This is the 101st Clardy's Corner for The Bootleg. But before I do a little reflecting on the previous 100 Corners, I gotta get something off my chest.
I like Worrell Williams. I enjoy watching him on the field. I actually had an enjoyable conversation with him a few weeks ago after the Bears beat Oregon, and he seemed like a good, reasonable kid. Then I saw his post-Big Game quote.
"I'm not one to be big-headed or anything like that, but we don't belong on the same field as those guys. We have way more athletes than those guys, and we're more fundamentally sound than those guys. We're better than those guys."
My immediate response to that quote had something to do with bovine feces and self-copulation.
You're going to have a hell of a time convincing me that Stanford actually lost to a better team last week. To me, cal could only win that game if two things happened. One, Stanford would need to hand them the game. Turnovers, penalties, missed opportunities, whatever. The Bears did not strike me as a team that could take control against Stanford by themselves. Two, cal would have to trick Stanford. Not just with misdirection, but with gadgets and gimmicks. If cal plays Stanford straight-up, they lose.
Lo and behold, that's exactly what happened.
I'll never have a problem if Stanford loses to a team that plays them straight-up. That's how U$C beat the Cardinal. Arizona State, too. When Oregon withstood Stanford's comeback last year and beat the Cardinal by doing what they do best, I respected that.
But I can't respect a team that has Stanford hand them the game on a silver platter, then decides to taunt the Cardinal by breaking out every trick play in the book. There was no honor in how cal won that game.
I'll agree with Williams in this respect: in the first half, it didn't look like cal belonged on the same field as Stanford. The Cardinal were clearly better. Except when they were missing a field goal. Or fumbling. Or getting a penalty called on the coaching staff. Or missing a tackle that would have gone for a major loss.
If this year's Stanford team plays this year's cal team ten times on a neutral site, Stanford wins five games. At least. Does cal have better individual athletes? Sure. But are they the better team? No. Not to me, they aren't.
If they were as good as they think they are, if they were truly the better team, they would have controlled the game from start to finish. But the way they won that game leaves a whole lot of doubt in my mind. Their players can think otherwise, and their fans can act like they're going to the Rose Bowl, but I know better.
Okay, now that that's out of the way…
101 Corners. Wow. And they said it wouldn't last! In a lot of ways, I can't believe these Corners are wrapping up their seventh season of existence. Obviously, a lot of things have changed since the first Corner was posted on September 4, 2002.
We've covered a lot of ground. We've seen some good wins. We've commiserated after a few too many losses. We've traded jabs on the message boards and in the e-mails. And I think we've had a little fun along the way.
My only goal with these Corners is to get people to think about and react to the Stanford Football product, and to do it with the intelligent irreverence that is a Stanford trademark. When I lived in the Bay Area, that often meant taking readers behind the curtain a little bit and looking at the program from the inside. Since I began writing these Corners from the East Coast, that now often means placing events within Stanford Football in a larger scheme, a bigger picture.
That was the only goal of these weekly missives. I remember someone posting on the BootBoard Plus a few years ago that these Corners should be "opinion-makers". I was flattered that someone felt there should be a higher calling to these Corners, but I never, ever saw it that way. These Corners were meant to share opinions, not shape them.
If people agree with the opinions I share, great. If people don't, that's fine too. If people do indeed have their opinions shaped by these Corners, well, okay. It may be a result, but it's definitely not the intent. I'm just calling things as I see them, even when I don't like what I'm seeing. Or calling. Do you think I like giving U$C props almost every week?
If I'm doing my job right, I'm bringing you information like Peter King, framing it with a little pop culture like Bill Simmons, and putting my own twist on it all. Sometimes it worked. Other times, not so much. But I'd like to think that it worked a whole heck of a lot more times than it didn't.
So here we are at Corner number 101. Will there be a number 102? Honestly, right now, I don't know. Hell, I didn't know if there would be anything after number 56, which is where we stood at the end of the 2005 season.
At that time, I had just moved to Connecticut from the Bay Area. Writing these Corners from long distance took some getting used to, and I was having trouble reconciling not being able to follow the program as closely as I had been. It was so tough that once the season was finished, I put my chances of returning for the 2006 season at 20-80. Of course, you know the result.
I'll admit that by the end of each season, I'm ready to step away from football for a while. A lot of coaches go through this, too. I wouldn't call it burnout, but stepping back for a little bit, to me, seems like a good way to avoid burnout. So right now, quite honestly, isn't the time to ask about Corners for 2009.
But whether there is a 102nd Corner or not, I need to thank a bunch of folks. Obviously it all starts with Lars and Jim, whom I've known and collaborated with for 12 years now. Thank you for everything…and I'm sorry for holding up the last bus at Notre Dame! Thanks to Daniel Novinson for all of his help this season…if that whole public health and service thing doesn't get in the way, you've got a great future in the journalism business! Thank you as well to Carridine and Mike Eubanks, two of the most awesome people I know.
A huge thanks to the players and coaches, some of whom I've come in contact with outside the playing field and locker room. These guys bleed, sweat, cry, and puke…all so we can have something to do for three hours on Saturdays and talk about for the rest of the week.
As always, the biggest thanks goes out to you for supporting these Corners, whether to drop an e-mail to the Inbox, to call me out on the message boards, or just to simply read which random thoughts went into the grab bag that week. Hopefully these Corners make you think a little bit about something you hadn't considered before. Hopefully they make you laugh a little bit. Above all, hopefully they give you reasons to keep being a Cardinalmaniac.
101 Corners are now in the book. How many more? Who knows? But I do know this…if you're a Cardinalmaniac, you should feel proud to be a part of the greatest University on the planet.
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Have you ever wondered what my favorite Corners have been over the years? Wonder no more. Here are my favorite five. Okay, six…
#23 (November 5, 2003) When he posted it, Mike
Eubanks called it the funniest Clardy's Corner yet. That might still be true
five years later!
5. Corner #46 (September 21, 2005) Sorting through the aftermath of the loss to UC Davis. I still have problems comprehending what happened that night…
4. Corner #35 (October 13, 2004) I just liked how this one read. A little game analysis, a little opinion, and a simple theme to wrap it all together.
3. Corner #43 (January 7, 2005) From a pure commentary standpoint, this might actually be the best Corner. And, sadly, much of it still applies almost four years later.
2. Corner #18 (October 1, 2003) The trick every columnist faces is to find unique, different ways to frame their opinions and perspectives. I think this was the first Corner to truly achieve that.
1. Corner #67 (November 8, 2006) Simply put, I wish all of my Corners turned out like this one.
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RANDOM PAC-10 THOUGHTS
Something tells me BeaverFan saw his whole season flash before his face when he saw Jacquizz Rodgers heading to the locker room early in that Arizona game. Big gut-check win for those guys on the road, and without their most important player…
Since they've beaten an FBS opponent, I can talk about the Washington State Cougars now. What a win for those guys. By all accounts, Paul Wulff is a good coach and a good man who walked into a bad situation that got worse by the day. Here's hoping for better days for Wulff and that program soon. Just not at Stanford's expense…
Oh by the way, the Stanford Daily Updates (which of course you can hear weekdays at 7:30p on KTRB AM 860) are now available on iTunes! No Updates until Monday, so we'll see you then…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but…I couldn't figure out where all the stuff about Charlie Weis being on the hot seat was coming from earlier this month. Now, if you're going to put him on the hot seat (which I still think is foolish), this is the week to do it. Syracuse? Come on. That's shameful. However, it's nowhere near as shameful as the Irish fans who threw snowballs at their own players after the game. Actually, that's not shameful. That's flat-out disgraceful…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but… when I saw the injured Dolphin player down on the turf and obscured by trainers during the New England-Miami game on Sunday, I said to myself, "please don't let it be Greg Camarillo." It was. Knee injury. Done for the season…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but… have a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend! And again, don't drink and drive. If you do, you're stupid. That's all I can say…
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UCLA @ Arizona State. Seriously? One of these teams can still go to a bowl? And Stanford can't? Ugh. I like Arizona State by 12.
And since we also have some games on December 6, I'll pick cal to beat and cover against Washington, U$C to beat and cover against UCLA, and Arizona to beat but not cover against Arizona State.
Last week: 1-1 (straight-up), 2-0
This year: 26-5 (straight-up), 20-11 (ATS).
Last year: 26-10 (straight-up), 20-15-1 (ATS).
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Troy Clardy hosts the Stanford Daily Update, airing every weekday at 7:30p on Cardinal Sports Network flagship radio station KTRB (860 AM) in San Francisco, and available in podcast form at gostanford.com.
Clardy's Corner appears Wednesdays on TheBootleg.com. You can also check him out online at TroyClardy.com.
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