Does anyone else think it's funny that Bruins Nation is brought to you today by Old Spice Swagger?
Maybe if we sprayed it all of the team right before they take the field in Palo Alto tomorrow, they'll at least smell like Swagger, since they don't play with any.
Last season, I killed the Pregame Guesses column going into the Stanford game. I wrote the post -- then read it -- and it read more like a suicide note than a fun little game to pass the time the evening before kickoff. Then we went out and lost 35-0 at home. This year, I'm not even despondent. I'm not even worrying about the game tomorrow. This feels more like a bye week than a match-up with a Top 5 team. When I read that Sheldon Price might not play against the Cardinal, I didn't even blink. My first thought wasn't "Oh man, that's too bad. We're really going to need Sheldon against Andrew Luck." No, my first thought was "If Sheldon was going to miss a game, it might as well be Stanford, because it isn't going to make much difference one way or the other."
The reality is, we're three touchdown dogs against Stanford. I saw a funny post on Tracy Pierson's BRO message board the other day that said something like "Hey, I just dropped in from the 80s, does Stanford have any shot against us tomorrow?" That made me chuckle a little (or, as we say in 2011 -- it made me LOL). Because if you had interrupted me while I was mocking Iowa fans as we were walking out of the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1986 I would have assumed you were more wasted than I was. Three score dogs to Stanford? In what century.
Well, this century.
Give Stanford all the credit. They draw worse than we do (though 45,000 fans in their 50,000 seat stadium looks a lot better than 45,000 fans look in the Rose Bowl). They went out and hired the right coach (JIm Harbaugh, now with the San Francisco 49ers) and he changed the whole Cardinal football paradigm. He didn't do it with a tricky, fast break offense (they basically play a pro-set) and he didn't jump start the program with a bunch of JC transfers (Stanford is the one team in the nation we can't accuse of taking the players we can't admit).
No, he did it by instilling an attitude of toughness and determination. He did it by changing the atmosphere and approach of Stanford football.
What Harbaugh did was give the Cardinal some swagger.
(See how I did that?)
Of course, he also did it by recruiting Andrew Luck, the son of an ex-NFL quarterback who loves school so much he passed up a chance to play for the Carolina Panthers to earn his degree in architecture. Having Andrew Luck makes a big difference. But don't forget (if you're even old enough to remember in the first place) when Stanford had John Elway and we had Tom Ramsey, we were the better team. It surely does help to have a great quarterback, but it also takes more than just Luck.
Bruins Nation laid out our expectations for the rest of the season earlier in the week. It was one of the rare times we posted under our collective by-line, which means we all bought in to the articulated criteria. One of the expectations was "At least 1 road victory out of the match-ups v. Stanford, Arizona, and Utah." And while I agree with that criteria, I might have worded it a bit differently. I might have written it as "At least 1 road victory out of the matchups v.
Stanford, Arizona, and Utah," because -- as much as I hate to admit it -- nothing about the 2011 Bruins football team has shown me they're ready to upset a Top Five team on the road.
Here's hoping I'm wrong.
With that, here are your Pregame Guesses for Stanford:
- True or False: Richard Brehaut will attempt more than 11 passes this week against Stanford? (That's really a gimme -- but I forgot to mention the fact that Bre only attempted 11 passes last week against Oregon State. I feel like I'm rooting for Navy, except Navy is fun to watch.)
- Who will lead the Bruins in rushing this week?
- Another True or False: Joseph Fauria will catch three or more passes this week? (I'm glad Fauria is alive on Twitter. Based on the games, I didn't realize he was still on the team).
- Bonus question. I'm setting the line at UCLA +21.5. Will the Bruins cover?