Clardy's Corner: For The Win

The object of the game is to score more points than the other team. So why, at the game's most crucial moment, do many coaches believe that one point is better than two?



With 47 seconds left in regulation last Sunday, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr found Seth Roberts from ten yards out, bringing the Raiders within one point of the New Orleans Saints. But instead of kicking the extra point and going to overtime, the Raiders went for two points and the win.

Carr sent a fade to Michael Crabtree, who made the catch. Oakland won, 35-34.

I loved the call to go for two. Loved it. It was something I could picture the old-school Raiders doing, with Bill King providing the dramatic soundtrack (although my man Greg Papa is no slouch during dramatic games, either). Even if Oakland hadn't converted and lost the game, I still would have been completely on board.

It worked for the Raiders. In a similar situation, the BYU Cougars were not as fortunate. With 18 seconds left in regulation last Saturday, BYU QB Taysom Hill scored from seven yards out, bringing the Cougars within one point of the Utah Utes. But, like the Raiders, instead of kicking the extra point and going to overtime, BYU went for two points and the win.

Hill tried a quarterback draw, but the Utes stuffed him short of the goal line. BYU lost, 20-19.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio each rolled the dice. No decision was, in my mind, any gutsier than the other. Actually, I didn't think either of those choices were "gutsy" at all. And no decision was, in my mind, any worse than the other.

But while Del Rio's call was front page news, Sitake's choice didn't resonate much beyond the Beehive State. Why? Well, because Del Rio's gamble paid off. And mostly because the NFL takes top billing throughout much of the country, including the Bay Area.

But much of it is also because it seems that, in an era when we've become conditioned to watching coaches coach not to lose, it's almost a shock to the system to witness a coach coaching to win.

Last year, after Washington State scored a last-second touchdown against Oregon in Eugene, I was in my living room, pleading for Mike Leach to go for two and the win. He didn't. Luckily for the Cougs, they still eventually came away with that one in overtime. But it's beyond me why coaches don't go for two more often with the game on the line.

Which brings me to David Shaw. The same David Shaw who has now tied John Ralston for the second-most wins by a Stanford Football head coach. The same David Shaw with three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowl wins under his belt. And, yes, the same David Shaw who will bring out the punt team from his opponent's 37-yard line.

Would that David Shaw have made the same call Jack Del Rio did? When asked on Tuesday at his weekly press conference, Shaw chuckled, "You know me better than that!"

That means no, he would not have gone for two.

"But I love the fact that Jack did it," Shaw continued. "Just because I don't do something doesn't mean I don't appreciate the way other people do their [jobs]. And sometimes you have to do things like that."

Later, I asked Shaw what variables a coach considers when weighing whether to kick for overtime or go for the win. "I'll typically play the percentages," he admitted. "I love going into overtime. I love our defensive philosophy and the way we play in the red zone, and I love our offensive philosophy and the way we play in the red zone. So, for me, I'll typically say let's take it to overtime. Over the years, those have been two of our strengths, the way we play red zone offense and defense.

"But I do recognize there are times when [a coach might be thinking] 'we're having a tough time stopping these guys.' Or 'we've seized momentum and we have a perfect two-point play to end the game in regulation.' I understand that aspect of it. I'll never fault anybody who does it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't mind extending the game and taking it to overtime."

So, there you have it. If Stanford scores with seconds left and the Card are down by one, expect Conrad Ukropina and the extra point unit to come out and kick for overtime. While you and I might be clamoring for Stanford to try for two, Shaw seems content to trust his players in overtime. His Cardinal are 3-2 in OT, which, in a sense, is playing the percentages.

(actually, if the officials had correctly called Stepfan Taylor's score on second-and-goal at Notre Dame in 2012, Shaw's OT record would be 4-1. That game still irritates me, by the way. I can't wait to make that road trip on October 15. Back to the Corner...)

ESPN's statistical bureau tweeted that Oakland had a 51% chance of winning the game if they had kicked the extra point, and just a 44% chance of winning by going for two. Jack Del Rio tweeted back, "good thing ESPN isn't coaching the Raiders."

So not only did Del Rio win a football game, he won Twitter, too. And in this day and age, both of those things are equally important, right?

During every game, head coaches are caught in the tug-of-war between managing by the book and throwing the book out of the window. It's Analytics vs. Instinct. And while the percentages and the data may favor one outcome, the flow of the game and the situation may dictate a completely different message. And many times, in that situation, a critical last-minute touchdown means the offense has the momentum, and the defense is on its heels.

That's why, as I see it, an offense has little to lose by going for two. Well, little to lose except the game (ask BYU and Kalani Sitake for their thoughts). So it's easy for me to say that going for two is generally the better option, because my job isn't directly at stake if that two-point conversion fails. And it's precisely why coaches don't pull the trigger on potential game-winning two-point conversions as much as they probably should. A coach may not always be right, but he can never, ever be wrong.

So if Stanford scores a last-minute touchdown on Saturday to close within a point of USC, you already know what David Shaw's next move is likely to be. More importantly, you also know exactly why he's taking the option to play for overtime, instead of going for the win. Looks like perhaps the only time you'll see Stanford going for two this week is when it's trying to put an even 50 on the scoreboard against the Trojans. After all, when it comes to USC, that's Stanford's deal.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

Yes, the Pac-12 has taken its lumps. But so has the mighty SEC. Wisconsin beat LSU, but what other quality opponents has the Big 10 played? (OK, OK, Rutgers played Washington. How did that turn out?) The ACC hasn't looked particularly dominant. And while Texas may be on the way up, losses by Oklahoma and TCU ding the Big 12's early hopes. So before complaining about the Pac-12's struggles and crying that the conference doesn't look good, ask yourself a simple question: who does?

Stanford has Christian McCaffrey. USC has Adoree Jackson. You think both teams are spending extra time on punt coverage this week?

USC's new athletic director is Lynn Swann. As the former play-by-play voice of the Pittsburgh Power (the Arena Football League franchise Swann was part-owner of), am I wishing him well? Yes. As a Stanford graduate, am I wishing his teams well against the Cardinal? Not particularly, no...

The Cardinal's 13-game streak of scoring 30-plus points came to an end against Kansas State. That was the longest streak in the nation, by the way. A cause for panic? No, not in my mind...

Don't look now, but Washington has scored 40-plus points in five straight games. The Huskies' next three opponents: Portland State, Arizona, and Stanford. If that streak reaches eight straight, then I'll be impressed...

Three words for Cal-Texas this week: bet the over. Actually, you can say that for any Cal game this year...

Yes, you saw last Saturday's halftime score from Tucson correctly: Grambling 21, Arizona 3. I'll bet the Grambling band put on one of its best halftime shows ever...

Kalen Ballage. My God. I mean, sure it was against a Texas Tech defense that just refuses to tackle. But, still. My God...

In an ideal world, Colorado would be playing Michigan next Saturday instead of this Saturday. Why? Because next Saturday marks 22 years to the day when this happened...

I love what Colorado did with its depth chart this week (and why they did it). Sometimes we all forget this, but football and humor can actually coexist...

Quote Of The Week runner-up, courtesy of Mike Leach, head coach of 0-2 Washington State: "We don't like to run and hit. And this is is a game for running and hitting."

Quote Of The Week, courtesy of Brock Gutierrez, the color analyst for the Central Michigan football radio network, whose reaction to the Chippewas' stunning Hail Mary to beat Oklahoma State went like this: "TOUCHDOWN!! YOU GOTTA BE SH...........WHOOOOOOHOOHOOHOOHOO!"

I have a Stat Of The Week too, but I'm not going to reveal it until Thursday morning. On Twitter. And this stat will blow your mind...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... welcome back, Pitt-Penn State. That was fun. How come that wasn't a thing for the last 16 years again?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... if Pitt & Penn State can do it, so can you, Texas and Texas A&M...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... trust me, I'd love to see regime change in the AFC East. But while the New England Patriots find ways to come through in the clutch, the rest of that division throws up on itself. The more things change in the NFL, the more they stay the same...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... for as much ranting and raving as Jeff Fisher did about not wanting to finish 7-9 again, based on how his Los Angeles Rams looked on Monday night, I have a feeling he'd take 7-9 right now. Happily...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... watching his Hall of Fame induction speech really made me realize how much I miss Allen Iverson. He gave everything he had on the court every night. (practice? Well, that's another story...) Above all, in a sports landscape still filled with canned answers, cliches, and bland personalities, Iverson was -- and still is -- jaw-droppingly real. Refreshing to see that on full display again for a moment...

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

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

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With 47 seconds left in regulation last Sunday, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr found Seth Roberts from ten yards out, bringing the Raiders within one point of the New Orleans Saints. But instead of kicking the extra point and going to overtime, the Raiders went for two points and the win.

\r\n\r\n

Carr sent a fade to Michael Crabtree, who made the catch. Oakland won, 35-34.

\r\n\r\n

I loved the call to go for two. Loved it. It was something I could picture the old-school Raiders doing, with Bill King providing the dramatic soundtrack (although my man Greg Papa is no slouch during dramatic games, either). Even if Oakland hadn't converted and lost the game, I still would have been completely on board.

\r\n\r\n

It worked for the Raiders. In a similar situation, the BYU Cougars were not as fortunate. With 18 seconds left in regulation last Saturday, BYU QB Taysom Hill scored from seven yards out, bringing the Cougars within one point of the Utah Utes. But, like the Raiders, instead of kicking the extra point and going to overtime, BYU went for two points and the win.

\r\n\r\n

Hill tried a quarterback draw, but the Utes stuffed him short of the goal line. BYU lost, 20-19.

\r\n\r\n

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio each rolled the dice. No decision was, in my mind, any gutsier than the other. Actually, I didn't think either of those choices were \"gutsy\" at all. And no decision was, in my mind, any worse than the other.

\r\n\r\n

But while Del Rio's call was front page news, Sitake's choice didn't resonate much beyond the Beehive State. Why? Well, because Del Rio's gamble paid off. And mostly because the NFL takes top billing throughout much of the country, including the Bay Area.

\r\n\r\n

But much of it is also because it seems that, in an era when we've become conditioned to watching coaches coach not to lose, it's almost a shock to the system to witness a coach coaching to win.

\r\n\r\n

Last year, after Washington State scored a last-second touchdown against Oregon in Eugene, I was in my living room, pleading for Mike Leach to go for two and the win. He didn't. Luckily for the Cougs, they still eventually came away with that one in overtime. But it's beyond me why coaches don't go for two more often with the game on the line.

\r\n\r\n

Which brings me to David Shaw. The same David Shaw who has now tied John Ralston for the second-most wins by a Stanford Football head coach. The same David Shaw with three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowl wins under his belt. And, yes, the same David Shaw who will bring out the punt team from his opponent's 37-yard line.

\r\n\r\n

Would that David Shaw have made the same call Jack Del Rio did? When asked on Tuesday at his weekly press conference, Shaw chuckled, \"You know me better than that!\"

\r\n\r\n

That means no, he would not have gone for two.

\r\n\r\n

\"But I love the fact that Jack did it,\" Shaw continued. \"Just because I don't do something doesn't mean I don't appreciate the way other people do their [jobs]. And sometimes you have to do things like that.\"

\r\n\r\n

Later, I asked Shaw what variables a coach considers when weighing whether to kick for overtime or go for the win. \"I'll typically play the percentages,\" he admitted. \"I love going into overtime. I love our defensive philosophy and the way we play in the red zone, and I love our offensive philosophy and the way we play in the red zone. So, for me, I'll typically say let's take it to overtime. Over the years, those have been two of our strengths, the way we play red zone offense and defense.

\r\n\r\n

\"But I do recognize there are times when [a coach might be thinking] 'we're having a tough time stopping these guys.' Or 'we've seized momentum and we have a perfect two-point play to end the game in regulation.' I understand that aspect of it. I'll never fault anybody who does it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't mind extending the game and taking it to overtime.\"

\r\n\r\n

So, there you have it. If Stanford scores with seconds left and the Card are down by one, expect Conrad Ukropina and the extra point unit to come out and kick for overtime. While you and I might be clamoring for Stanford to try for two, Shaw seems content to trust his players in overtime. His Cardinal are 3-2 in OT, which, in a sense, is playing the percentages.

\r\n\r\n

(actually, if the officials had correctly called Stepfan Taylor's score on second-and-goal at Notre Dame in 2012, Shaw's OT record would be 4-1. That game still irritates me, by the way. I can't wait to make that road trip on October 15. Back to the Corner...)

\r\n\r\n

ESPN's statistical bureau tweeted that Oakland had a 51% chance of winning the game if they had kicked the extra point, and just a 44% chance of winning by going for two. Jack Del Rio tweeted back, \"good thing ESPN isn't coaching the Raiders.\"

\r\n\r\n

So not only did Del Rio win a football game, he won Twitter, too. And in this day and age, both of those things are equally important, right?

\r\n\r\n

During every game, head coaches are caught in the tug-of-war between managing by the book and throwing the book out of the window. It's Analytics vs. Instinct. And while the percentages and the data may favor one outcome, the flow of the game and the situation may dictate a completely different message. And many times, in that situation, a critical last-minute touchdown means the offense has the momentum, and the defense is on its heels.

\r\n\r\n

That's why, as I see it, an offense has little to lose by going for two. Well, little to lose except the game (ask BYU and Kalani Sitake for their thoughts). So it's easy for me to say that going for two is generally the better option, because my job isn't directly at stake if that two-point conversion fails. And it's precisely why coaches don't pull the trigger on potential game-winning two-point conversions as much as they probably should. A coach may not always be right, but he can never, ever be wrong.

\r\n\r\n

So if Stanford scores a last-minute touchdown on Saturday to close within a point of USC, you already know what David Shaw's next move is likely to be. More importantly, you also know exactly why he's taking the option to play for overtime, instead of going for the win. Looks like perhaps the only time you'll see Stanford going for two this week is when it's trying to put an even 50 on the scoreboard against the Trojans. After all, when it comes to USC, that's Stanford's deal.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

\r\n\r\n

Yes, the Pac-12 has taken its lumps. But so has the mighty SEC. Wisconsin beat LSU, but what other quality opponents has the Big 10 played? (OK, OK, Rutgers played Washington. How did that turn out?) The ACC hasn't looked particularly dominant. And while Texas may be on the way up, losses by Oklahoma and TCU ding the Big 12's early hopes. So before complaining about the Pac-12's struggles and crying that the conference doesn't look good, ask yourself a simple question: who does?

\r\n\r\n

Stanford has Christian McCaffrey. USC has Adoree Jackson. You think both teams are spending extra time on punt coverage this week?

\r\n\r\n

USC's new athletic director is Lynn Swann. As the former play-by-play voice of the Pittsburgh Power (the Arena Football League franchise Swann was part-owner of), am I wishing him well? Yes. As a Stanford graduate, am I wishing his teams well against the Cardinal? Not particularly, no...

\r\n\r\n

The Cardinal's 13-game streak of scoring 30-plus points came to an end against Kansas State. That was the longest streak in the nation, by the way. A cause for panic? No, not in my mind...

\r\n\r\n

Don't look now, but Washington has scored 40-plus points in five straight games. The Huskies' next three opponents: Portland State, Arizona, and Stanford. If that streak reaches eight straight, then I'll be impressed...

\r\n\r\n

Three words for Cal-Texas this week: bet the over. Actually, you can say that for any Cal game this year...

\r\n\r\n

Yes, you saw last Saturday's halftime score from Tucson correctly: Grambling 21, Arizona 3. I'll bet the Grambling band put on one of its best halftime shows ever...

\r\n\r\n

Kalen Ballage. My God. I mean, sure it was against a Texas Tech defense that just refuses to tackle. But, still. My God...

\r\n\r\n

In an ideal world, Colorado would be playing Michigan next Saturday instead of this Saturday. Why? Because next Saturday marks 22 years to the day when this happened...

\r\n\r\n

I love what Colorado did with its depth chart this week (and why they did it). Sometimes we all forget this, but football and humor can actually coexist...

\r\n\r\n

Quote Of The Week runner-up, courtesy of Mike Leach, head coach of 0-2 Washington State: \"We don't like to run and hit. And this is is a game for running and hitting.\"

\r\n\r\n

Quote Of The Week, courtesy of Brock Gutierrez, the color analyst for the Central Michigan football radio network, whose reaction to the Chippewas' stunning Hail Mary to beat Oklahoma State went like this: \"TOUCHDOWN!! YOU GOTTA BE SH...........WHOOOOOOHOOHOOHOOHOO!\"

\r\n\r\n

I have a Stat Of The Week too, but I'm not going to reveal it until Thursday morning. On Twitter. And this stat will blow your mind...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... welcome back, Pitt-Penn State. That was fun. How come that wasn't a thing for the last 16 years again?

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... if Pitt & Penn State can do it, so can you, Texas and Texas A&M...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... trust me, I'd love to see regime change in the AFC East. But while the New England Patriots find ways to come through in the clutch, the rest of that division throws up on itself. The more things change in the NFL, the more they stay the same...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... for as much ranting and raving as Jeff Fisher did about not wanting to finish 7-9 again, based on how his Los Angeles Rams looked on Monday night, I have a feeling he'd take 7-9 right now. Happily...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... watching his Hall of Fame induction speech really made me realize how much I miss Allen Iverson. He gave everything he had on the court every night. (practice? Well, that's another story...) Above all, in a sports landscape still filled with canned answers, cliches, and bland personalities, Iverson was -- and still is -- jaw-droppingly real. Refreshing to see that on full display again for a moment...

\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.

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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

With 47 seconds left in regulation last Sunday, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr found Seth Roberts from ten yards out, bringing the Raiders within one point of the New Orleans Saints. But instead of kicking the extra point and going to overtime, the Raiders went for two points and the win.

Carr sent a fade to Michael Crabtree, who made the catch. Oakland won, 35-34.

I loved the call to go for two. Loved it. It was something I could picture the old-school Raiders doing, with Bill King providing the dramatic soundtrack (although my man Greg Papa is no slouch during dramatic games, either). Even if Oakland hadn't converted and lost the game, I still would have been completely on board.

It worked for the Raiders. In a similar situation, the BYU Cougars were not as fortunate. With 18 seconds left in regulation last Saturday, BYU QB Taysom Hill scored from seven yards out, bringing the Cougars within one point of the Utah Utes. But, like the Raiders, instead of kicking the extra point and going to overtime, BYU went for two points and the win.

Hill tried a quarterback draw, but the Utes stuffed him short of the goal line. BYU lost, 20-19.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio each rolled the dice. No decision was, in my mind, any gutsier than the other. Actually, I didn't think either of those choices were \"gutsy\" at all. And no decision was, in my mind, any worse than the other.

But while Del Rio's call was front page news, Sitake's choice didn't resonate much beyond the Beehive State. Why? Well, because Del Rio's gamble paid off. And mostly because the NFL takes top billing throughout much of the country, including the Bay Area.

But much of it is also because it seems that, in an era when we've become conditioned to watching coaches coach not to lose, it's almost a shock to the system to witness a coach coaching to win.

Last year, after Washington State scored a last-second touchdown against Oregon in Eugene, I was in my living room, pleading for Mike Leach to go for two and the win. He didn't. Luckily for the Cougs, they still eventually came away with that one in overtime. But it's beyond me why coaches don't go for two more often with the game on the line.

Which brings me to David Shaw. The same David Shaw who has now tied John Ralston for the second-most wins by a Stanford Football head coach. The same David Shaw with three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowl wins under his belt. And, yes, the same David Shaw who will bring out the punt team from his opponent's 37-yard line.

Would that David Shaw have made the same call Jack Del Rio did? When asked on Tuesday at his weekly press conference, Shaw chuckled, \"You know me better than that!\"

That means no, he would not have gone for two.

\"But I love the fact that Jack did it,\" Shaw continued. \"Just because I don't do something doesn't mean I don't appreciate the way other people do their [jobs]. And sometimes you have to do things like that.\"

Later, I asked Shaw what variables a coach considers when weighing whether to kick for overtime or go for the win. \"I'll typically play the percentages,\" he admitted. \"I love going into overtime. I love our defensive philosophy and the way we play in the red zone, and I love our offensive philosophy and the way we play in the red zone. So, for me, I'll typically say let's take it to overtime. Over the years, those have been two of our strengths, the way we play red zone offense and defense.

\"But I do recognize there are times when [a coach might be thinking] 'we're having a tough time stopping these guys.' Or 'we've seized momentum and we have a perfect two-point play to end the game in regulation.' I understand that aspect of it. I'll never fault anybody who does it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't mind extending the game and taking it to overtime.\"

So, there you have it. If Stanford scores with seconds left and the Card are down by one, expect Conrad Ukropina and the extra point unit to come out and kick for overtime. While you and I might be clamoring for Stanford to try for two, Shaw seems content to trust his players in overtime. His Cardinal are 3-2 in OT, which, in a sense, is playing the percentages.

(actually, if the officials had correctly called Stepfan Taylor's score on second-and-goal at Notre Dame in 2012, Shaw's OT record would be 4-1. That game still irritates me, by the way. I can't wait to make that road trip on October 15. Back to the Corner...)

ESPN's statistical bureau tweeted that Oakland had a 51% chance of winning the game if they had kicked the extra point, and just a 44% chance of winning by going for two. Jack Del Rio tweeted back, \"good thing ESPN isn't coaching the Raiders.\"

So not only did Del Rio win a football game, he won Twitter, too. And in this day and age, both of those things are equally important, right?

During every game, head coaches are caught in the tug-of-war between managing by the book and throwing the book out of the window. It's Analytics vs. Instinct. And while the percentages and the data may favor one outcome, the flow of the game and the situation may dictate a completely different message. And many times, in that situation, a critical last-minute touchdown means the offense has the momentum, and the defense is on its heels.

That's why, as I see it, an offense has little to lose by going for two. Well, little to lose except the game (ask BYU and Kalani Sitake for their thoughts). So it's easy for me to say that going for two is generally the better option, because my job isn't directly at stake if that two-point conversion fails. And it's precisely why coaches don't pull the trigger on potential game-winning two-point conversions as much as they probably should. A coach may not always be right, but he can never, ever be wrong.

So if Stanford scores a last-minute touchdown on Saturday to close within a point of USC, you already know what David Shaw's next move is likely to be. More importantly, you also know exactly why he's taking the option to play for overtime, instead of going for the win. Looks like perhaps the only time you'll see Stanford going for two this week is when it's trying to put an even 50 on the scoreboard against the Trojans. After all, when it comes to USC, that's Stanford's deal.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

Yes, the Pac-12 has taken its lumps. But so has the mighty SEC. Wisconsin beat LSU, but what other quality opponents has the Big 10 played? (OK, OK, Rutgers played Washington. How did that turn out?) The ACC hasn't looked particularly dominant. And while Texas may be on the way up, losses by Oklahoma and TCU ding the Big 12's early hopes. So before complaining about the Pac-12's struggles and crying that the conference doesn't look good, ask yourself a simple question: who does?

Stanford has Christian McCaffrey. USC has Adoree Jackson. You think both teams are spending extra time on punt coverage this week?

USC's new athletic director is Lynn Swann. As the former play-by-play voice of the Pittsburgh Power (the Arena Football League franchise Swann was part-owner of), am I wishing him well? Yes. As a Stanford graduate, am I wishing his teams well against the Cardinal? Not particularly, no...

The Cardinal's 13-game streak of scoring 30-plus points came to an end against Kansas State. That was the longest streak in the nation, by the way. A cause for panic? No, not in my mind...

Don't look now, but Washington has scored 40-plus points in five straight games. The Huskies' next three opponents: Portland State, Arizona, and Stanford. If that streak reaches eight straight, then I'll be impressed...

Three words for Cal-Texas this week: bet the over. Actually, you can say that for any Cal game this year...

Yes, you saw last Saturday's halftime score from Tucson correctly: Grambling 21, Arizona 3. I'll bet the Grambling band put on one of its best halftime shows ever...

Kalen Ballage. My God. I mean, sure it was against a Texas Tech defense that just refuses to tackle. But, still. My God...

In an ideal world, Colorado would be playing Michigan next Saturday instead of this Saturday. Why? Because next Saturday marks 22 years to the day when this happened...

I love what Colorado did with its depth chart this week (and why they did it). Sometimes we all forget this, but football and humor can actually coexist...

Quote Of The Week runner-up, courtesy of Mike Leach, head coach of 0-2 Washington State: \"We don't like to run and hit. And this is is a game for running and hitting.\"

Quote Of The Week, courtesy of Brock Gutierrez, the color analyst for the Central Michigan football radio network, whose reaction to the Chippewas' stunning Hail Mary to beat Oklahoma State went like this: \"TOUCHDOWN!! YOU GOTTA BE SH...........WHOOOOOOHOOHOOHOOHOO!\"

I have a Stat Of The Week too, but I'm not going to reveal it until Thursday morning. On Twitter. And this stat will blow your mind...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... welcome back, Pitt-Penn State. That was fun. How come that wasn't a thing for the last 16 years again?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... if Pitt & Penn State can do it, so can you, Texas and Texas A&M...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... trust me, I'd love to see regime change in the AFC East. But while the New England Patriots find ways to come through in the clutch, the rest of that division throws up on itself. The more things change in the NFL, the more they stay the same...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... for as much ranting and raving as Jeff Fisher did about not wanting to finish 7-9 again, based on how his Los Angeles Rams looked on Monday night, I have a feeling he'd take 7-9 right now. Happily...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... watching his Hall of Fame induction speech really made me realize how much I miss Allen Iverson. He gave everything he had on the court every night. (practice? Well, that's another story...) Above all, in a sports landscape still filled with canned answers, cliches, and bland personalities, Iverson was -- and still is -- jaw-droppingly real. Refreshing to see that on full display again for a moment...

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

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.






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