Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stanford vs Colorado

It was an early start to game day as I got up at 6am and took the first flight out of Vegas to SFO. When I arrived at my friend’s place, I was welcomed by the fresh smell of scrambled eggs, bacon and waffles, and the sight of Oklahoma’s 12-0 chances receiving a large boost as they destroyed Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Before we hit campus, it was off to his daughter’s soccer game in Cupertino where she dominated with 2 assists and a plus-minus of 4 as she dug her team out of a 0-1 hole in their 4-1 victory. We may also have gotten on the referee’s and an opposing parent’s nerves after some questionable calls but I’ll call a hand-ball when I see one and you shouldn’t be penalized for shielding the opponent from the ball just because you’re a head taller than them!

It was yet another beautiful day in Palo Alto as we pulled up to the stadium. After parking in Lot 2, we headed over to Chuck Taylor’s Grove for some food and alcohol. For the walk, we rocked our Shayne Skov tribute shirts which have his mohawk and face-painted visage on the front and “11 for 11” on the back - the latter referring to 11 more wins for #11 who was injured during our third game against Arizona. You do the math. The Martins whom I had seen at almost all the games this season stropped by after the walk armed with several copies of the program which had Moose on the cover (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700183580/The-Moose-has-Lucks-back-blindside-at-Stanford.html). They were extremely friendly but understandably coy when the topic of Moose declaring jokingly came up.

After some delicious Indian food and watching ASU take care of business against Utah, I left for Albert’s tailgate where I met up with some other friends. We then entered the stadium which was definitely not sold out no matter what the official numbers may say. I blame Fleet week and guess that a 7:30pm kickoff gets people in their seats since there isn’t too much else to do. Nevertheless, it was nice to see the student section filled to capacity and revved up for the game.

I was somewhat skeptical that we’d be able to cover the 30 point spread but our defense really stepped up despite some missed tackles (and aided by some drops and poor throws) and Luck looked effortless out there as Colorado’s defense really sold out to stop the run early on. Obviously Colorado was missing key contributors and isn’t that good a team even when at full strength, but it was nice to see the offense click and get contributions from multiple players. There was less questionable play calling by my accounts but I would have liked to see us go for it on 4th and 4 instead of attempting a 47 yard field goal, especially with Williamson’s struggles early on.

All in all, I was pleased by the win and even happier that the players weren’t satisfied by it. As I’ve been saying all season, we just need to keep on getting better so that we’ll be ready for the stretch run. While the performance of the other unbeaten teams isn’t something that Stanford can control, I would be lying if I claimed that I wasn’t scoreboard watching. Using projected spreads, I estimate that Stanford has a 15% of going 13-0. Probabilities for the other contenders are Alabama (37%), Oklahoma (33%), Wisconsin (24%), LSU (17%) and Oklahoma State (9%). I think an undefeated Stanford would get the nod ahead of Wisconsin thanks to Andrew Luck and overall strength of schedule, but finish behind an unbeaten SEC team and Big 12 team. The current likelihood of the SEC and Big 12 producing undefeated teams is about 23%. That number is growing by the week and hopefully carnage will happen soon. It will undoubtedly happen for some of the other unbeatens but the SEC and Big 12 are the only that really concern me. But ultimately, all that matters and I all can ask is for Stanford to take care of business as the schedule toughens up starting with Wazzu in Pullman.

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