baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse games for the Pac-12 Network, and was the sideline reporter for the Stanford football radio network's broadcast of the 2016 Rose Bowl. In its 15th 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, follow him on Twitter @TroyClardy, or Like him on Facebook.

\r\n

\r\n




\r\n

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

Yes, Ryan Burns will be taking Stanford's first snaps of the year in Friday's opener against Kansas State. But I wouldn't call him the winner of the 2016 Stanford Quarterback Derby.

After all, the race isn't over. Hell, we haven't even hit the mountain stages yet.

After making the announcement last week, Cardinal coach David Shaw was quick to note that Keller Chryst will see significant time at quarterback as well, not only because Chryst brings a different skill set to the table, but also because, according to Shaw, the competition to be QB1 was a tight one right from the jump.

Above all, I would expect to see a healthy dose of both Burns and Chryst because Shaw's evaluation of the quarterback position never ends. It's ongoing. And, barring any extraordinary circumstances, I suspect that will be reflected in the playing time both Burns and Chryst receive during the year.

We saw a similar situation when Josh Nunes was named the starter in 2012, replacing some guy named Andrew Luck. When the season rolled around, Nunes showed occasional flashes, but nowhere near the consistency that I'm sure Shaw would have preferred. And he left the door open for a youngster named Kevin Hogan to see more playing time, then seize the job for good by season's end.

As Shaw continued his evaluation process, he saw Hogan coming on strong, then made the switch when he felt the time was right. He wasn't going to force his evaluation process into a box, rigidly adhere to an arbitrary deadline, and hold to it come hell or high water. He let the situation present itself from week to week, and went from there. That seemed to work out for the best, as we all spent that December planning for Pasadena.

So just because Burns will take the first snaps, that doesn't necessarily mean he'll take all of the most crucial snaps throughout the year. And if both Burns and Chryst contribute, make the most of their chances, move the ball, and help the team win, that's not a bad thing.

I'm sure you've heard that old football saying: \"when you have two quarterbacks, you really have none.\" That can be true, but sometimes, that's not the case. In 1995, Brad Otton and Kyle Wachholz took USC to the Rose Bowl. Wachholz led the Trojans to a comeback win over the Cardinal that year that I still have problems processing.

For a happier example, look at what Stanford did four years later, with Joe Borchard coming on for Todd Husak in special situations. I will take what Borchard did against UCLA that year (15-of-19, 324 yards, 4 TDs, 74 yards rushing) to my grave with me. That's still one of the most incredible exhibitions of quarterbacking I've ever seen in person. Husak was fantastic that year, but Borchard did a lot of other great things too, and Y2K began with all of us at the Rose Bowl.

That said, you can completely blow it with a rotating quarterback system, too. I thought the Card stunted their offensive growth and rhythm when Alex Loukas came in to spell Tavita Pritchard at times in 2008. And the textbook example of how NOT to handle a two-quarterback system is provided by Tom Landry himself, who alternated Roger Staubach and Craig Morton on every snap one day in 1971.

Still, you don't necessarily need one guy to be The Guy. This works at running back, too. When the critics and worriers (the cool kids call those people \"the haters\") wondered how the Cardinal were going to replace Toby Gerhart, Stanford trotted out Stepfan Taylor, Anthony Wilkerson, Tyler Gaffney, and Jeremy Stewart. Those four rushed for more yards and scored one less touchdown in 2010 then Gerhart did by himself the year before. More effective, and perhaps more efficient.

Now, if either Burns or Chryst lights it up, puts a stranglehold on the job, and keeps putting the Card in the win column, well, I'm sure David Shaw will take that, too.

But no matter who takes the snaps (and when), the tasks will be the same: process information quickly, diagnose potential problems, arrive at the correct decision, and make plays. Shaw has always asked all of those things from his quarterbacks. But around the rest of college football, most coaches don't even bother with the first three items from their signal-callers.

In college football, for the most part, the quarterback doesn't necessarily need to think. All of that is done for him. After the offense rushes into formation, the coaches upstairs see what the defense looks like, then rush a play call down to the sideline, which is relayed to the team, sometimes via some funny-looking cue card with a bunch of pictures on it that the announcers make fun of. The quarterback's hardest work actually comes after the snap.

That's how it works in college. Not so in the NFL, where the battle is often won before the ball is snapped.

Remember during the run-up to the NFL scouting combine when Jared Goff's hand size suddenly became an issue? I do. And it was one of the dumbest things I'd ever heard. I don't care about a quarterback's hand size, and I seriously doubt that anyone who knows how pro football works truly cares about that, either.

Here's what I wanted to know about Goff: how will he handle the line of scrimmage? Can he change a bad play into a good one? I guarantee you Jeff Fisher and the Los Angeles Rams' offensive braintrust is much more worried about that than what size Isotoners to get Goff for Christmas. Those answers are what dictate the success -- or, more often, the failure -- of all quarterbacks on the NFL level.

Same thing is at work at Stanford. Few college programs, if any, put as much on its quarterback's plate then the Cardinal. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anywhere else that asks its signal-callers to spit out up to three different plays in the huddle, then choose the best one AFTER going to the line of scrimmage and quickly seeing that what they expected in the huddle is not what the defense is showing.

It's a heavy responsibility, one of many that are unique to Stanford Football. But in the grand scheme of things, whether it's Ryan Burns or Keller Chryst taking snaps, as long as they know how to hand the ball off to Christian McCaffrey, the Cardinal, in all likelihood, will be just fine once again this season.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

The Stanford player I can't wait to see this year? You mean the one not named Christian McCaffrey? That's easy: Solomon Thomas. In the spring game, he looked like the 1972 version of Mean Joe Greene. I can't wait to watch Quenton Meeks, either...

Speaking of the spring game, I posted a picture of the crowd at Cagan Stadium on my Facebook page. Cagan, of course, is where Stanford's soccer and lacrosse teams play. Someone posted: \"Not as big of a crowd as they get in the SEC, huh? Wow\"...I quickly reminded him that the good news is that we always sell out our Rose Bowl allotment every year in record time...

Yes, the Card's schedule is a real gauntlet, especially the first six games. But even though that road trip to Washington will have a more direct impact on Stanford's place in the Pac-12 race, the most dangerous game on that schedule to me is the game at UCLA. They want to beat Stanford. Badly. (mostly because they want to be Stanford. Badly. This topic may deserve its own Corner)...

When I wear my \"Stanford Alum\" hat, I can't root for USC. But since the Trojans are playing Alabama this week, I'm breaking out my \"Back The Pac\" hat in a big, big way...

The closer I got to Cal's season opener, the fewer questions I had about their offense...and the more questions I had about their defense. After I watched Cal & Hawaii combine to put 82 points on the scoreboard, neither of those trends have changed...

Something to keep in mind on the Bears' trip to Australia and the lasting effects it could have on their season: after the Denver Broncos went to Japan to play a preseason game in 1995, I remember talking to a few of those players later. They revealed that it took them about two months to get their bodies back on track from that trip. Sure, we know much more about the human body and how to optimize athletic performance now than we did two decades ago. But it's still something to watch...

Washington's getting a lot of hype, aren't they? On paper, there are enough things to like (defense, Myles Gaskin, tough home crowd). And they'll probably get off to a good start, like they always do. But will they still be a factor by the time the World Series starts? Usually, that answer has been no...

I'm not just saying this because I call games for the Pac-12 Network (though it doesn't hurt!), but carve out some time to watch Washington State host Eastern Washington. You know about Coug QB Luke Falk and his weapons. But if you don't know about Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp, you will...

Speaking of the Pac-12 Network, it is an awesome thrill to be back with them for a third season. Already knee deep into the soccer seasons...had fun last weekend calling two results for Stanford men's soccer that, quite honestly, I wasn't expecting. And since I'll be in Eugene on Friday night calling Oregon women's soccer while the Cardinal are kicking off the season against Kansas State, I am gladly taking suggestions on places in Eugene where I can duck in and watch the second half of Stanford's game...

The SEC apologists will tell you that in Week 1 of the season, the Pac-12 is playing four non-FBS opponents, while the SEC is playing none. However, a complete look at the schedules will tell you that for the entire season, the Pac-12 plays eight non-FBS opponents, while the SEC plays 14. Always look at the bigger picture, folks. Always...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... all I will say about the reaction to the Colin Kaepernick situation (on this forum, anyway) is this: as uncomfortable as it may be to watch play out in real time, it is always revealing to see which people are willing to approach complex social issues with nuance, which people are willing to use critical thinking skills to solve those problems, and who just simply can't be bothered and would rather yell out the usual talking points that have nothing to do with the real issues at hand...

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

The 2016 season marks Troy Clardy’s 24th year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. Troy also calls baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse games for the Pac-12 Network, and was the sideline reporter for the Stanford football radio network's broadcast of the 2016 Rose Bowl. In its 15th 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, follow him on Twitter @TroyClardy, or Like him on Facebook.






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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