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Week 8 Thoughts - Stanford Deserves Better

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 24, 2011


Stanford is playing better than its BCS ranking after blowing away the Huskies.

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Week 8 Thoughts, Oct. 24 

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- Cirminiello: Stanford deserves a better ranking
- Fiutak: Why is Texas Tech ranked behind OU?
- Harrison: Notre Dame still hasn't arrived  
- Johnson: Stanford proved it's a powerhouse
- Zemek: The Big East in the BCS ... UGH

By Richard Cirminiello

To root for a program and to respect a program are two very different things. And as an unbiased observer of college football, I have a redwood-sized amount of respect for what Stanford is doing this year.

The Cardinal quieted a swath of its critics on Saturday night by filleting Washington, 65-21, to extend its school-best winning streak to 15 games, and start 7-0 for the first time since 1951. Beyond the head-turning final score, Stanford always impresses with the way it runs its business, doing those little things that don’t always show up in a box score. It blocks extraordinarily well on offense, and plays with non-stop energy on D.

Quick, name one of those offensive linemen or two of the defenders. Odds are that you can’t, and you’re not alone. LT Jonathan Martin, RG David DeCastro and LB Chase Thomas are sure-fire future NFL Draft picks, but they’re not household names because Cardinal victories are always collaborative efforts.

Andrew Luck, of course, is a household name, but what does it say about the Cardinal that it can score 65 points on a night when its undisputed headline act only needed to attempt 21 passes and complete 16 of them? Head coach David Shaw was quick to point out afterwards that his future No. 1 overall draft pick was most valuable calling plays in the running game. You know, the same ground game that produced a school-record 446 yards. Smart, unselfish and always thinking big picture—that’s the Stanford way.

This program transcends just numbers and rankings. Sans the scholarship restrictions, this is basically an Ivy League school whooping up on Pac-12 teams, most of whom don’t even approach its lofty academic standards. When the television guys cut away to the stands, cameramen picked up on a bunch of students working on their laptops before kickoff. Sure, there was a big game about to start, but mid-terms are coming up, too, aren’t they?

Stanford isn’t a football factory. It’s a tremendous academic institution that just happens to house a pretty darn good football team. There’s a certain undeniable charm to this school, where tight ends and fullbacks are fully employed, and class grades still matter every bit as much as draft grades.

Off-field problems? I’m sure they’ve dealt with them on the Farm, but I’ll be darned if I could remember the last one. What a unique concept, especially during this era of perpetual controversy and suspensions.

Now that Oklahoma has lost for the first time, it has somewhat cleared the path for the likes of Stanford, Oklahoma State and Clemson to finish the 2011 season in the BCS National Championship Game. Yeah, I don’t like to admit this, but the fan in me has begun to express an interest in the eventual matchup in New Orleans on Jan. 9.

He’d like to see Luck and his well-coached, fundamentally-sound teammates go up against the best defense in the country, either the one from Tuscaloosa or the one from Baton Rouge.

- Cirminiello: Stanford deserves a better ranking
- Fiutak: Why is Texas Tech ranked behind OU?
- Harrison: Notre Dame still hasn't arrived  
- Johnson: Stanford proved it's a powerhouse
- Zemek: The Big East in the BCS ... UGH