Clardy's Corner: Looking Up Front

No matter which direction Stanford's season goes from here, the offensive line will lead the way.



No way to spin it; for Stanford fans, that 44-6 loss to Washington last week went over about as well as a fart in church. Smelled about the same, too.

The Huskies whipped Stanford soundly on all levels. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Quarterback. Linebackers. Receivers. Secondary. Defensive Line. Running backs. Everywhere.

But no unit took the brunt of Dawg domination more than the Card's offensive line, which was overmatched right from the start. Last year, we had Joshua Garnett mauling JoJoMcIntosh. This year, we have Joe Mathis freight-training Casey Tucker.

Washington racked up eight sacks. Incredibly, they did it without blitzing. At all. Not one time. David Bright and A.T. Hall particularly struggled in pass protection, and Tucker was last seen being helped off the field.

Remember the book "Rough Magic"? It chronicled Bill Walsh's return to Stanford Football in 1992. Fantastically revealing book, if you haven't read it yet. After another rocky showing by his crew, then-Cardinal offensive line coach Scott Schuhmann worried, "Bob Whitfield gets paid five million to play tackle for the Atlanta Falcons. The people we have playing that position now may never get paid anything."

I was reminded of that quote while watching the Cardinal's offensive line spend its evening getting pillaged by the Huskies. Interestingly enough, in another instance of history repeating itself, Schuhmann's 1992 line spent a day at Husky Stadium getting wrecked by Washington, too.

As we've discussed many times in this space, Stanford's entire offensive scheme is predicated upon the offensive line. If nothing happens up front, then nothing happens anywhere else. It's that simple.

Hard for Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love to get going when there are no holes. Hard for Ryan Burns to get his receivers involved when he has no time to complete his dropback, much less his progression. Against the Huskies, both of those worst-case scenarios became reality. The Cardinal offense posted losses big enough to make Donald Trump's tax preparers blush.

Sure, Stanford was playing against a stacked deck. A road game on a short week. Injuries to a handful of starters. First week of classes (though the Huskies' academic quarter started last week, too). A pumped-up team playing in front of a pumped-up crowd ready for its biggest game in God knows how long. Even before the kickoff, there were reasons to think the planets weren't exactly aligning in the Card's favor.

That said, those excuses give short shrift to a Washington team that called a better game and executed on a much higher level. The Huskies were ready for their moment, they seized it, and they did not let go. Give the Huskies all the credit in the world. At this moment, they're the Pac-12's kings of the hill.

So. What now?

Some things to note. One, as a reminder, David Shaw's teams are 13-1 following a loss. That's mindblowing. It's also a reason not to get too bent out of shape about how this week could go against Washington State.

Two, the Cougars' defense may not be quite as physical as Washington's is, but they're almost as quick, and certainly as aggressive. Think back to how Washington State's quickness gave the Stanford offense fits last year (and how the Card were eventually able to use the Cougars' speed and aggression against them). This will be a stern test for an offensive line that suddenly has a lot to prove.

Three, the toughest part of Stanford's schedule is done, and the Cardinal still have a 3-1 record that many teams would kill for. The Cougars are tough, but they're not world-beaters. Notre Dame didn't just lose to Duke at home, they had no answers for the Blue Devils. For the first time in a decade, the Buffaloes are tasting success, but whether they can sustain it remains to be seen. Same for Cal, although I suspect they're a different team at home than on the road (Big Game is at Berkeley this year, by the way). The Green Light defense has returned to Oregon. The Beavers and the Wildcats just are not ready for prime time yet.

Do the opponents get less difficult from here for Stanford? They seem to, yes. Then again, no opponent is easy when you can't block them.

Four, do not ask me what it will take for Stanford to get in the playoff. You will quickly be given the Jim Mora "PLAYOFFS?!??!!!?" face.

After a Friday night in Seattle that went sideways for Stanford very quickly, the remainder of the Card's season could head any number of ways. But after a rock-bottom showing for the offensive line -- the heartbeat of this team -- right now the only way is up.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

I'm not an offensive coordinator, but I sometimes play one on the Internet and social media. But once it was evident that Washington's pass rush was going to look like the Fearsome Foursome, I was surprised the Card didn't try more screen passes, quicker dropbacks, and get McCaffrey and Love in space. We saw it, just not quite to the extent I thought we might...

I almost fell off my couch in amazement after Christian McCaffrey's catch and carry in which he juked two Husky defenders into Lake Washington and somehow converted fourth-and-long. Be sure to put that in his highlight reel...

Another bright spot offensively: Trenton Irwin. The more I see of him, the more I like him...

Always good to see ESPN in the house for Stanford Football, but especially nice that Rod Gilmore gets a home game...

The story from Pullman last week isn't that Washington State lit up Oregon's defense. The story is that they also mashed the Ducks into the dirt. 284 yards rushing? For the Cougs? They probably haven't done anything like that since Reuben Mayes was running wild on the Palouse...

Speaking of the Palouse, that's where I'll be on Saturday. A late addition to my Pac-12 Network soccer schedule has me calling the Washington State's match against Arizona State in Pullman on Sunday. I'll be thinking of all of you at Stanford Stadium while I'm watching the game and trying to keep a low profile in Cougars' country...

If this had been the first week of October 2008 and you would've told me that eight years later the Pac-12's ranked teams would be Washington, Stanford, Utah, and Colorado, I would've called you crazy. Then the 2008 version of me would have said, "why the hell are Utah and Colorado in the conference?"

Stat of the Week: Colorado QB Steven Montez's first-half passing numbers against Oregon and Oregon State? 28-39-469, 4 TD, 0 INT. The completion percentage is impressive, but those of you who know me know that I'm much bigger on the yardage-per-attempt ratio. And by the way, he completed 14 straight against the Ducks and 11 straight versus the Beavers (after starting oh-for-three)...

I'll be honest. Of all the possible outcomes I envisioned for the Golden Bears this season, "Cal wins a game with a goal-line stand" was definitely not in the mix...

Big questions still remain for the Bears, by the way. Can they quit committing heinous penalties at critical times? And can their defense get off the field on third (and/or fourth) down? Cal is frisky, but until I see that from their defense, I can't call them a contender...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... as I type this, the Heisman Trophy is Lamar Jackson's to lose. On a related note, in the Jackson Power Rankings, Michael and Janet are still the top two, but right now Lamar may be tied with Samuel L...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... Charlie Strong might need a win against Oklahoma to save his job. Haven't we seen this movie before?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... what's a more dangerous job: Big 12 defensive coordinator? Or javelin catcher?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... my two childhood sports heroes were John Elway and Dave Stewart. Both won championships. Both were dominant as players. Both eventually became general managers. One has had big success. The other, not so much. Sorry to see Stew get run off by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then again, that seems to be a tough, tough place to win. Ask A.J. Hinch for his thoughts on this...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... thank you, Dick Enberg. And thank you, Vin Scully. Two broadcasting giants called it a career on the same day. The business loses so much without them...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

Colorado @ USC (-4.5). If Steven Montez gets off to another hot start, look out. The onus is on the Trojan defense, I think. Being at home will help. A Colorado win would not surprise me, but I like USC by 3.

Washington (-8) @ Oregon. You know my rule: if your defense isn't up to snuff, it's going to be hard for me to pick you to win. The desperate Ducks might hang for a quarter or two, but right now it appears they are no match for the high-flying Huskies. I like Washington by 20.

Cal (-13.5) @ Oregon State. Overall, I'm still wary of the Bears' chances on the road. But the Beavers just don't have enough right now. I like Cal by 15.

Arizona @ Utah (-9.5). Utah's starting to run out of players. Center J.J. Dielman is the latest to be lost for the season with injury. If this game was in Tucson, I'd be all over the Wildcats. But it's not, so I like Utah by 12.

UCLA (-10) @ Arizona State. I have more faith in the Bruins defense (some) than I have in the Sun Devil defense (none). Oh, and I know who UCLA's starting quarterback is going to be. I like UCLA by 18.

Last week: 4-1 (straight-up), 2-3 (ATS).

This year: 7-2 (straight-up), 4-4 (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

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No way to spin it; for Stanford fans, that 44-6 loss to Washington last week went over about as well as a fart in church. Smelled about the same, too.

\r\n\r\n

The Huskies whipped Stanford soundly on all levels. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Quarterback. Linebackers. Receivers. Secondary. Defensive Line. Running backs. Everywhere.

\r\n\r\n

But no unit took the brunt of Dawg domination more than the Card's offensive line, which was overmatched right from the start. Last year, we had Joshua Garnett mauling JoJoMcIntosh. This year, we have Joe Mathis freight-training Casey Tucker.

\r\n\r\n

Washington racked up eight sacks. Incredibly, they did it without blitzing. At all. Not one time. David Bright and A.T. Hall particularly struggled in pass protection, and Tucker was last seen being helped off the field.

\r\n\r\n

Remember the book \"Rough Magic\"? It chronicled Bill Walsh's return to Stanford Football in 1992. Fantastically revealing book, if you haven't read it yet. After another rocky showing by his crew, then-Cardinal offensive line coach Scott Schuhmann worried, \"Bob Whitfield gets paid five million to play tackle for the Atlanta Falcons. The people we have playing that position now may never get paid anything.\"

\r\n\r\n

I was reminded of that quote while watching the Cardinal's offensive line spend its evening getting pillaged by the Huskies. Interestingly enough, in another instance of history repeating itself, Schuhmann's 1992 line spent a day at Husky Stadium getting wrecked by Washington, too.

\r\n\r\n

As we've discussed many times in this space, Stanford's entire offensive scheme is predicated upon the offensive line. If nothing happens up front, then nothing happens anywhere else. It's that simple.

\r\n\r\n

Hard for Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love to get going when there are no holes. Hard for Ryan Burns to get his receivers involved when he has no time to complete his dropback, much less his progression. Against the Huskies, both of those worst-case scenarios became reality. The Cardinal offense posted losses big enough to make Donald Trump's tax preparers blush.

\r\n\r\n

Sure, Stanford was playing against a stacked deck. A road game on a short week. Injuries to a handful of starters. First week of classes (though the Huskies' academic quarter started last week, too). A pumped-up team playing in front of a pumped-up crowd ready for its biggest game in God knows how long. Even before the kickoff, there were reasons to think the planets weren't exactly aligning in the Card's favor.

\r\n\r\n

That said, those excuses give short shrift to a Washington team that called a better game and executed on a much higher level. The Huskies were ready for their moment, they seized it, and they did not let go. Give the Huskies all the credit in the world. At this moment, they're the Pac-12's kings of the hill.

\r\n\r\n

So. What now?

\r\n\r\n

Some things to note. One, as a reminder, David Shaw's teams are 13-1 following a loss. That's mindblowing. It's also a reason not to get too bent out of shape about how this week could go against Washington State.

\r\n\r\n

Two, the Cougars' defense may not be quite as physical as Washington's is, but they're almost as quick, and certainly as aggressive. Think back to how Washington State's quickness gave the Stanford offense fits last year (and how the Card were eventually able to use the Cougars' speed and aggression against them). This will be a stern test for an offensive line that suddenly has a lot to prove.

\r\n\r\n

Three, the toughest part of Stanford's schedule is done, and the Cardinal still have a 3-1 record that many teams would kill for. The Cougars are tough, but they're not world-beaters. Notre Dame didn't just lose to Duke at home, they had no answers for the Blue Devils. For the first time in a decade, the Buffaloes are tasting success, but whether they can sustain it remains to be seen. Same for Cal, although I suspect they're a different team at home than on the road (Big Game is at Berkeley this year, by the way). The Green Light defense has returned to Oregon. The Beavers and the Wildcats just are not ready for prime time yet.

\r\n\r\n

Do the opponents get less difficult from here for Stanford? They seem to, yes. Then again, no opponent is easy when you can't block them.

\r\n\r\n

Four, do not ask me what it will take for Stanford to get in the playoff. You will quickly be given the Jim Mora \"PLAYOFFS?!??!!!?\" face.

\r\n\r\n

After a Friday night in Seattle that went sideways for Stanford very quickly, the remainder of the Card's season could head any number of ways. But after a rock-bottom showing for the offensive line -- the heartbeat of this team -- right now the only way is up.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

\r\n\r\n

I'm not an offensive coordinator, but I sometimes play one on the Internet and social media. But once it was evident that Washington's pass rush was going to look like the Fearsome Foursome, I was surprised the Card didn't try more screen passes, quicker dropbacks, and get McCaffrey and Love in space. We saw it, just not quite to the extent I thought we might...

\r\n\r\n

I almost fell off my couch in amazement after Christian McCaffrey's catch and carry in which he juked two Husky defenders into Lake Washington and somehow converted fourth-and-long. Be sure to put that in his highlight reel...

\r\n\r\n

Another bright spot offensively: Trenton Irwin. The more I see of him, the more I like him...

\r\n\r\n

Always good to see ESPN in the house for Stanford Football, but especially nice that Rod Gilmore gets a home game...

\r\n\r\n

The story from Pullman last week isn't that Washington State lit up Oregon's defense. The story is that they also mashed the Ducks into the dirt. 284 yards rushing? For the Cougs? They probably haven't done anything like that since Reuben Mayes was running wild on the Palouse...

\r\n\r\n

Speaking of the Palouse, that's where I'll be on Saturday. A late addition to my Pac-12 Network soccer schedule has me calling the Washington State's match against Arizona State in Pullman on Sunday. I'll be thinking of all of you at Stanford Stadium while I'm watching the game and trying to keep a low profile in Cougars' country...

\r\n\r\n

If this had been the first week of October 2008 and you would've told me that eight years later the Pac-12's ranked teams would be Washington, Stanford, Utah, and Colorado, I would've called you crazy. Then the 2008 version of me would have said, \"why the hell are Utah and Colorado in the conference?\"

\r\n\r\n

Stat of the Week: Colorado QB Steven Montez's first-half passing numbers against Oregon and Oregon State? 28-39-469, 4 TD, 0 INT. The completion percentage is impressive, but those of you who know me know that I'm much bigger on the yardage-per-attempt ratio. And by the way, he completed 14 straight against the Ducks and 11 straight versus the Beavers (after starting oh-for-three)...

\r\n\r\n

I'll be honest. Of all the possible outcomes I envisioned for the Golden Bears this season, \"Cal wins a game with a goal-line stand\" was definitely not in the mix...

\r\n\r\n

Big questions still remain for the Bears, by the way. Can they quit committing heinous penalties at critical times? And can their defense get off the field on third (and/or fourth) down? Cal is frisky, but until I see that from their defense, I can't call them a contender...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... as I type this, the Heisman Trophy is Lamar Jackson's to lose. On a related note, in the Jackson Power Rankings, Michael and Janet are still the top two, but right now Lamar may be tied with Samuel L...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... Charlie Strong might need a win against Oklahoma to save his job. Haven't we seen this movie before?

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... what's a more dangerous job: Big 12 defensive coordinator? Or javelin catcher?

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... my two childhood sports heroes were John Elway and Dave Stewart. Both won championships. Both were dominant as players. Both eventually became general managers. One has had big success. The other, not so much. Sorry to see Stew get run off by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then again, that seems to be a tough, tough place to win. Ask A.J. Hinch for his thoughts on this...

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... thank you, Dick Enberg. And thank you, Vin Scully. Two broadcasting giants called it a career on the same day. The business loses so much without them...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

\r\n\r\n

Colorado @ USC (-4.5). If Steven Montez gets off to another hot start, look out. The onus is on the Trojan defense, I think. Being at home will help. A Colorado win would not surprise me, but I like USC by 3.

\r\n\r\n

Washington (-8) @ Oregon. You know my rule: if your defense isn't up to snuff, it's going to be hard for me to pick you to win. The desperate Ducks might hang for a quarter or two, but right now it appears they are no match for the high-flying Huskies. I like Washington by 20.

\r\n\r\n

Cal (-13.5) @ Oregon State. Overall, I'm still wary of the Bears' chances on the road. But the Beavers just don't have enough right now. I like Cal by 15.

\r\n\r\n

Arizona @ Utah (-9.5). Utah's starting to run out of players. Center J.J. Dielman is the latest to be lost for the season with injury. If this game was in Tucson, I'd be all over the Wildcats. But it's not, so I like Utah by 12.

\r\n\r\n

UCLA (-10) @ Arizona State. I have more faith in the Bruins defense (some) than I have in the Sun Devil defense (none). Oh, and I know who UCLA's starting quarterback is going to be. I like UCLA by 18.

\r\n\r\n

Last week: 4-1 (straight-up), 2-3 (ATS).

\r\n

This year: 7-2 (straight-up), 4-4 (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.

\r\n

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\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

No way to spin it; for Stanford fans, that 44-6 loss to Washington last week went over about as well as a fart in church. Smelled about the same, too.

The Huskies whipped Stanford soundly on all levels. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Quarterback. Linebackers. Receivers. Secondary. Defensive Line. Running backs. Everywhere.

But no unit took the brunt of Dawg domination more than the Card's offensive line, which was overmatched right from the start. Last year, we had Joshua Garnett mauling JoJoMcIntosh. This year, we have Joe Mathis freight-training Casey Tucker.

Washington racked up eight sacks. Incredibly, they did it without blitzing. At all. Not one time. David Bright and A.T. Hall particularly struggled in pass protection, and Tucker was last seen being helped off the field.

Remember the book \"Rough Magic\"? It chronicled Bill Walsh's return to Stanford Football in 1992. Fantastically revealing book, if you haven't read it yet. After another rocky showing by his crew, then-Cardinal offensive line coach Scott Schuhmann worried, \"Bob Whitfield gets paid five million to play tackle for the Atlanta Falcons. The people we have playing that position now may never get paid anything.\"

I was reminded of that quote while watching the Cardinal's offensive line spend its evening getting pillaged by the Huskies. Interestingly enough, in another instance of history repeating itself, Schuhmann's 1992 line spent a day at Husky Stadium getting wrecked by Washington, too.

As we've discussed many times in this space, Stanford's entire offensive scheme is predicated upon the offensive line. If nothing happens up front, then nothing happens anywhere else. It's that simple.

Hard for Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love to get going when there are no holes. Hard for Ryan Burns to get his receivers involved when he has no time to complete his dropback, much less his progression. Against the Huskies, both of those worst-case scenarios became reality. The Cardinal offense posted losses big enough to make Donald Trump's tax preparers blush.

Sure, Stanford was playing against a stacked deck. A road game on a short week. Injuries to a handful of starters. First week of classes (though the Huskies' academic quarter started last week, too). A pumped-up team playing in front of a pumped-up crowd ready for its biggest game in God knows how long. Even before the kickoff, there were reasons to think the planets weren't exactly aligning in the Card's favor.

That said, those excuses give short shrift to a Washington team that called a better game and executed on a much higher level. The Huskies were ready for their moment, they seized it, and they did not let go. Give the Huskies all the credit in the world. At this moment, they're the Pac-12's kings of the hill.

So. What now?

Some things to note. One, as a reminder, David Shaw's teams are 13-1 following a loss. That's mindblowing. It's also a reason not to get too bent out of shape about how this week could go against Washington State.

Two, the Cougars' defense may not be quite as physical as Washington's is, but they're almost as quick, and certainly as aggressive. Think back to how Washington State's quickness gave the Stanford offense fits last year (and how the Card were eventually able to use the Cougars' speed and aggression against them). This will be a stern test for an offensive line that suddenly has a lot to prove.

Three, the toughest part of Stanford's schedule is done, and the Cardinal still have a 3-1 record that many teams would kill for. The Cougars are tough, but they're not world-beaters. Notre Dame didn't just lose to Duke at home, they had no answers for the Blue Devils. For the first time in a decade, the Buffaloes are tasting success, but whether they can sustain it remains to be seen. Same for Cal, although I suspect they're a different team at home than on the road (Big Game is at Berkeley this year, by the way). The Green Light defense has returned to Oregon. The Beavers and the Wildcats just are not ready for prime time yet.

Do the opponents get less difficult from here for Stanford? They seem to, yes. Then again, no opponent is easy when you can't block them.

Four, do not ask me what it will take for Stanford to get in the playoff. You will quickly be given the Jim Mora \"PLAYOFFS?!??!!!?\" face.

After a Friday night in Seattle that went sideways for Stanford very quickly, the remainder of the Card's season could head any number of ways. But after a rock-bottom showing for the offensive line -- the heartbeat of this team -- right now the only way is up.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

I'm not an offensive coordinator, but I sometimes play one on the Internet and social media. But once it was evident that Washington's pass rush was going to look like the Fearsome Foursome, I was surprised the Card didn't try more screen passes, quicker dropbacks, and get McCaffrey and Love in space. We saw it, just not quite to the extent I thought we might...

I almost fell off my couch in amazement after Christian McCaffrey's catch and carry in which he juked two Husky defenders into Lake Washington and somehow converted fourth-and-long. Be sure to put that in his highlight reel...

Another bright spot offensively: Trenton Irwin. The more I see of him, the more I like him...

Always good to see ESPN in the house for Stanford Football, but especially nice that Rod Gilmore gets a home game...

The story from Pullman last week isn't that Washington State lit up Oregon's defense. The story is that they also mashed the Ducks into the dirt. 284 yards rushing? For the Cougs? They probably haven't done anything like that since Reuben Mayes was running wild on the Palouse...

Speaking of the Palouse, that's where I'll be on Saturday. A late addition to my Pac-12 Network soccer schedule has me calling the Washington State's match against Arizona State in Pullman on Sunday. I'll be thinking of all of you at Stanford Stadium while I'm watching the game and trying to keep a low profile in Cougars' country...

If this had been the first week of October 2008 and you would've told me that eight years later the Pac-12's ranked teams would be Washington, Stanford, Utah, and Colorado, I would've called you crazy. Then the 2008 version of me would have said, \"why the hell are Utah and Colorado in the conference?\"

Stat of the Week: Colorado QB Steven Montez's first-half passing numbers against Oregon and Oregon State? 28-39-469, 4 TD, 0 INT. The completion percentage is impressive, but those of you who know me know that I'm much bigger on the yardage-per-attempt ratio. And by the way, he completed 14 straight against the Ducks and 11 straight versus the Beavers (after starting oh-for-three)...

I'll be honest. Of all the possible outcomes I envisioned for the Golden Bears this season, \"Cal wins a game with a goal-line stand\" was definitely not in the mix...

Big questions still remain for the Bears, by the way. Can they quit committing heinous penalties at critical times? And can their defense get off the field on third (and/or fourth) down? Cal is frisky, but until I see that from their defense, I can't call them a contender...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... as I type this, the Heisman Trophy is Lamar Jackson's to lose. On a related note, in the Jackson Power Rankings, Michael and Janet are still the top two, but right now Lamar may be tied with Samuel L...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... Charlie Strong might need a win against Oklahoma to save his job. Haven't we seen this movie before?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... what's a more dangerous job: Big 12 defensive coordinator? Or javelin catcher?

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... my two childhood sports heroes were John Elway and Dave Stewart. Both won championships. Both were dominant as players. Both eventually became general managers. One has had big success. The other, not so much. Sorry to see Stew get run off by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then again, that seems to be a tough, tough place to win. Ask A.J. Hinch for his thoughts on this...

Not a Pac-12 thought, but... thank you, Dick Enberg. And thank you, Vin Scully. Two broadcasting giants called it a career on the same day. The business loses so much without them...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

Colorado @ USC (-4.5). If Steven Montez gets off to another hot start, look out. The onus is on the Trojan defense, I think. Being at home will help. A Colorado win would not surprise me, but I like USC by 3.

Washington (-8) @ Oregon. You know my rule: if your defense isn't up to snuff, it's going to be hard for me to pick you to win. The desperate Ducks might hang for a quarter or two, but right now it appears they are no match for the high-flying Huskies. I like Washington by 20.

Cal (-13.5) @ Oregon State. Overall, I'm still wary of the Bears' chances on the road. But the Beavers just don't have enough right now. I like Cal by 15.

Arizona @ Utah (-9.5). Utah's starting to run out of players. Center J.J. Dielman is the latest to be lost for the season with injury. If this game was in Tucson, I'd be all over the Wildcats. But it's not, so I like Utah by 12.

UCLA (-10) @ Arizona State. I have more faith in the Bruins defense (some) than I have in the Sun Devil defense (none). Oh, and I know who UCLA's starting quarterback is going to be. I like UCLA by 18.

Last week: 4-1 (straight-up), 2-3 (ATS).

This year: 7-2 (straight-up), 4-4 (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)!

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