Clardy's Corner: Same As It Ever Was

The more things change, the more things stay the same. USC learned this the hard way last week. Could UCLA be next?



Ho hum. Just another day at the office for Stanford Football.

Another edition of the Christian McCaffrey Show. Another fine performance by the Cardinal secondary. Another opponent sent hobbling out of Stanford Stadium. Another chess match convincingly won by David Shaw, whose 56 wins are now second-most in Stanford history. And another Cardinal conquest of USC.

While waiting for Shaw's postgame press conference after Stanford's 27-10 win, it struck me how routine the previous three hours had seemed. Yes, the Cardinal had trounced the Trojans with 295 yards rushing, but no one in the room was exchanging shocked looks. The feeling of "holy cow Stanford did it!" wasn't hanging over the place.

If anything, all of us in the media just looked at each other and shrugged. We had all seen this movie before.

Of course, this wasn't always the case. For decades, any Stanford win over USC in football seemed less plausible than any Hollywood ending. Consider this: between 1958 and 1990, Stanford Football beat USC three times. Total. Over a 33-season span.

Last Saturday, Stanford Football beat USC for a third time in less than one year. 364 days, to be exact. Think about that for a second.

Things have changed. Yet, still, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Oh sure, the Trojans talked a good game coming into the season. It seemed like USC football had lost its edge, and the Trojans knew it. Accordingly, the reports from Figueroa all summer were about how USC head coach Clay Helton was changing the Trojan football culture from Hollywood to Hard Hat.

Now, supposedly, USC was #AllAboutBall (it's not a philosophy unless it can be converted into a catchy hashtag). And after getting dropped on the mat by Alabama, the Trojans were going to start their rightful resurgence by beating Stanford.

But -- say it with me -- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The results for USC's new coach and new approach? In the prologue to the Stanford game, a few alarming incidents on and off the field. During the game itself, too many false starts to count. Too few players on the field for a Stanford extra point. Several questionable situational and clock management decisions. The inability to make big, game-changing plays when needed most. In short, some of the same things that have doomed the Trojans against Stanford over the last decade.

So while USC goes back to the drawing board, Stanford now faces the other team in the Pac-12 that is trying to take the Cardinal's blueprint for success and make it into its own: the UCLA Bruins. You know, the same Bruins who have lost to Stanford eight straight times.

Much was made early last week of Helton admitting that he wanted his program to be like Stanford. Not quite as much has been made about the fact that Jim Mora probably feels the same way at UCLA.

When I saw the reports this spring that the Bruins were revamping their offensive scheme to increase roles for tight ends and fullbacks, embrace more pro-style concepts, and emphasize more physicality and power than it had over the past few years, the thought immediately popped into my mind: "the Bruins are trying to be like Stanford." During the summer, the Bruins, not the Trojans, were the first team that came to my mind when I noticed how other Pac-12 teams were trying to adopt the Cardinal's philosophy for building a program and establishing a new identity.

If that's the case, can you blame them? Let's face it: for years, whether it's right or wrong, UCLA has had the reputation for being a collection of talented athletes who look good stepping off the bus, but don't exactly respond too well when things get rough.

In other words, soft.

UCLA head coach Jim Mora has been aware of this from Day One at Westwood (if not before), and has been avidly trying to change that reputation. The new elements his offense is showing seem to be the latest evolution of his vision to make the Bruins the big, bad bully on the block. And nothing would achieve that vision more than knocking off the team currently wearing that crown in the Pac-12.

As I type this at 9:55 p.m. on September 20, 2016, that team is Stanford. That said, the Card's status as the kings of the conference could change. Very quickly. Next week's battle in Seattle could rearrange everything. And who knows what other pitfalls could lay in the Cardinal's way?

If the Cardinal aren't careful, those changes could come as early as this week. We all know about Josh Rosen. Rarely has the Bruins' talent level been an issue. It's Stanford's first game on the road this season, which puts some key Cardinal players in some unfamiliar spots. And given how the recent history of this series has gone for UCLA, this game -- maybe more so than the annual battle with USC -- probably had the largest circle around it down in Westwood.

The X's and O's of this matchup will be important. But the true keys to this Saturday in Pasadena may correlate with two questions. Has UCLA changed enough to match up with Stanford physically? Has UCLA changed enough to match up with Stanford in mental toughness?

If those things don't change for the Bruins, this Saturday could be more of the same. Which, for Stanford, would be perfectly fine. While other teams change coaches, approaches, personnel, or whatever, it's business as usual for the Cardinal. And right now, business is booming.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

If you can, make it a point to catch Stanford Football's weekly press conferences live on Facebook on Tuesday mornings at 11:30. Yesterday, David Shaw gave the latest injury news, all of it good (if you're interested, he also gave the most nuanced and reasoned opinion on the national anthem protests -- and why they're happening in the first place -- that I've heard any coach give). Christian McCaffrey had a brilliant quote while talking about the importance of selling his run fakes on play-action passes and reverses ("One good fake is worth two blocks"). And you must see how Conrad Ukropina spent his summer, and what the subject of his thesis is. Impressive, powerful stuff from that young man. I get to be in the room for it, but thanks to Stanford Football and Facebook, you can see it too. Isn't modern technology wonderful?

As electric as McCaffrey is, he's not the player that has Todd Husak and me literally jumping out of our seats whenever he gets the ball. That young man is Bryce Love...

By the way, Husak is the best radio football color analyst in northern California. And it's not a close race...

Good to hear that Harrison Phillips is on track to return this week. But until we see whether he's "good" or merely "good enough", I'm not going to scratch that off my list of concerns for this week...

The Pac-12 Breakfast Tour continues this week! And I am taking suggestions. Can't wait to be in Pasadena again this Saturday. So, any good local spots in Glendale or Burbank?

No, I wasn't thrilled to hear about the violations, either. But I wasn't up in arms about it. Look, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: no college football program is 100% clean. But that's largely due to the NCAA's byzantine (and asinine) rulebook that makes it almost impossible to avoid a kid taking something here or there. And while I appreciated the immediate email from the alumni association, I thought their apologetic tone was way over the top. There is no evidence that this was an institution-wide failure. It wasn't like Stanford football players were living large like the Miami Hurricanes. Or like there was some Penn State-type stuff going on. Or Baylor. Was it dumb? Yes. But I'm not making anything bigger out of it...

Actually, I had forgotten about the violations. And I have a feeling that, until I brought it up just now, you had forgotten about them, too...

I visited with USC athletic director Lynn Swann before the game. Hadn't seen him since I left Pittsburgh. Was great to see him again. I suspect he wasn't as congenial after the game, though...

Oregon lost WR (and Olympian) Devon Allen and LT Tyrell Crosby, both for the season. How was your Monday?

I have no idea why Oregon insists on chasing points and going for two when they do. I have even less of an idea what that final play call was on their last-gasp drive. A play-action quarterback keeper? On 4th and 18?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... the big question from last week in college football seemed to be: more impressive win, Ohio State or Louisville? To me, that answer is easy. Anyone can be a hero at home. But winning on the road is almost always going to carry more weight with me. Nice job, Buckeyes...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... raise your hand if you believed all along that Jacoby Brissett would be a starting quarterback in the NFL before Jared Goff. Now put it down, because you are lying...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

You know the rules...I pick all the Pac-12 conference games, but I don't pick ones involving Stanford. Why not? Because it's my Corner and I make the rules, that's why. On with the picks...

USC @ Utah (-3). The good news for the Trojans? It gets easier after this week (Arizona State, Colorado, at Arizona, Cal on a Thursday). The bad news? They have to survive a short week and a trip to Rice-Eccles Stadium, a house of horrors for road teams. The Trojans will be game for a while, but I like Utah by 9.

Colorado @ Oregon (-10.5). The Buffs lost their best pass rusher, and QB Sefo Liufau's ankle might not be ready to go. The Ducks lost their fastest receiver and their stud left tackle, and RB Royce Freeman might not be ready to go. I still think Oregon has more (especially if Liufau is out), but I'm not comfortable about the Ducks' chances in this one. With much hesitation, I like Oregon by 15.

Cal @ Arizona State (-4). If you love defense, you're going to hate this game. Ironically, this will come down to which team's defense makes a stop. Any kind of stop. Not much confidence in this pick, either, but I like Arizona State by 8.

Washington @ Arizona (NL). The Huskies have looked like playoff contenders at home against inferior competition. How will they look against inferior competition on the road? That will be a big question. For about two-and-a-half quarters. I like Washington by 16.

Last year: 30-15 (straight-up), 23-19 (ATS).


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

Ho hum. Just another day at the office for Stanford Football.

\r\n\r\n

Another edition of the Christian McCaffrey Show. Another fine performance by the Cardinal secondary. Another opponent sent hobbling out of Stanford Stadium. Another chess match convincingly won by David Shaw, whose 56 wins are now second-most in Stanford history. And another Cardinal conquest of USC.

\r\n\r\n

While waiting for Shaw's postgame press conference after Stanford's 27-10 win, it struck me how routine the previous three hours had seemed. Yes, the Cardinal had trounced the Trojans with 295 yards rushing, but no one in the room was exchanging shocked looks. The feeling of \"holy cow Stanford did it!\" wasn't hanging over the place.

\r\n\r\n

If anything, all of us in the media just looked at each other and shrugged. We had all seen this movie before.

\r\n\r\n

Of course, this wasn't always the case. For decades, any Stanford win over USC in football seemed less plausible than any Hollywood ending. Consider this: between 1958 and 1990, Stanford Football beat USC three times. Total. Over a 33-season span.

\r\n\r\n

Last Saturday, Stanford Football beat USC for a third time in less than one year. 364 days, to be exact. Think about that for a second.

\r\n\r\n

Things have changed. Yet, still, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

\r\n\r\n

Oh sure, the Trojans talked a good game coming into the season. It seemed like USC football had lost its edge, and the Trojans knew it. Accordingly, the reports from Figueroa all summer were about how USC head coach Clay Helton was changing the Trojan football culture from Hollywood to Hard Hat.

\r\n\r\n

Now, supposedly, USC was #AllAboutBall (it's not a philosophy unless it can be converted into a catchy hashtag). And after getting dropped on the mat by Alabama, the Trojans were going to start their rightful resurgence by beating Stanford.

\r\n\r\n

But -- say it with me -- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

\r\n\r\n

The results for USC's new coach and new approach? In the prologue to the Stanford game, a few alarming incidents on and off the field. During the game itself, too many false starts to count. Too few players on the field for a Stanford extra point. Several questionable situational and clock management decisions. The inability to make big, game-changing plays when needed most. In short, some of the same things that have doomed the Trojans against Stanford over the last decade.

\r\n\r\n

So while USC goes back to the drawing board, Stanford now faces the other team in the Pac-12 that is trying to take the Cardinal's blueprint for success and make it into its own: the UCLA Bruins. You know, the same Bruins who have lost to Stanford eight straight times.

\r\n\r\n

Much was made early last week of Helton admitting that he wanted his program to be like Stanford. Not quite as much has been made about the fact that Jim Mora probably feels the same way at UCLA.

\r\n\r\n

When I saw the reports this spring that the Bruins were revamping their offensive scheme to increase roles for tight ends and fullbacks, embrace more pro-style concepts, and emphasize more physicality and power than it had over the past few years, the thought immediately popped into my mind: \"the Bruins are trying to be like Stanford.\" During the summer, the Bruins, not the Trojans, were the first team that came to my mind when I noticed how other Pac-12 teams were trying to adopt the Cardinal's philosophy for building a program and establishing a new identity.

\r\n\r\n

If that's the case, can you blame them? Let's face it: for years, whether it's right or wrong, UCLA has had the reputation for being a collection of talented athletes who look good stepping off the bus, but don't exactly respond too well when things get rough.

\r\n\r\n

In other words, soft.

\r\n\r\n

UCLA head coach Jim Mora has been aware of this from Day One at Westwood (if not before), and has been avidly trying to change that reputation. The new elements his offense is showing seem to be the latest evolution of his vision to make the Bruins the big, bad bully on the block. And nothing would achieve that vision more than knocking off the team currently wearing that crown in the Pac-12.

\r\n\r\n

As I type this at 9:55 p.m. on September 20, 2016, that team is Stanford. That said, the Card's status as the kings of the conference could change. Very quickly. Next week's battle in Seattle could rearrange everything. And who knows what other pitfalls could lay in the Cardinal's way?

\r\n\r\n

If the Cardinal aren't careful, those changes could come as early as this week. We all know about Josh Rosen. Rarely has the Bruins' talent level been an issue. It's Stanford's first game on the road this season, which puts some key Cardinal players in some unfamiliar spots. And given how the recent history of this series has gone for UCLA, this game -- maybe more so than the annual battle with USC -- probably had the largest circle around it down in Westwood.

\r\n\r\n

The X's and O's of this matchup will be important. But the true keys to this Saturday in Pasadena may correlate with two questions. Has UCLA changed enough to match up with Stanford physically? Has UCLA changed enough to match up with Stanford in mental toughness?

\r\n\r\n

If those things don't change for the Bruins, this Saturday could be more of the same. Which, for Stanford, would be perfectly fine. While other teams change coaches, approaches, personnel, or whatever, it's business as usual for the Cardinal. And right now, business is booming.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

\r\n\r\n

If you can, make it a point to catch Stanford Football's weekly press conferences live on Facebook on Tuesday mornings at 11:30. Yesterday, David Shaw gave the latest injury news, all of it good (if you're interested, he also gave the most nuanced and reasoned opinion on the national anthem protests -- and why they're happening in the first place -- that I've heard any coach give). Christian McCaffrey had a brilliant quote while talking about the importance of selling his run fakes on play-action passes and reverses (\"One good fake is worth two blocks\"). And you must see how Conrad Ukropina spent his summer, and what the subject of his thesis is. Impressive, powerful stuff from that young man. I get to be in the room for it, but thanks to Stanford Football and Facebook, you can see it too. Isn't modern technology wonderful?

\r\n\r\n

As electric as McCaffrey is, he's not the player that has Todd Husak and me literally jumping out of our seats whenever he gets the ball. That young man is Bryce Love...

\r\n\r\n

By the way, Husak is the best radio football color analyst in northern California. And it's not a close race...

\r\n\r\n

Good to hear that Harrison Phillips is on track to return this week. But until we see whether he's \"good\" or merely \"good enough\", I'm not going to scratch that off my list of concerns for this week...

\r\n\r\n

The Pac-12 Breakfast Tour continues this week! And I am taking suggestions. Can't wait to be in Pasadena again this Saturday. So, any good local spots in Glendale or Burbank?

\r\n\r\n

No, I wasn't thrilled to hear about the violations, either. But I wasn't up in arms about it. Look, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: no college football program is 100% clean. But that's largely due to the NCAA's byzantine (and asinine) rulebook that makes it almost impossible to avoid a kid taking something here or there. And while I appreciated the immediate email from the alumni association, I thought their apologetic tone was way over the top. There is no evidence that this was an institution-wide failure. It wasn't like Stanford football players were living large like the Miami Hurricanes. Or like there was some Penn State-type stuff going on. Or Baylor. Was it dumb? Yes. But I'm not making anything bigger out of it...

\r\n\r\n

Actually, I had forgotten about the violations. And I have a feeling that, until I brought it up just now, you had forgotten about them, too...

\r\n\r\n

I visited with USC athletic director Lynn Swann before the game. Hadn't seen him since I left Pittsburgh. Was great to see him again. I suspect he wasn't as congenial after the game, though...

\r\n\r\n

Oregon lost WR (and Olympian) Devon Allen and LT Tyrell Crosby, both for the season. How was your Monday?

\r\n\r\n

I have no idea why Oregon insists on chasing points and going for two when they do. I have even less of an idea what that final play call was on their last-gasp drive. A play-action quarterback keeper? On 4th and 18?

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... the big question from last week in college football seemed to be: more impressive win, Ohio State or Louisville? To me, that answer is easy. Anyone can be a hero at home. But winning on the road is almost always going to carry more weight with me. Nice job, Buckeyes...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... raise your hand if you believed all along that Jacoby Brissett would be a starting quarterback in the NFL before Jared Goff. Now put it down, because you are lying...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

\r\n\r\n

You know the rules...I pick all the Pac-12 conference games, but I don't pick ones involving Stanford. Why not? Because it's my Corner and I make the rules, that's why. On with the picks...

\r\n\r\n

USC @ Utah (-3). The good news for the Trojans? It gets easier after this week (Arizona State, Colorado, at Arizona, Cal on a Thursday). The bad news? They have to survive a short week and a trip to Rice-Eccles Stadium, a house of horrors for road teams. The Trojans will be game for a while, but I like Utah by 9.

\r\n\r\n

Colorado @ Oregon (-10.5). The Buffs lost their best pass rusher, and QB Sefo Liufau's ankle might not be ready to go. The Ducks lost their fastest receiver and their stud left tackle, and RB Royce Freeman might not be ready to go. I still think Oregon has more (especially if Liufau is out), but I'm not comfortable about the Ducks' chances in this one. With much hesitation, I like Oregon by 15.

\r\n\r\n

Cal @ Arizona State (-4). If you love defense, you're going to hate this game. Ironically, this will come down to which team's defense makes a stop. Any kind of stop. Not much confidence in this pick, either, but I like Arizona State by 8.

\r\n\r\n

Washington @ Arizona (NL). The Huskies have looked like playoff contenders at home against inferior competition. How will they look against inferior competition on the road? That will be a big question. For about two-and-a-half quarters. I like Washington by 16.

\r\n\r\n

Last year: 30-15 (straight-up), 23-19 (ATS).

\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

Ho hum. Just another day at the office for Stanford Football.

Another edition of the Christian McCaffrey Show. Another fine performance by the Cardinal secondary. Another opponent sent hobbling out of Stanford Stadium. Another chess match convincingly won by David Shaw, whose 56 wins are now second-most in Stanford history. And another Cardinal conquest of USC.

While waiting for Shaw's postgame press conference after Stanford's 27-10 win, it struck me how routine the previous three hours had seemed. Yes, the Cardinal had trounced the Trojans with 295 yards rushing, but no one in the room was exchanging shocked looks. The feeling of \"holy cow Stanford did it!\" wasn't hanging over the place.

If anything, all of us in the media just looked at each other and shrugged. We had all seen this movie before.

Of course, this wasn't always the case. For decades, any Stanford win over USC in football seemed less plausible than any Hollywood ending. Consider this: between 1958 and 1990, Stanford Football beat USC three times. Total. Over a 33-season span.

Last Saturday, Stanford Football beat USC for a third time in less than one year. 364 days, to be exact. Think about that for a second.

Things have changed. Yet, still, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Oh sure, the Trojans talked a good game coming into the season. It seemed like USC football had lost its edge, and the Trojans knew it. Accordingly, the reports from Figueroa all summer were about how USC head coach Clay Helton was changing the Trojan football culture from Hollywood to Hard Hat.

Now, supposedly, USC was #AllAboutBall (it's not a philosophy unless it can be converted into a catchy hashtag). And after getting dropped on the mat by Alabama, the Trojans were going to start their rightful resurgence by beating Stanford.

But -- say it with me -- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The results for USC's new coach and new approach? In the prologue to the Stanford game, a few alarming incidents on and off the field. During the game itself, too many false starts to count. Too few players on the field for a Stanford extra point. Several questionable situational and clock management decisions. The inability to make big, game-changing plays when needed most. In short, some of the same things that have doomed the Trojans against Stanford over the last decade.

So while USC goes back to the drawing board, Stanford now faces the other team in the Pac-12 that is trying to take the Cardinal's blueprint for success and make it into its own: the UCLA Bruins. You know, the same Bruins who have lost to Stanford eight straight times.

Much was made early last week of Helton admitting that he wanted his program to be like Stanford. Not quite as much has been made about the fact that Jim Mora probably feels the same way at UCLA.

When I saw the reports this spring that the Bruins were revamping their offensive scheme to increase roles for tight ends and fullbacks, embrace more pro-style concepts, and emphasize more physicality and power than it had over the past few years, the thought immediately popped into my mind: \"the Bruins are trying to be like Stanford.\" During the summer, the Bruins, not the Trojans, were the first team that came to my mind when I noticed how other Pac-12 teams were trying to adopt the Cardinal's philosophy for building a program and establishing a new identity.

If that's the case, can you blame them? Let's face it: for years, whether it's right or wrong, UCLA has had the reputation for being a collection of talented athletes who look good stepping off the bus, but don't exactly respond too well when things get rough.

In other words, soft.

UCLA head coach Jim Mora has been aware of this from Day One at Westwood (if not before), and has been avidly trying to change that reputation. The new elements his offense is showing seem to be the latest evolution of his vision to make the Bruins the big, bad bully on the block. And nothing would achieve that vision more than knocking off the team currently wearing that crown in the Pac-12.

As I type this at 9:55 p.m. on September 20, 2016, that team is Stanford. That said, the Card's status as the kings of the conference could change. Very quickly. Next week's battle in Seattle could rearrange everything. And who knows what other pitfalls could lay in the Cardinal's way?

If the Cardinal aren't careful, those changes could come as early as this week. We all know about Josh Rosen. Rarely has the Bruins' talent level been an issue. It's Stanford's first game on the road this season, which puts some key Cardinal players in some unfamiliar spots. And given how the recent history of this series has gone for UCLA, this game -- maybe more so than the annual battle with USC -- probably had the largest circle around it down in Westwood.

The X's and O's of this matchup will be important. But the true keys to this Saturday in Pasadena may correlate with two questions. Has UCLA changed enough to match up with Stanford physically? Has UCLA changed enough to match up with Stanford in mental toughness?

If those things don't change for the Bruins, this Saturday could be more of the same. Which, for Stanford, would be perfectly fine. While other teams change coaches, approaches, personnel, or whatever, it's business as usual for the Cardinal. And right now, business is booming.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

If you can, make it a point to catch Stanford Football's weekly press conferences live on Facebook on Tuesday mornings at 11:30. Yesterday, David Shaw gave the latest injury news, all of it good (if you're interested, he also gave the most nuanced and reasoned opinion on the national anthem protests -- and why they're happening in the first place -- that I've heard any coach give). Christian McCaffrey had a brilliant quote while talking about the importance of selling his run fakes on play-action passes and reverses (\"One good fake is worth two blocks\"). And you must see how Conrad Ukropina spent his summer, and what the subject of his thesis is. Impressive, powerful stuff from that young man. I get to be in the room for it, but thanks to Stanford Football and Facebook, you can see it too. Isn't modern technology wonderful?

As electric as McCaffrey is, he's not the player that has Todd Husak and me literally jumping out of our seats whenever he gets the ball. That young man is Bryce Love...

By the way, Husak is the best radio football color analyst in northern California. And it's not a close race...

Good to hear that Harrison Phillips is on track to return this week. But until we see whether he's \"good\" or merely \"good enough\", I'm not going to scratch that off my list of concerns for this week...

The Pac-12 Breakfast Tour continues this week! And I am taking suggestions. Can't wait to be in Pasadena again this Saturday. So, any good local spots in Glendale or Burbank?

No, I wasn't thrilled to hear about the violations, either. But I wasn't up in arms about it. Look, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: no college football program is 100% clean. But that's largely due to the NCAA's byzantine (and asinine) rulebook that makes it almost impossible to avoid a kid taking something here or there. And while I appreciated the immediate email from the alumni association, I thought their apologetic tone was way over the top. There is no evidence that this was an institution-wide failure. It wasn't like Stanford football players were living large like the Miami Hurricanes. Or like there was some Penn State-type stuff going on. Or Baylor. Was it dumb? Yes. But I'm not making anything bigger out of it...

Actually, I had forgotten about the violations. And I have a feeling that, until I brought it up just now, you had forgotten about them, too...

I visited with USC athletic director Lynn Swann before the game. Hadn't seen him since I left Pittsburgh. Was great to see him again. I suspect he wasn't as congenial after the game, though...

Oregon lost WR (and Olympian) Devon Allen and LT Tyrell Crosby, both for the season. How was your Monday?

I have no idea why Oregon insists on chasing points and going for two when they do. I have even less of an idea what that final play call was on their last-gasp drive. A play-action quarterback keeper? On 4th and 18?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... the big question from last week in college football seemed to be: more impressive win, Ohio State or Louisville? To me, that answer is easy. Anyone can be a hero at home. But winning on the road is almost always going to carry more weight with me. Nice job, Buckeyes...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... raise your hand if you believed all along that Jacoby Brissett would be a starting quarterback in the NFL before Jared Goff. Now put it down, because you are lying...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

You know the rules...I pick all the Pac-12 conference games, but I don't pick ones involving Stanford. Why not? Because it's my Corner and I make the rules, that's why. On with the picks...

USC @ Utah (-3). The good news for the Trojans? It gets easier after this week (Arizona State, Colorado, at Arizona, Cal on a Thursday). The bad news? They have to survive a short week and a trip to Rice-Eccles Stadium, a house of horrors for road teams. The Trojans will be game for a while, but I like Utah by 9.

Colorado @ Oregon (-10.5). The Buffs lost their best pass rusher, and QB Sefo Liufau's ankle might not be ready to go. The Ducks lost their fastest receiver and their stud left tackle, and RB Royce Freeman might not be ready to go. I still think Oregon has more (especially if Liufau is out), but I'm not comfortable about the Ducks' chances in this one. With much hesitation, I like Oregon by 15.

Cal @ Arizona State (-4). If you love defense, you're going to hate this game. Ironically, this will come down to which team's defense makes a stop. Any kind of stop. Not much confidence in this pick, either, but I like Arizona State by 8.

Washington @ Arizona (NL). The Huskies have looked like playoff contenders at home against inferior competition. How will they look against inferior competition on the road? That will be a big question. For about two-and-a-half quarters. I like Washington by 16.

Last year: 30-15 (straight-up), 23-19 (ATS).


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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