Clardy's Corner: Football's Crossroads

While the NFL cools off, college football is still hot. Can college football sustain its momentum?



After a night like last night, this week's Corner is going to talk about something that actually brings America together: football. I love football. If you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you do, too.

Right now, though, I'm in danger of falling out of love with the National Football League. If you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you are, too. If you haven't already.

It wasn't that long ago when the NFL was at the top of its game. Remember that 2013 NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks? The drama? The violence? The intensity? Richard Sherman becoming a household name with one postgame interview? I realize things are cyclical, but at this point, that may go down as the last great NFL game.

Now? The league is a shell of itself. And the damage has been overwhelmingly self-inflicted. Atrocious officiating. A bumbling approach to player discipline that seems heavy-handed on trivial things (PSI: New England) and much too lenient on actual crimes (Ray Rice, Josh Brown, etc.). A PR strategy that seems completely tone deaf. A television strategy that cannibalizes itself. Greedy owners who only care about maximizing revenue and let the football product take a backseat after they get their new billion-plus dollar stadium built.

And that's before I even get to the mediocre product on the field itself. Actually, in some cases, "mediocre" may be a bit generous. I mean, have you seen the 49ers this year?

I have not watched much NFL this year, and that saddens me on some levels, because the NFL is the league that I love. I grew up watching and idolizing NFL Films, completely buying in to the mythology that Steve Sabol and his crew so deftly created. If someone called me today and offered me the chance to announce an NFL game, I'd take it and keep it for as long as I could. That would still fulfill a career dream of mine.

But, as I've said many times in this space and others, life is too short to spend it watching bad football. And it doesn't appear that I'm missing much.

Meanwhile, college football? That product, I think, is still pretty good. That might be hard to convince Stanford fans who have watched their team's offense struggle, and some of the stuff I've watched in the Big 12 is pretty rough. No matter. High-level college football is still America's best spectator sport. And it's still great on TV, too.

But there are some cracks starting to form in college football's product. For one thing, the games are just too long. Especially when two spread offenses go at each other. Cal meets Washington State this week for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The way those two teams play, I'll be shocked if that game goes final before 11:45.

Especially considering that it involves Stanford's next two opponents, It's worth bringing back my Stat of the Week from a couple of Corners ago: including pays called back due to penalty, Cal and Oregon snapped the ball a combined 214 times in that Memorial Stadium marathon last month. Officially, Cal ran 118 plays in that game, an FBS record.

118 plays. Think about that. For some perspective, Notre Dame and Navy combined for 120 plays last week.

(by the way, the most amazing thing from that game is that Notre Dame had a grand total of two possessions in the second half. That's it. The game lasted three hours and five minutes. Cal-Washington State might just be coming back from halftime after three hours and five minutes! Back to the Corner...)

My first thought when I saw the snap total from Cal-Oregon: this can't be sustainable, can it? Granted, that game is a bit of an outlier, but thanks to the proliferation of spread offenses that ratchet up the tempo and rack up the snaps, the numbers are still trending in that direction. Plus, as we've discussed before, players are much bigger, faster, and stronger then they've ever been. Can college football sustain and survive this kind of breakneck pace?

"That's one thing I don't know," David Shaw said when I asked him for his thoughts. "I haven't seen any empirical evidence that there are more injuries with longer games and with more snaps.

"It kind of makes sense that it probably would be that way. I just haven't seen anything that makes me say that it is. I don't know that it's really a player safety issue."

I haven't seen any empirical evidence, either, but that outcome seems likely enough to me that it needs to be addressed. And even though football is inherently a rough, violent game, it seems that more teams than normal have been decimated by injury.

Would changing the clock rules help? I think so. If college football decided to let the clock run after first downs in order to shorten games and cap snap totals, I'd be all for it.

I also worry about ever-changing kickoff times that make it impossible for fans to keep up with their school. Big Game kicks off in ten days from now. Do you know what time the kickoff is? No, you don't. And neither does anyone else.

The kickoff time has yet to be announced because it's all in the hands of the TV schedulers. And they won't make their call until next Monday at the latest. I'm sure I don't need to tell you, but that's frustrating. And it's hard for me to come up with reasons why the six-day selection window is good for the fans and student-athletes.

College football has its warts, and it has its major issues (I haven't even touched on the notion of actually paying the student-athletes beyond their scholarships, and I won't here). But as the NFL falters, college football still appears to be on largely solid footing. And it, unlike the NFL, still appears to be bringing this country together like nothing else.

That's a good thing. Especially now.

I love college football. I still love the NFL, though it is testing my patience like never before. For one sport, the bubble may be bursting as we speak. There is still time for the other sport to learn from those mistakes.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

By my count, Stanford ran the ball on its final 28 plays against Oregon State (some accounts have 29, but that likely includes a play negated by penalty). The Card also had a stretch in the second quarter when they ran it 12 straight times. Part of me says that's Stanford Football at its best. But much of me says it speaks volumes for the state of the Cardinal passing game...

Then again, as Jon Wilner and others have pointed out, with the putrid run defenses left on Stanford's schedule, how much will the Card's nearly nonexistent passing attack matter?

But still, Chryst (or whomever is taking snaps) is still going to need to make at least one big throw a game. I hope Chryst has it in him...

Is it me, or will the next time I see a Stanford receiver running a crossing route this year be the first?

Good to see Noor Davis at the Tuesday's football media luncheon. I remember shaking hands with him his freshman year. Finally got the feeling back in my hand a few weeks ago...

As a Pac-12 Network employee, I hope we didn't break any obscenity laws for broadcasting this Arizona-Washington State beatdown last week. My God...

Thought Washington would have a tougher time of it in Berkeley than they did, just because weird things can happen to ranked teams at night in that stadium. Knew their offense would be virtually unstoppable, though. And it was...

John Ross IV's second touchdown against the Bears was the very definition of, as Ice Cube would say, "freaking brothers every way like MJ"...

I actually thought the latest College Football Playoff rankings would put Ohio State in that fourth spot. As of right now, I actually think the Buckeyes have a better resume than the Huskies (UW's non-conference schedule is darn-near indefensible). But, of course, that will change. Especially after Ohio State meets Michigan, and after Washington runs the Apple Cup/Pac-12 Title Game gauntlet (assuming they make it to Santa Clara)...

USC is back in the rankings. Good on the committee for recognizing what the AP voters have missed...

Pac-12 Breakfast Tour: Upon the separate recommendations of FrankO and Pac-12 deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich, I visited the Glenwood while in Eugene last week. Ideal location, just off the UO campus. A more sophisticated vibe than my previous Eugene place (GJ's), but a good mix of older locals and students alike. Grabbed a copy of the Oregon student paper and had the Montana scramble. Eavesdropped on the group of journalism students sitting at the table next to me. Enjoyed it all! So now I have two spots in Eugene for breakfast...and if you're heading up there for the game this weekend, so do you!

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but...all I will say about the election here is this: the messages I received from the results are, quite frankly, not good. Going forward, I hope that all of us can act with the compassion, empathy, and nuance that should be staples of what this country is about, but was almost completely nonexistent during the campaigns. This is my America. And yours. And theirs, too. I hope we all act like it from here out, and it needs to start at the top. Or we all pay the price...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

Utah (-5.5) @ Arizona State (Thursday). The Sun Devils are at home, which is nice, but they're just too banged up to deal with the Utes. I like Utah by 14.

USC @ Washington (-9). The Trojans have been on the right track, and they could pose some problems for the Huskies. But since this game is in Seattle, I like Washington by 15.

Oregon State @ UCLA (-12). The Bruins get better for a day. I like UCLA by 12.

Colorado (-16) @ Arizona. I was surprised by how sloppy the Buffs were against UCLA last week. Even if they're that sloppy again this week, they still have more than enough to get the job done. I like Colorado by 18.

Cal @ Washington State (-15). There is no indication to me that the Bears defense can handle the Cougs. None. I like Washington State by 22.

Last week: 4-0 (straight-up), 2-2 (ATS).

This year: 24-6 (straight-up), 13-14 (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

After a night like last night, this week's Corner is going to talk about something that actually brings America together: football. I love football. If you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you do, too.

\r\n\r\n

Right now, though, I'm in danger of falling out of love with the National Football League. If you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you are, too. If you haven't already.

\r\n\r\n

It wasn't that long ago when the NFL was at the top of its game. Remember that 2013 NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks? The drama? The violence? The intensity? Richard Sherman becoming a household name with one postgame interview? I realize things are cyclical, but at this point, that may go down as the last great NFL game.

\r\n\r\n

Now? The league is a shell of itself. And the damage has been overwhelmingly self-inflicted. Atrocious officiating. A bumbling approach to player discipline that seems heavy-handed on trivial things (PSI: New England) and much too lenient on actual crimes (Ray Rice, Josh Brown, etc.). A PR strategy that seems completely tone deaf. A television strategy that cannibalizes itself. Greedy owners who only care about maximizing revenue and let the football product take a backseat after they get their new billion-plus dollar stadium built.

\r\n\r\n

And that's before I even get to the mediocre product on the field itself. Actually, in some cases, \"mediocre\" may be a bit generous. I mean, have you seen the 49ers this year?

\r\n\r\n

I have not watched much NFL this year, and that saddens me on some levels, because the NFL is the league that I love. I grew up watching and idolizing NFL Films, completely buying in to the mythology that Steve Sabol and his crew so deftly created. If someone called me today and offered me the chance to announce an NFL game, I'd take it and keep it for as long as I could. That would still fulfill a career dream of mine.

\r\n\r\n

But, as I've said many times in this space and others, life is too short to spend it watching bad football. And it doesn't appear that I'm missing much.

\r\n\r\n

Meanwhile, college football? That product, I think, is still pretty good. That might be hard to convince Stanford fans who have watched their team's offense struggle, and some of the stuff I've watched in the Big 12 is pretty rough. No matter. High-level college football is still America's best spectator sport. And it's still great on TV, too.

\r\n\r\n

But there are some cracks starting to form in college football's product. For one thing, the games are just too long. Especially when two spread offenses go at each other. Cal meets Washington State this week for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The way those two teams play, I'll be shocked if that game goes final before 11:45.

\r\n\r\n

Especially considering that it involves Stanford's next two opponents, It's worth bringing back my Stat of the Week from a couple of Corners ago: including pays called back due to penalty, Cal and Oregon snapped the ball a combined 214 times in that Memorial Stadium marathon last month. Officially, Cal ran 118 plays in that game, an FBS record.

\r\n\r\n

118 plays. Think about that. For some perspective, Notre Dame and Navy combined for 120 plays last week.

\r\n\r\n

(by the way, the most amazing thing from that game is that Notre Dame had a grand total of two possessions in the second half. That's it. The game lasted three hours and five minutes. Cal-Washington State might just be coming back from halftime after three hours and five minutes! Back to the Corner...)

\r\n\r\n

My first thought when I saw the snap total from Cal-Oregon: this can't be sustainable, can it? Granted, that game is a bit of an outlier, but thanks to the proliferation of spread offenses that ratchet up the tempo and rack up the snaps, the numbers are still trending in that direction. Plus, as we've discussed before, players are much bigger, faster, and stronger then they've ever been. Can college football sustain and survive this kind of breakneck pace?

\r\n\r\n

\"That's one thing I don't know,\" David Shaw said when I asked him for his thoughts. \"I haven't seen any empirical evidence that there are more injuries with longer games and with more snaps.

\r\n\r\n

\"It kind of makes sense that it probably would be that way. I just haven't seen anything that makes me say that it is. I don't know that it's really a player safety issue.\"

\r\n\r\n

I haven't seen any empirical evidence, either, but that outcome seems likely enough to me that it needs to be addressed. And even though football is inherently a rough, violent game, it seems that more teams than normal have been decimated by injury.

\r\n\r\n

Would changing the clock rules help? I think so. If college football decided to let the clock run after first downs in order to shorten games and cap snap totals, I'd be all for it.

\r\n\r\n

I also worry about ever-changing kickoff times that make it impossible for fans to keep up with their school. Big Game kicks off in ten days from now. Do you know what time the kickoff is? No, you don't. And neither does anyone else.

\r\n\r\n

The kickoff time has yet to be announced because it's all in the hands of the TV schedulers. And they won't make their call until next Monday at the latest. I'm sure I don't need to tell you, but that's frustrating. And it's hard for me to come up with reasons why the six-day selection window is good for the fans and student-athletes.

\r\n\r\n

College football has its warts, and it has its major issues (I haven't even touched on the notion of actually paying the student-athletes beyond their scholarships, and I won't here). But as the NFL falters, college football still appears to be on largely solid footing. And it, unlike the NFL, still appears to be bringing this country together like nothing else.

\r\n\r\n

That's a good thing. Especially now.

\r\n\r\n

I love college football. I still love the NFL, though it is testing my patience like never before. For one sport, the bubble may be bursting as we speak. There is still time for the other sport to learn from those mistakes.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

\r\n\r\n

By my count, Stanford ran the ball on its final 28 plays against Oregon State (some accounts have 29, but that likely includes a play negated by penalty). The Card also had a stretch in the second quarter when they ran it 12 straight times. Part of me says that's Stanford Football at its best. But much of me says it speaks volumes for the state of the Cardinal passing game...

\r\n\r\n

Then again, as Jon Wilner and others have pointed out, with the putrid run defenses left on Stanford's schedule, how much will the Card's nearly nonexistent passing attack matter?

\r\n\r\n

But still, Chryst (or whomever is taking snaps) is still going to need to make at least one big throw a game. I hope Chryst has it in him...

\r\n\r\n

Is it me, or will the next time I see a Stanford receiver running a crossing route this year be the first?

\r\n\r\n

Good to see Noor Davis at the Tuesday's football media luncheon. I remember shaking hands with him his freshman year. Finally got the feeling back in my hand a few weeks ago...

\r\n\r\n

As a Pac-12 Network employee, I hope we didn't break any obscenity laws for broadcasting this Arizona-Washington State beatdown last week. My God...

\r\n\r\n

Thought Washington would have a tougher time of it in Berkeley than they did, just because weird things can happen to ranked teams at night in that stadium. Knew their offense would be virtually unstoppable, though. And it was...

\r\n\r\n

John Ross IV's second touchdown against the Bears was the very definition of, as Ice Cube would say, \"freaking brothers every way like MJ\"...

\r\n\r\n

I actually thought the latest College Football Playoff rankings would put Ohio State in that fourth spot. As of right now, I actually think the Buckeyes have a better resume than the Huskies (UW's non-conference schedule is darn-near indefensible). But, of course, that will change. Especially after Ohio State meets Michigan, and after Washington runs the Apple Cup/Pac-12 Title Game gauntlet (assuming they make it to Santa Clara)...

\r\n\r\n

USC is back in the rankings. Good on the committee for recognizing what the AP voters have missed...

\r\n\r\n

Pac-12 Breakfast Tour: Upon the separate recommendations of FrankO and Pac-12 deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich, I visited the Glenwood while in Eugene last week. Ideal location, just off the UO campus. A more sophisticated vibe than my previous Eugene place (GJ's), but a good mix of older locals and students alike. Grabbed a copy of the Oregon student paper and had the Montana scramble. Eavesdropped on the group of journalism students sitting at the table next to me. Enjoyed it all! So now I have two spots in Eugene for breakfast...and if you're heading up there for the game this weekend, so do you!

\r\n\r\n

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but...all I will say about the election here is this: the messages I received from the results are, quite frankly, not good. Going forward, I hope that all of us can act with the compassion, empathy, and nuance that should be staples of what this country is about, but was almost completely nonexistent during the campaigns. This is my America. And yours. And theirs, too. I hope we all act like it from here out, and it needs to start at the top. Or we all pay the price...

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

\r\nPAC-12 PICKS\r\n

\r\nUtah (-5.5) @ Arizona State (Thursday). The Sun Devils are at home, which is nice, but they're just too banged up to deal with the Utes. I like Utah by 14.\r\n

\r\nUSC @ Washington (-9). The Trojans have been on the right track, and they could pose some problems for the Huskies. But since this game is in Seattle, I like Washington by 15.\r\n

\r\nOregon State @ UCLA (-12). The Bruins get better for a day. I like UCLA by 12.\r\n

\r\nColorado (-16) @ Arizona. I was surprised by how sloppy the Buffs were against UCLA last week. Even if they're that sloppy again this week, they still have more than enough to get the job done. I like Colorado by 18.\r\n

\r\nCal @ Washington State (-15). There is no indication to me that the Bears defense can handle the Cougs. None. I like Washington State by 22.\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Last week: 4-0 (straight-up), 2-2 (ATS).

\r\n

This year: 24-6 (straight-up), 13-14 (ATS).

\r\n

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

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

The 2016 season marks Troy Clardy’s 24th year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. Troy also calls baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse games for the Pac-12 Network, and was the sideline reporter for the Stanford football radio network's broadcast of the 2016 Rose Bowl. In its 15th season of Cardinal commentary, Clardy’s Corner appears Wednesdays during the college football regular season on TheBootleg.com. You can also check him out online at TroyClardy.com, follow him on Twitter @TroyClardy, or Like him on Facebook.

\r\n

\r\n




\r\n

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com(sign-up)!

","mobileBody":" Follow @TroyClardy

After a night like last night, this week's Corner is going to talk about something that actually brings America together: football. I love football. If you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you do, too.

Right now, though, I'm in danger of falling out of love with the National Football League. If you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you are, too. If you haven't already.

It wasn't that long ago when the NFL was at the top of its game. Remember that 2013 NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks? The drama? The violence? The intensity? Richard Sherman becoming a household name with one postgame interview? I realize things are cyclical, but at this point, that may go down as the last great NFL game.

Now? The league is a shell of itself. And the damage has been overwhelmingly self-inflicted. Atrocious officiating. A bumbling approach to player discipline that seems heavy-handed on trivial things (PSI: New England) and much too lenient on actual crimes (Ray Rice, Josh Brown, etc.). A PR strategy that seems completely tone deaf. A television strategy that cannibalizes itself. Greedy owners who only care about maximizing revenue and let the football product take a backseat after they get their new billion-plus dollar stadium built.

And that's before I even get to the mediocre product on the field itself. Actually, in some cases, \"mediocre\" may be a bit generous. I mean, have you seen the 49ers this year?

I have not watched much NFL this year, and that saddens me on some levels, because the NFL is the league that I love. I grew up watching and idolizing NFL Films, completely buying in to the mythology that Steve Sabol and his crew so deftly created. If someone called me today and offered me the chance to announce an NFL game, I'd take it and keep it for as long as I could. That would still fulfill a career dream of mine.

But, as I've said many times in this space and others, life is too short to spend it watching bad football. And it doesn't appear that I'm missing much.

Meanwhile, college football? That product, I think, is still pretty good. That might be hard to convince Stanford fans who have watched their team's offense struggle, and some of the stuff I've watched in the Big 12 is pretty rough. No matter. High-level college football is still America's best spectator sport. And it's still great on TV, too.

But there are some cracks starting to form in college football's product. For one thing, the games are just too long. Especially when two spread offenses go at each other. Cal meets Washington State this week for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The way those two teams play, I'll be shocked if that game goes final before 11:45.

Especially considering that it involves Stanford's next two opponents, It's worth bringing back my Stat of the Week from a couple of Corners ago: including pays called back due to penalty, Cal and Oregon snapped the ball a combined 214 times in that Memorial Stadium marathon last month. Officially, Cal ran 118 plays in that game, an FBS record.

118 plays. Think about that. For some perspective, Notre Dame and Navy combined for 120 plays last week.

(by the way, the most amazing thing from that game is that Notre Dame had a grand total of two possessions in the second half. That's it. The game lasted three hours and five minutes. Cal-Washington State might just be coming back from halftime after three hours and five minutes! Back to the Corner...)

My first thought when I saw the snap total from Cal-Oregon: this can't be sustainable, can it? Granted, that game is a bit of an outlier, but thanks to the proliferation of spread offenses that ratchet up the tempo and rack up the snaps, the numbers are still trending in that direction. Plus, as we've discussed before, players are much bigger, faster, and stronger then they've ever been. Can college football sustain and survive this kind of breakneck pace?

\"That's one thing I don't know,\" David Shaw said when I asked him for his thoughts. \"I haven't seen any empirical evidence that there are more injuries with longer games and with more snaps.

\"It kind of makes sense that it probably would be that way. I just haven't seen anything that makes me say that it is. I don't know that it's really a player safety issue.\"

I haven't seen any empirical evidence, either, but that outcome seems likely enough to me that it needs to be addressed. And even though football is inherently a rough, violent game, it seems that more teams than normal have been decimated by injury.

Would changing the clock rules help? I think so. If college football decided to let the clock run after first downs in order to shorten games and cap snap totals, I'd be all for it.

I also worry about ever-changing kickoff times that make it impossible for fans to keep up with their school. Big Game kicks off in ten days from now. Do you know what time the kickoff is? No, you don't. And neither does anyone else.

The kickoff time has yet to be announced because it's all in the hands of the TV schedulers. And they won't make their call until next Monday at the latest. I'm sure I don't need to tell you, but that's frustrating. And it's hard for me to come up with reasons why the six-day selection window is good for the fans and student-athletes.

College football has its warts, and it has its major issues (I haven't even touched on the notion of actually paying the student-athletes beyond their scholarships, and I won't here). But as the NFL falters, college football still appears to be on largely solid footing. And it, unlike the NFL, still appears to be bringing this country together like nothing else.

That's a good thing. Especially now.

I love college football. I still love the NFL, though it is testing my patience like never before. For one sport, the bubble may be bursting as we speak. There is still time for the other sport to learn from those mistakes.

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

RANDOM PAC-12 THOUGHTS

By my count, Stanford ran the ball on its final 28 plays against Oregon State (some accounts have 29, but that likely includes a play negated by penalty). The Card also had a stretch in the second quarter when they ran it 12 straight times. Part of me says that's Stanford Football at its best. But much of me says it speaks volumes for the state of the Cardinal passing game...

Then again, as Jon Wilner and others have pointed out, with the putrid run defenses left on Stanford's schedule, how much will the Card's nearly nonexistent passing attack matter?

But still, Chryst (or whomever is taking snaps) is still going to need to make at least one big throw a game. I hope Chryst has it in him...

Is it me, or will the next time I see a Stanford receiver running a crossing route this year be the first?

Good to see Noor Davis at the Tuesday's football media luncheon. I remember shaking hands with him his freshman year. Finally got the feeling back in my hand a few weeks ago...

As a Pac-12 Network employee, I hope we didn't break any obscenity laws for broadcasting this Arizona-Washington State beatdown last week. My God...

Thought Washington would have a tougher time of it in Berkeley than they did, just because weird things can happen to ranked teams at night in that stadium. Knew their offense would be virtually unstoppable, though. And it was...

John Ross IV's second touchdown against the Bears was the very definition of, as Ice Cube would say, \"freaking brothers every way like MJ\"...

I actually thought the latest College Football Playoff rankings would put Ohio State in that fourth spot. As of right now, I actually think the Buckeyes have a better resume than the Huskies (UW's non-conference schedule is darn-near indefensible). But, of course, that will change. Especially after Ohio State meets Michigan, and after Washington runs the Apple Cup/Pac-12 Title Game gauntlet (assuming they make it to Santa Clara)...

USC is back in the rankings. Good on the committee for recognizing what the AP voters have missed...

Pac-12 Breakfast Tour: Upon the separate recommendations of FrankO and Pac-12 deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich, I visited the Glenwood while in Eugene last week. Ideal location, just off the UO campus. A more sophisticated vibe than my previous Eugene place (GJ's), but a good mix of older locals and students alike. Grabbed a copy of the Oregon student paper and had the Montana scramble. Eavesdropped on the group of journalism students sitting at the table next to me. Enjoyed it all! So now I have two spots in Eugene for breakfast...and if you're heading up there for the game this weekend, so do you!

Not a Pac-12 Thought, but...all I will say about the election here is this: the messages I received from the results are, quite frankly, not good. Going forward, I hope that all of us can act with the compassion, empathy, and nuance that should be staples of what this country is about, but was almost completely nonexistent during the campaigns. This is my America. And yours. And theirs, too. I hope we all act like it from here out, and it needs to start at the top. Or we all pay the price...

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

PAC-12 PICKS

Utah (-5.5) @ Arizona State (Thursday). The Sun Devils are at home, which is nice, but they're just too banged up to deal with the Utes. I like Utah by 14.

USC @ Washington (-9). The Trojans have been on the right track, and they could pose some problems for the Huskies. But since this game is in Seattle, I like Washington by 15.

Oregon State @ UCLA (-12). The Bruins get better for a day. I like UCLA by 12.

Colorado (-16) @ Arizona. I was surprised by how sloppy the Buffs were against UCLA last week. Even if they're that sloppy again this week, they still have more than enough to get the job done. I like Colorado by 18.

Cal @ Washington State (-15). There is no indication to me that the Bears defense can handle the Cougs. None. I like Washington State by 22.

Last week: 4-0 (straight-up), 2-2 (ATS).

This year: 24-6 (straight-up), 13-14 (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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