Clardy's Corner: My kingdom for a billboard

As a Stanford Football fan and a Denver Bronco fan, my football teams of choice are a combined 8-1. Life is pretty good right now, and I'm pleased with how things have turned out so far. Despite the good starts for those teams, it's obviously not wise to start planning the parades down Palm Drive on The Farm and 17th Street in downtown Denver.

The Broncos have New England, San Diego, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh all coming up as their next four opponents. 4-0 can become 4-4 very quickly and very easily. Meanwhile, the Cardinal have two critical road games coming up, and they have yet to do the Oregon-U$C two-step that has already shattered cal's season.

So no, I'm not on board with a parade for Stanford at this point. A billboard? I could go for that.

It seems that some Stanford donors are willing to put up a Toby Gerhart-for-Heisman billboard in New York City, taking a page out of the Oregon Duck Football Marketing playbook. Hopefully they ignore the section of that playbook marked "The World's Most Garish Uniforms."

A billboard for Toby? In Manhattan? I'm in. I'll even kick in the $18 I've got in my pocket right now to help the cause.

Granted, I'd rather see Stanford have a little more football cachet built up before thinking big like this. The Stanford Football brand may be gaining street credibility inside the hallways here in Bristol, but many folks nationwide would seriously doubt that Stanford Football has done enough to "earn" a billboard in Manhattan. After all, at least Oregon had been to four straight bowl games and a relatively recent Rose Bowl when Joey Harrington took Manhattan in 2001.

But I'll also admit that I feel the same way about Toby's potential billboard as I did about Oregon's big marketing push earlier this decade. I will never fault an athletic program for aggressively (and legally) finding creative ways to get their brand and their message out to new audiences. If that means a giant billboard of Toby Gerhart greets New Yorkers on their way out of the Times Square-42nd Street station, well, I'm fine with that.

But why stop there? And why not think even bigger than just one billboard in Manhattan? Toby is the individual star of this team and has unquestionably earned the lion's share of attention, but there are other ways to recognize the other players who have also played big roles in the Cardinal's success so far.

Toby wouldn't be Toby without his offensive line and Owen Marecic. Or, as those guys like to call themselves, the Tunnel Workers Union. What's the best way to advertise that outstanding crew? Easy. Honorarily rename the Caldecott Tunnel as The Marinelli, Smith, Phillips, Beeler, DeCastro, Martin, and Marecic Tunnel. And do it for Big Game week, when the Weenies are most likely to drive through it.

By the way, not sure if you were aware, the Card actually have another player in the running for a national award. DE Thomas Keiser is already on the watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the country's best defensive end. He turned in another great performance against UCLA, with three tackles and a half-sack (actually, he should have received credit for another full sack on a play that was incorrectly ruled as an incomplete pass).

Sounds like a marketing campaign is in order for Keiser as well. Hmmmm. I'm seeing a partnership with a sandwich chain. And I'm seeing a deal that gives you 94¢ off any sandwich if you mention "Keiser for the Hendricks." And naturally, that sandwich would come on a Kaiser—errr, Keiser roll.

How about Chris Owusu? His speedy returns have certainly helped put Stanford on the map. Speedy returns. Speedy returns…I got it. Put roadside signs of Owusu up at every border crossing leaving the state, and with each sign saying: "Chris Owusu wishes you many speedy returns to California!" (sure, that's a pretty cheesy one…but if you've got better, I'm all ears!)

Am I living in a dream world? Well, when it comes this, yes. Traffic reporters would choke at the tunnel suggestion, and the NCAA might frown on my marketing suggestions for Keiser and Owusu. But they would still be pretty cool to see.

Obviously the biggest campaigning that can be done for Toby Gerhart to win the Heisman will have to be done on the field. It doesn't take long for a player to quickly fall out of the national college football fan's consciousness. Ask Jahvid Best for his thoughts on this.

But I have no problem with the rest of us picking up the slack as well and doing what we legally can to make sure he's in that room in December. Besides, this might be good practice for when we hopefully have to do this again for Andrew Luck in 2011.

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

RANDOM PAC-10 THOUGHTS

Radio programming reminder: now that the final kill shot has mercifully been applied to the A's season, all Stanford football games from here out will be heard on XTRA Sports 860…

Stanford has trailed only twice this season: the first quarter last week, and the final two seconds against Wake Forest. This means we have yet to see how Andrew Luck responds when the game is truly on his shoulders. I'm actually looking forward to seeing what happens when the Cardinal find themselves in that situation…

After losing to Arizona at home, and then winning in Tempe for the first time since 1969, it's official: I have no idea what to think about the Oregon State Beavers…

It took two minutes and 44 seconds for U$C to decide that game. Once Taylor Mays picked off Kevin Riley in the end zone, you knew it was over…

ESPN's Shelley Smith reported that Jeff Tedford explained a bizarre playcalling sequence right before halftime by saying to her, "I was afraid to put us in a hole." That sentence—and those first three words—tells you how far cal has fallen, and how much less Tedford seems to trust his team in just two weeks…

I'm not going to lie to you…I've gotten a real kick out of watching the internet Weenies melt down this week. Which brings me to my Quote of the Week, from a cal fan on their message board: "Tell me…what you don't like about Harbaugh and the way he has Stanford playing? They play with heart. They play smash mouth. They will kick our @ss dude if we play tomorrow. They are that much better than we are."

In the final 20 minutes of their game against Notre Dame, Washington had ten goal-to-go-snaps. And they came away with three points. Goal-to-go must result in six points. Especially on the road. Especially against that team…

Two questions for Husky defensive coordinator Nick Holt: you knew Jimmy Clausen had a bum toe, so why didn't you blitz him? And if you weren't going to blitz him, why didn't you at least double up on Golden Tate?

After being penalized ten times, including two roughing-the-passer penalties, ASU head coach Dennis Erickson called his team "undisciplined." Really? Undisciplined? An Erickson-coached team? Shocking, I know…

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… to me, Miami football is synonymous with the old Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes playing at the Stadium Formerly Named For Joe Robbie just doesn't look right…

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… I actually enjoyed watching Wisconsin-Minnesota last week. I've already raved about Minnesota WR Eric Decker, but Wisconsin TE Garrett Graham is also fun to watch…

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… next time you get a chance, watch Alabama's defense. They didn't play their best game against Kentucky last week, but they're still worse for your health than discount sushi…

Not a Pac-10 thought, but… I'm glad the SEC admitted how heinous that excessive celebration penalty was against Georgia's A.J. Green. That was an unnecessary flag that, in all likelihood, changed the outcome of that game. And that's not all. I saw several instances in other games on Saturday where a player would score a touchdown, and before he could even really do anything, an official would run up to him and get in his way to prevent him from doing any celebrating at all. Officials need to show better judgment on this. We all know excessive celebration when we see it. Until you actually see it, keep the flag in your pocket…

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

CLARDY'S CORNER INBOX

George in Villa Park, California noted a trend in last week's Corner:

"Based on the two coaches you got for the Tirico show a week ago (Tedford and Bowden), you seem to have a one-week Sports Illustrated Cover type jinx going. Please, please, don't put Harbaugh on at all. How about Mike Riley for next week?"

Yeah, that occurred to me after those respective games were over. Not going after Mike Riley, although that might explain why Jim Tressel hasn't returned my e-mails yet this week! I'm just glad TCU's Gary Patterson broke that trend by hammering SMU last week.

Agree with this Corner? Disagree? Got something else on your mind? Drop me a line at my Scout.com inbox (username: troyc) or e-mail me at troyc@thebootleg.com. The best e-mails will be answered in next week's Clardy's Corner Inbox!

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

PAC-10 PICKS

This could potentially be a strange, strange weekend in the Pac-10, folks…

Oregon @ UCLA. They're finally leaving Autzen Stadium for the first time in a month. They're starting to lose a lot of key personnel to injuries. And they have to face Brian Price, the kind of player who can short-circuit their style of offense. The Ducks have the deck stacked against them here, which is why I like UCLA by 8.

Arizona State @ Washington State. Why do I have a really funny feeling about this one? I may regret this, but I like Arizona State by 18.

Arizona @ Washington.The Wildcats have already played at Iowa and at Oregon State, so going on the road shouldn't faze them at this point. But the Huskies have a slight air of desperation around them this week. A little desperation can go a long way, especially when you're at home. I like Washington by 9.

Last week: 2-1 (straight-up), 1-2 (ATS).
This year: 3-4 (straight-up), 3-4 (ATS).
Last year: 30-6 (straight-up), 24-12 (ATS).

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

Troy Clardy hosts the Stanford Daily Update, airing every weekday at 7:30 p.m. on Cardinal Sports Network flagship radio station XTRA Sports 860 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.


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