College sports. The pageantry. The ritual. The tradition. The emotion. The band.
Well, maybe not necessarily Stanford's band, but just play along with me here…
There's nothing like college sports. I just wish it got a bit more notice here in the Bay Area.
It's no secret that college sports aren't exactly king of the hill in the Bay Area sports scene. About the only time most folks take serious note of what's happening on campus is when they're trying to figure out how to fill out their brackets when March rolls around. Both of those last two sentences are especially true when it comes to the Cardinal.
The reasons why Stanford sports has had a relatively smaller profile in the Bay Area have been traded and debated ad nauseum. We've heard them all, whether they're right or wrong. There are so many other things to do here in the Bay Area. The fan base is small to begin with. Then it gets smaller because Stanford kids don't hang around like kids who graduate from state schools tend to. Stanford's such a hoity-toity place that no one else can relate to it. A consistent football product has been elusive. It's the media's fault.
That last reason really hits home with me, being a credential-carrying, free-hot-dog-eating, press-box-roaming member of the media and all. I don't doubt for a second that coverage of college sports is generally lacking here in the Bay Area, especially compared to many of the other areas of the country I've been to. Granted, this year has been a little different, with everyone in the local media scrambling to try to jump on cal's bandwagon while they can. But still, by and large, there is no mass media coverage of college sports in the Bay Area.
(Quick tangent here: I'm torn about whether to root for cal to be successful. If they succeed, it's obviously good for Bay Area college football as a whole, but it leaves Stanford behind. If they fail, then the short-attention-span media and fans will quickly turn to something else. Maybe I should just worry about Stanford's part of the equation in all this, because when the Cardinal are doing well, I could kinda care less what's happening at Berkeley. Yeah, I think I'll do that. Sorry for the stream of consciousness. Back to the column.)
Well, I've always thought that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. That's why I'm very pleased to make the following announcement…
Tonight will mark the debut of the "Stanford Sports Weekly" radio show. Every Wednesday evening at 8:00pm, it will be my pleasure to spend the hour talking Stanford sports. We'll have interviews with players and coaches (on tonight's show: Buddy Teevens and fellow Oklahoman T.J. Rushing). We'll chat with Stanford athletic department staff members and players from the past. We'll take you deeper inside Stanford sports than any radio show in history… or your money back!
The best part is the fact that we'll also take phone calls from you. I'm not going to lie…I missed having a postgame show last season. I missed taking phone calls. I missed being able to host a forum where we could all gather around and talk about all things Cardinal. Even when some of the games themselves might not have been a lot of fun, the postgame shows always were.
That's what excites me the most about this new show: it's a chance to get people to know about Stanford's athletic product, and to get people talking about it. We all know what a product it is, and I'm glad that "Stanford Sports Weekly" will give people outside the Cardinal community a chance to know all about it as well. It's not an Oregon-sized media blitz with billboards everywhere and front-page coverage everyday, but it's a start.
So, starting tonight, I'll see you back on the radio!
RANDOM PAC-10 THOUGHTS
I've talked a lot of smack about Oregon's defense, but I have to admit that they might be better than I thought. The two guys on the right side of the Ducks' defensive line (tackle Robby Valenzuela and end Devan Long) can play some ball…
Trivia question: When was the last time the Huskies started the season 0-3? Answer in a bit…
The Bears have caught a lot of heat over how they handled postponing that game against Southern Miss, and while I think the heat might be a little justified, the decision itself was the correct one to make. I heard many folks say that the weather was fine in Mississippi on Saturday, so they could have played the game then. Ummm, I don't have a meteorology degree, but the last time I checked, hurricane behavior isn't the easiest thing to forecast. On Tuesday of last week, there was still a very good chance that Hattiesburg would have taken a direct hit from Ivan. No one had no way of knowing with 100% certainty that the Ivan would take a right turn and head for Alabama instead. If the storm had stayed on course for Hattiesburg, what point would there have been in playing on Saturday? Would people have been able to get to the stadium safely? Would the stadium itself have been safe? What about power and water? There were just far too many unknowns to try to play last Saturday…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but… no more Glenn Dickey columns for folks to get all worked up over? Somehow in some weird way, things won't be the same. All I know is that whenever he showed up to a Stanford football coach's weekly media luncheon, you could expect to flip open the Sporting Green and see a major attack on the Stanford football program from him within 72 hours…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but… I was flipping through the channels a couple weeks ago and came across one of TV's more popular game shows. I heard seven words I never, ever thought I'd hear: "I'll take M.C. Hammer for the block…"
Quote of the Week, courtesy ABC analyst Dan Fouts, who dropped this gem after the Huskies converted a fake punt on the Bruins: "Even the (punter's) personal protector is gaining yards rushing against this UCLA defense!"
But as bad as UCLA's run defense is, Washington's was far, far worse last weekend. That leads me to the Stat of the Week, which features Maurice Drew's first-quarter numbers against the Huskies: four carries, 169 yards, three touchdowns. That's also your leader in the clubhouse for Stat of the Year…
Trivia answer: 1969. And if you remember it, you probably weren't really there…
TV programming note: this week's Farm Report will come your way on Saturday morning at 9:00a…
Gregory from Oklahoma City notes my comments on T.J. Rushing last week and writes: "Loved the Braum's reference. Now if you can just work in a reference to Field's pecan pie, or Bob's Pig Shop, two Pauls Valley stalwarts, I'll be real impressed. Love your column."
Thanks… always great to hear from the Sooner State! I should probably explain to folks what Braum's is, since I also did a Braum's shout-out in this month's The Bootleg Magazine as well… take Dairy Queen, add the best produce and frozen food sections you've ever seen, and you've got Braum's. Great stuff. You folks in Oklahoma, north Texas, and Kansas know what I'm talking about.
Anyway, whenever I go home, Braum's is always my first stop after I land, and it's always my last stop before I head to the airport. Those strawberry shakes are just about the best there is...
Bob from parts unknown writes: "Always enjoy your Bootleg column. Your mention this week of a possible Bulldog-Trojan match-up in 2005 reminded me of one of my favorite football games ever. Fresno State beat USC 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl, when FSU was nothing. It cost Larry Smith his head coaching job and, as a Stanford alum who grew up in Southern California, it felt better than most Cardinal (although it was "Indians" in my day) victories."
Isn't it always cool to see U$C lose? Hopefully we can deal them a blow this week.
People outside of California grossly underrate Fresno State... which is why it surprises me to see this game even in the planning stages. Not that the Trojans shouldn't be able to beat the Bulldogs, but this is still a dangerous game for U$C. I hope it goes down!
This is the first serious weekend of Pac-10 action, with three conference games on the slate. Since I'm not picking Stanford games this year, here are my picks for the other two…
Oregon State @ Arizona State. Boy, was that an eye-opening win for the Sun Devils last week. The Beavers should be used to playing in hostile environments by now, but until their quarterback proves he can manage the ball on the road, I like Arizona State by 13.
Washington State @ Arizona. I have a funny feeling about this one. On paper, Washington State is a better team, but they have health problems at quarterback, and their receivers haven't shown that they can hang on to the ball against a BCS conference team. Their defense has been playing pretty well, though. Arizona's defense has looked decent, too. Don't expect much scoring in this one. I like Arizona by 3.
Last week: 1-0 (straight up and ATS)
Last year: 25-15 (straight up)…you don't want to know how I did ATS
-- Got a thought on this column or on Stanford sports? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org! The ones I like best will end up in next week's E-Mailbag.
Troy Clardy is a reporter for the Stanford Cardinal Farm Report, which airs Saturday mornings on Fox Sports Net Bay Area. Clardy hosts "Stanford Sports Weekly", which airs Wednesday evenings at 8:00pm on KNTS (1220 AM) in San Francisco. He also hosts Cardinal men's basketball pregame shows on Stanford radio network flagship station KNEW in San Francisco, and "College Football Today" on KNBR 1050 in San Francisco.
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 website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!