Clardy's Corner: Trust The Process

Stanford's result against UCLA was a reminder to trust the process. Even when you can't process its results.



Something tells me that many Stanford fans weren't in a very good mood at about 6:35 p.m. last Saturday.

At that moment, it was halftime of the Cardinal's game against UCLA. Stanford was down, 10-3. After a promising start to their opening drive, the Card spent the rest of the half making mistakes and losing key players to injury. Understandably, Cardinal fans were frustrated. It had been a while since Stanford Football had looked like that. Even my wife texted me, wanting to know whiskey tango foxtrot was going on.

The morass of Cardinalmaniac frustration for much of the game's first 58 minutes made the last two minutes all the more mindblowing. Stanford scored two touchdowns -- two! -- in the final 24 seconds, beating UCLA, 22-13. They robbed the Bruins without a gun, then snuck off into the Southern California night.

I'm still having trouble processing what happened, and how that game ended. While heading down to the field after the game, I bumped into a Stanford fan, and instead of high-fiving we just shrugged at each other.

That game served as a reminder that this season will be more of a process than others, especially early on. Especially while a new quarterback was figuring out how to do things beyond handing the ball to Christian McCaffrey. Especially with the Cardinal tackles flip-flopping positions. And especially with Stanford employing a revolving-door policy at the inside linebacker spots. Given those situations, it was unrealistic to expect Stanford to look like a completely finished product right out of the box.

And that result was a reminder that, many times, you just have to trust the process. Philadelphia 76ers fans cringe at that phrase. Cardinal fans probably have the same reaction as they watch David Shaw send out the punt team on fourth-and-one from his own 39 with 4:51 left and Stanford down by four.

Granted, it's easier to trust the process with a defense that can keep games close. Kudos to the secondary and the big guys up front for keeping the Cardinal afloat while the offense searched for its sea legs. UCLA had its moments offensively, but they never broke the game open, and never found that knockout punch. The Cardinal had them contained. Without that, Shaw doesn't punt the ball.

Still, that process worked. I don't know how, but it did.

Stanford's overall process continues, by the way. As impressive as he looked during that final drive, and as coolly as he led the Card down the field with the game on the line, we still don't know everything about Ryan Burns right now. Not even close. Do we know more than we did this time last week? Sure. And that's a good thing.

Burns completed five of his eight passes for 66 yards and the game-clinching touchdown on that final drive. His second-half passing numbers for the season leading up to that point? Seven completions in 17 attempts, 41 yards, and a pick.

We now know that it's possible for Burns to come through in the game's highest-pressure situation. But, as of now, it's just one moment. Actually, to be blunt, it's an outlier. Can Burns turn that final drive against UCLA into the new normal?

The process continues for that young man, as it does for the supporting cast around him. On the offensive line, we saw the latest evolution of that process with tackles A.T. Hall and Casey Tucker flip-flopping positions. Hall on the left side and Tucker on the right side seemed to result in a slightly more stable line.

Meanwhile, the Stanford receivers have not been a factor this season, save for one drive. Michael Rector scored Stanford's first touchdown of the season on a 40-yard bomb against Kansas State. Trenton Irwin and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside came through with big-time catches on the Card's go-ahead drive against UCLA. In between, the Stanford receivers spent 162 minutes of game time catching just twelve balls for 99 yards between them. That's it.

Irwin has been fantastic when the ball has headed his way. Arcega-Whiteside certainly made his first on-field contributions count in a big way. And we know what's possible from Rector. Still, as lethal as Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love can be, this offense will not be truly explosive unless and until the receivers become a bigger part of things.

Defensively, entering the season many felt confident about the Stanford secondary, and felt good about the defensive line. Those units stood out against the Bruins, even after Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder were injured. The question marks seemed to be the inside linebackers, where -- for many reasons -- the Cardinal have been rotating Bobby Okereke and Kevin Palma, Jordan Perez and Mustafa Branch, and Noor Davis and Sean Barton.

As expected, that has been a work in progress, too. UCLA had success getting favorable matchups and beating the inside linebackers in pass coverage. Since I'm sure they've watched the tape and seen the same thing, Washington would be wise to use similar tactics. That is, unless they take the Clay Helton approach and stop doing what's working.

Let's face it: UCLA largely outplayed Stanford. The players and coaches realize this. And while the quarterback, offensive line, receivers, and inside linebackers are going through more of a process than the other areas of the team, everyone will need to step up their game going forward.

The process isn't pretty. It isn't always smooth. So, while the process continues to unfold for the Cardinal, expect more games like the one we just saw in Pasadena. Especially this week, against an opponent and in an environment that, as of now, appears to be the toughest hurdle for the Cardinal to climb.

But, so far, the process has been trustworthy. Even when it's hard to process the result. Last week's outcome in Pasadena is the latest proof.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

Like many of you, I'm still having trouble digesting the lack of a targeting penalty on Tahaan Goodman's hit that knocked Francis Owusu out of the UCLA game (and the upcoming Washington game, too). Owusu may not have been defenseless -- hence, no penalty -- but Goodman launched himself into Owusu and made helmet-to-helmet contact when he didn't need to. If those things don't add up to define targeting, then the definition needs to be revised. Sometimes helmet-to-helmet collisions are unavoidable. This one was completely preventable. Again, as it often does when it comes to officiating, letter-of-the-law interpretation takes precedence over common sense...

How many consecutive times has Stanford beaten UCLA? (say this in your Ed Rooney in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" voice) Nine times...

Josh Lewin is the radio play-by-play voice of UCLA football. On Saturday night, he was on the call as Stanford came back to beat the Bruins. Lewin is also the play-by-play voice of the San Diego Chargers. On Sunday afternoon, he was on the call as former Stanford QB Andrew Luck led the Colts' comeback to beat the Chargers. Rough 21-hour span for Josh, I'd say...

By the way, Lewin is also a play-by-play announcer for the New York Mets. Too bad Chad Hutchinson isn't still pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals...

Just so I have this straight: both Stanford and Washington are playing each other on a short week. Classes at Stanford began on Monday. Washington's academic quarter begins today. Sometimes they make it hard to keep the student in "student-athlete", don't they?

Pac-12 Breakfast Tour update: thanks to dpbrewster for suggesting Foxy's in Glendale! Met my cousin there on Saturday morning. A varied breakfast menu beyond the normal omelettes and scrambles. My cousin went with one of the many Eggs Benedict dishes. That's not my thing, so I went with a very tasty and filling spinach and mushroom omelette. The hash browns, I thought, were phenomenal. Parking can be tricky during the brunch rush. If you're staying in the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena area whenever Stanford plays at the Rose Bowl (or in the Rose Bowl), definitely drop by Foxy's. Good stuff!...

Fact of the Week: Stanford-Washington is the Pac-12's first Top Ten matchup that doesn't involve Oregon since 2004...

Have a day, Steven Montez! 333 yards passing? 135 yards rushing? Very impressive work from Colorado's backup QB...

So does this mean we won't see that "Duck" uniform combination from Oregon ever again?

USC only punted once against Utah. And that was on fourth-and-three at the Ute 37 with 5:37 to go. You know the rest of the story...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... congrats, Les Miles. Welcome to the John Mackovic Club...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... sad to hear that Keeble & Shuchat is shutting its doors. What a friend they were to KZSU back in my day...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... on Monday afternoon, I watched Dee Gordon hit a leadoff home run for the Miami Marlins, who are still mourning the death of 24-year old star pitcher Jose Fernandez over the weekend. I watched Gordon break down in tears before he even reached the dugout after rounding the bases. I saw his teammates embrace him and each other in an impromptu and genuine display of emotion. As difficult as it was, and as tragic as the circumstances are, it was heart-warming to see what human beings can do when they act with compassion and empathy, and what it looks like when people genuinely care about each other and want to pull each other through tough times together. Then I watched the Presidential debate that evening. The contrast was jarring...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... you know who the biggest winner of Monday's Presidential debate was? Whomever decided to show the entire debate in split-screen. Genius move. And quite telling, I thought...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

Oregon State @ Colorado (-17.5). Suddenly, the Buffs are a team on the rise. Can they handle their new-found prosperity? Given this week's opponent, I'd say they can. I like Colorado by 19.

Utah @ Cal (-2.5). It helps the Bears that this game is in Berkeley. But if you can't play defense, it's going to be hard for me to pick you. That's just how it goes. I like Utah by 10.

Arizona State @ USC (-10). Two teams heading in opposite directions, as the 1-3 Trojans host the 4-0 Sun Devils. I have a feeling those trends reverse this week. Unless they shoot themselves in the foot -- which is almost a given -- I like USC by 6.

Oregon (-2) @ Washington State. In Pullman, no one can hear you scream. I like Washington State by 14.

Arizona @ UCLA (-13.5). Given how devastating last week's result was for UCLA, the Wildcats might be catching the Bruins at the right time. Do they have enough to fully capitalize on it, though? I don't think so. I like UCLA by 13.

Last week & this year: 3-1 (straight-up), 2-1 (ATS).

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

Something tells me that many Stanford fans weren't in a very good mood at about 6:35 p.m. last Saturday.

\r\n\r\n

At that moment, it was halftime of the Cardinal's game against UCLA. Stanford was down, 10-3. After a promising start to their opening drive, the Card spent the rest of the half making mistakes and losing key players to injury. Understandably, Cardinal fans were frustrated. It had been a while since Stanford Football had looked like that. Even my wife texted me, wanting to know whiskey tango foxtrot was going on.

\r\n\r\n

The morass of Cardinalmaniac frustration for much of the game's first 58 minutes made the last two minutes all the more mindblowing. Stanford scored two touchdowns -- two! -- in the final 24 seconds, beating UCLA, 22-13. They robbed the Bruins without a gun, then snuck off into the Southern California night.

\r\n\r\n

I'm still having trouble processing what happened, and how that game ended. While heading down to the field after the game, I bumped into a Stanford fan, and instead of high-fiving we just shrugged at each other.

\r\n\r\n

That game served as a reminder that this season will be more of a process than others, especially early on. Especially while a new quarterback was figuring out how to do things beyond handing the ball to Christian McCaffrey. Especially with the Cardinal tackles flip-flopping positions. And especially with Stanford employing a revolving-door policy at the inside linebacker spots. Given those situations, it was unrealistic to expect Stanford to look like a completely finished product right out of the box.

\r\n\r\n

And that result was a reminder that, many times, you just have to trust the process. Philadelphia 76ers fans cringe at that phrase. Cardinal fans probably have the same reaction as they watch David Shaw send out the punt team on fourth-and-one from his own 39 with 4:51 left and Stanford down by four.

\r\n\r\n

Granted, it's easier to trust the process with a defense that can keep games close. Kudos to the secondary and the big guys up front for keeping the Cardinal afloat while the offense searched for its sea legs. UCLA had its moments offensively, but they never broke the game open, and never found that knockout punch. The Cardinal had them contained. Without that, Shaw doesn't punt the ball.

\r\n\r\n

Still, that process worked. I don't know how, but it did.

\r\n\r\n

Stanford's overall process continues, by the way. As impressive as he looked during that final drive, and as coolly as he led the Card down the field with the game on the line, we still don't know everything about Ryan Burns right now. Not even close. Do we know more than we did this time last week? Sure. And that's a good thing.

\r\n\r\n

Burns completed five of his eight passes for 66 yards and the game-clinching touchdown on that final drive. His second-half passing numbers for the season leading up to that point? Seven completions in 17 attempts, 41 yards, and a pick.

\r\n\r\n

We now know that it's possible for Burns to come through in the game's highest-pressure situation. But, as of now, it's just one moment. Actually, to be blunt, it's an outlier. Can Burns turn that final drive against UCLA into the new normal?

\r\n\r\n

The process continues for that young man, as it does for the supporting cast around him. On the offensive line, we saw the latest evolution of that process with tackles A.T. Hall and Casey Tucker flip-flopping positions. Hall on the left side and Tucker on the right side seemed to result in a slightly more stable line.

\r\n\r\n

Meanwhile, the Stanford receivers have not been a factor this season, save for one drive. Michael Rector scored Stanford's first touchdown of the season on a 40-yard bomb against Kansas State. Trenton Irwin and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside came through with big-time catches on the Card's go-ahead drive against UCLA. In between, the Stanford receivers spent 162 minutes of game time catching just twelve balls for 99 yards between them. That's it.

\r\n\r\n

Irwin has been fantastic when the ball has headed his way. Arcega-Whiteside certainly made his first on-field contributions count in a big way. And we know what's possible from Rector. Still, as lethal as Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love can be, this offense will not be truly explosive unless and until the receivers become a bigger part of things.

\r\n\r\n

Defensively, entering the season many felt confident about the Stanford secondary, and felt good about the defensive line. Those units stood out against the Bruins, even after Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder were injured. The question marks seemed to be the inside linebackers, where -- for many reasons -- the Cardinal have been rotating Bobby Okereke and Kevin Palma, Jordan Perez and Mustafa Branch, and Noor Davis and Sean Barton.

\r\n\r\n

As expected, that has been a work in progress, too. UCLA had success getting favorable matchups and beating the inside linebackers in pass coverage. Since I'm sure they've watched the tape and seen the same thing, Washington would be wise to use similar tactics. That is, unless they take the Clay Helton approach and stop doing what's working.

\r\n\r\n

Let's face it: UCLA largely outplayed Stanford. The players and coaches realize this. And while the quarterback, offensive line, receivers, and inside linebackers are going through more of a process than the other areas of the team, everyone will need to step up their game going forward.

\r\n\r\n

The process isn't pretty. It isn't always smooth. So, while the process continues to unfold for the Cardinal, expect more games like the one we just saw in Pasadena. Especially this week, against an opponent and in an environment that, as of now, appears to be the toughest hurdle for the Cardinal to climb.

\r\n\r\n

But, so far, the process has been trustworthy. Even when it's hard to process the result. Last week's outcome in Pasadena is the latest proof.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

\r\n\r\n

Like many of you, I'm still having trouble digesting the lack of a targeting penalty on Tahaan Goodman's hit that knocked Francis Owusu out of the UCLA game (and the upcoming Washington game, too). Owusu may not have been defenseless -- hence, no penalty -- but Goodman launched himself into Owusu and made helmet-to-helmet contact when he didn't need to. If those things don't add up to define targeting, then the definition needs to be revised. Sometimes helmet-to-helmet collisions are unavoidable. This one was completely preventable. Again, as it often does when it comes to officiating, letter-of-the-law interpretation takes precedence over common sense...

\r\n\r\n

How many consecutive times has Stanford beaten UCLA? (say this in your Ed Rooney in \"Ferris Bueller's Day Off\" voice) Nine times...

\r\n\r\n

Josh Lewin is the radio play-by-play voice of UCLA football. On Saturday night, he was on the call as Stanford came back to beat the Bruins. Lewin is also the play-by-play voice of the San Diego Chargers. On Sunday afternoon, he was on the call as former Stanford QB Andrew Luck led the Colts' comeback to beat the Chargers. Rough 21-hour span for Josh, I'd say...

\r\n\r\n

By the way, Lewin is also a play-by-play announcer for the New York Mets. Too bad Chad Hutchinson isn't still pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals...

\r\n\r\n

Just so I have this straight: both Stanford and Washington are playing each other on a short week. Classes at Stanford began on Monday. Washington's academic quarter begins today. Sometimes they make it hard to keep the student in \"student-athlete\", don't they?

\r\n\r\n

Pac-12 Breakfast Tour update: thanks to dpbrewster for suggesting Foxy's in Glendale! Met my cousin there on Saturday morning. A varied breakfast menu beyond the normal omelettes and scrambles. My cousin went with one of the many Eggs Benedict dishes. That's not my thing, so I went with a very tasty and filling spinach and mushroom omelette. The hash browns, I thought, were phenomenal. Parking can be tricky during the brunch rush. If you're staying in the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena area whenever Stanford plays at the Rose Bowl (or in the Rose Bowl), definitely drop by Foxy's. Good stuff!...

\r\n\r\n

Fact of the Week: Stanford-Washington is the Pac-12's first Top Ten matchup that doesn't involve Oregon since 2004...

\r\n\r\n

Have a day, Steven Montez! 333 yards passing? 135 yards rushing? Very impressive work from Colorado's backup QB...

\r\n\r\n

So does this mean we won't see that \"Duck\" uniform combination from Oregon ever again?

\r\n\r\n

USC only punted once against Utah. And that was on fourth-and-three at the Ute 37 with 5:37 to go. You know the rest of the story...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... congrats, Les Miles. Welcome to the John Mackovic Club...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... sad to hear that Keeble & Shuchat is shutting its doors. What a friend they were to KZSU back in my day...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... on Monday afternoon, I watched Dee Gordon hit a leadoff home run for the Miami Marlins, who are still mourning the death of 24-year old star pitcher Jose Fernandez over the weekend. I watched Gordon break down in tears before he even reached the dugout after rounding the bases. I saw his teammates embrace him and each other in an impromptu and genuine display of emotion. As difficult as it was, and as tragic as the circumstances are, it was heart-warming to see what human beings can do when they act with compassion and empathy, and what it looks like when people genuinely care about each other and want to pull each other through tough times together. Then I watched the Presidential debate that evening. The contrast was jarring...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... you know who the biggest winner of Monday's Presidential debate was? Whomever decided to show the entire debate in split-screen. Genius move. And quite telling, I thought...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

\r\n\r\n

Oregon State @ Colorado (-17.5). Suddenly, the Buffs are a team on the rise. Can they handle their new-found prosperity? Given this week's opponent, I'd say they can. I like Colorado by 19.

\r\n\r\n

Utah @ Cal (-2.5). It helps the Bears that this game is in Berkeley. But if you can't play defense, it's going to be hard for me to pick you. That's just how it goes. I like Utah by 10.

\r\n\r\n

Arizona State @ USC (-10). Two teams heading in opposite directions, as the 1-3 Trojans host the 4-0 Sun Devils. I have a feeling those trends reverse this week. Unless they shoot themselves in the foot -- which is almost a given -- I like USC by 6.

\r\n\r\n

Oregon (-2) @ Washington State. In Pullman, no one can hear you scream. I like Washington State by 14.

\r\n\r\n

Arizona @ UCLA (-13.5). Given how devastating last week's result was for UCLA, the Wildcats might be catching the Bruins at the right time. Do they have enough to fully capitalize on it, though? I don't think so. I like UCLA by 13.

\r\n\r\n

Last week & this year: 3-1 (straight-up), 2-1 (ATS).

\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.

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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

Something tells me that many Stanford fans weren't in a very good mood at about 6:35 p.m. last Saturday.

At that moment, it was halftime of the Cardinal's game against UCLA. Stanford was down, 10-3. After a promising start to their opening drive, the Card spent the rest of the half making mistakes and losing key players to injury. Understandably, Cardinal fans were frustrated. It had been a while since Stanford Football had looked like that. Even my wife texted me, wanting to know whiskey tango foxtrot was going on.

The morass of Cardinalmaniac frustration for much of the game's first 58 minutes made the last two minutes all the more mindblowing. Stanford scored two touchdowns -- two! -- in the final 24 seconds, beating UCLA, 22-13. They robbed the Bruins without a gun, then snuck off into the Southern California night.

I'm still having trouble processing what happened, and how that game ended. While heading down to the field after the game, I bumped into a Stanford fan, and instead of high-fiving we just shrugged at each other.

That game served as a reminder that this season will be more of a process than others, especially early on. Especially while a new quarterback was figuring out how to do things beyond handing the ball to Christian McCaffrey. Especially with the Cardinal tackles flip-flopping positions. And especially with Stanford employing a revolving-door policy at the inside linebacker spots. Given those situations, it was unrealistic to expect Stanford to look like a completely finished product right out of the box.

And that result was a reminder that, many times, you just have to trust the process. Philadelphia 76ers fans cringe at that phrase. Cardinal fans probably have the same reaction as they watch David Shaw send out the punt team on fourth-and-one from his own 39 with 4:51 left and Stanford down by four.

Granted, it's easier to trust the process with a defense that can keep games close. Kudos to the secondary and the big guys up front for keeping the Cardinal afloat while the offense searched for its sea legs. UCLA had its moments offensively, but they never broke the game open, and never found that knockout punch. The Cardinal had them contained. Without that, Shaw doesn't punt the ball.

Still, that process worked. I don't know how, but it did.

Stanford's overall process continues, by the way. As impressive as he looked during that final drive, and as coolly as he led the Card down the field with the game on the line, we still don't know everything about Ryan Burns right now. Not even close. Do we know more than we did this time last week? Sure. And that's a good thing.

Burns completed five of his eight passes for 66 yards and the game-clinching touchdown on that final drive. His second-half passing numbers for the season leading up to that point? Seven completions in 17 attempts, 41 yards, and a pick.

We now know that it's possible for Burns to come through in the game's highest-pressure situation. But, as of now, it's just one moment. Actually, to be blunt, it's an outlier. Can Burns turn that final drive against UCLA into the new normal?

The process continues for that young man, as it does for the supporting cast around him. On the offensive line, we saw the latest evolution of that process with tackles A.T. Hall and Casey Tucker flip-flopping positions. Hall on the left side and Tucker on the right side seemed to result in a slightly more stable line.

Meanwhile, the Stanford receivers have not been a factor this season, save for one drive. Michael Rector scored Stanford's first touchdown of the season on a 40-yard bomb against Kansas State. Trenton Irwin and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside came through with big-time catches on the Card's go-ahead drive against UCLA. In between, the Stanford receivers spent 162 minutes of game time catching just twelve balls for 99 yards between them. That's it.

Irwin has been fantastic when the ball has headed his way. Arcega-Whiteside certainly made his first on-field contributions count in a big way. And we know what's possible from Rector. Still, as lethal as Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love can be, this offense will not be truly explosive unless and until the receivers become a bigger part of things.

Defensively, entering the season many felt confident about the Stanford secondary, and felt good about the defensive line. Those units stood out against the Bruins, even after Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder were injured. The question marks seemed to be the inside linebackers, where -- for many reasons -- the Cardinal have been rotating Bobby Okereke and Kevin Palma, Jordan Perez and Mustafa Branch, and Noor Davis and Sean Barton.

As expected, that has been a work in progress, too. UCLA had success getting favorable matchups and beating the inside linebackers in pass coverage. Since I'm sure they've watched the tape and seen the same thing, Washington would be wise to use similar tactics. That is, unless they take the Clay Helton approach and stop doing what's working.

Let's face it: UCLA largely outplayed Stanford. The players and coaches realize this. And while the quarterback, offensive line, receivers, and inside linebackers are going through more of a process than the other areas of the team, everyone will need to step up their game going forward.

The process isn't pretty. It isn't always smooth. So, while the process continues to unfold for the Cardinal, expect more games like the one we just saw in Pasadena. Especially this week, against an opponent and in an environment that, as of now, appears to be the toughest hurdle for the Cardinal to climb.

But, so far, the process has been trustworthy. Even when it's hard to process the result. Last week's outcome in Pasadena is the latest proof.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

Like many of you, I'm still having trouble digesting the lack of a targeting penalty on Tahaan Goodman's hit that knocked Francis Owusu out of the UCLA game (and the upcoming Washington game, too). Owusu may not have been defenseless -- hence, no penalty -- but Goodman launched himself into Owusu and made helmet-to-helmet contact when he didn't need to. If those things don't add up to define targeting, then the definition needs to be revised. Sometimes helmet-to-helmet collisions are unavoidable. This one was completely preventable. Again, as it often does when it comes to officiating, letter-of-the-law interpretation takes precedence over common sense...

How many consecutive times has Stanford beaten UCLA? (say this in your Ed Rooney in \"Ferris Bueller's Day Off\" voice) Nine times...

Josh Lewin is the radio play-by-play voice of UCLA football. On Saturday night, he was on the call as Stanford came back to beat the Bruins. Lewin is also the play-by-play voice of the San Diego Chargers. On Sunday afternoon, he was on the call as former Stanford QB Andrew Luck led the Colts' comeback to beat the Chargers. Rough 21-hour span for Josh, I'd say...

By the way, Lewin is also a play-by-play announcer for the New York Mets. Too bad Chad Hutchinson isn't still pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals...

Just so I have this straight: both Stanford and Washington are playing each other on a short week. Classes at Stanford began on Monday. Washington's academic quarter begins today. Sometimes they make it hard to keep the student in \"student-athlete\", don't they?

Pac-12 Breakfast Tour update: thanks to dpbrewster for suggesting Foxy's in Glendale! Met my cousin there on Saturday morning. A varied breakfast menu beyond the normal omelettes and scrambles. My cousin went with one of the many Eggs Benedict dishes. That's not my thing, so I went with a very tasty and filling spinach and mushroom omelette. The hash browns, I thought, were phenomenal. Parking can be tricky during the brunch rush. If you're staying in the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena area whenever Stanford plays at the Rose Bowl (or in the Rose Bowl), definitely drop by Foxy's. Good stuff!...

Fact of the Week: Stanford-Washington is the Pac-12's first Top Ten matchup that doesn't involve Oregon since 2004...

Have a day, Steven Montez! 333 yards passing? 135 yards rushing? Very impressive work from Colorado's backup QB...

So does this mean we won't see that \"Duck\" uniform combination from Oregon ever again?

USC only punted once against Utah. And that was on fourth-and-three at the Ute 37 with 5:37 to go. You know the rest of the story...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... congrats, Les Miles. Welcome to the John Mackovic Club...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... sad to hear that Keeble & Shuchat is shutting its doors. What a friend they were to KZSU back in my day...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... on Monday afternoon, I watched Dee Gordon hit a leadoff home run for the Miami Marlins, who are still mourning the death of 24-year old star pitcher Jose Fernandez over the weekend. I watched Gordon break down in tears before he even reached the dugout after rounding the bases. I saw his teammates embrace him and each other in an impromptu and genuine display of emotion. As difficult as it was, and as tragic as the circumstances are, it was heart-warming to see what human beings can do when they act with compassion and empathy, and what it looks like when people genuinely care about each other and want to pull each other through tough times together. Then I watched the Presidential debate that evening. The contrast was jarring...

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but... you know who the biggest winner of Monday's Presidential debate was? Whomever decided to show the entire debate in split-screen. Genius move. And quite telling, I thought...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

Oregon State @ Colorado (-17.5). Suddenly, the Buffs are a team on the rise. Can they handle their new-found prosperity? Given this week's opponent, I'd say they can. I like Colorado by 19.

Utah @ Cal (-2.5). It helps the Bears that this game is in Berkeley. But if you can't play defense, it's going to be hard for me to pick you. That's just how it goes. I like Utah by 10.

Arizona State @ USC (-10). Two teams heading in opposite directions, as the 1-3 Trojans host the 4-0 Sun Devils. I have a feeling those trends reverse this week. Unless they shoot themselves in the foot -- which is almost a given -- I like USC by 6.

Oregon (-2) @ Washington State. In Pullman, no one can hear you scream. I like Washington State by 14.

Arizona @ UCLA (-13.5). Given how devastating last week's result was for UCLA, the Wildcats might be catching the Bruins at the right time. Do they have enough to fully capitalize on it, though? I don't think so. I like UCLA by 13.

Last week & this year: 3-1 (straight-up), 2-1 (ATS).

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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