I hate you, Stanford, but goddammit do I respect you. Yesterday I picked Stanford as my least favorite team in the conference, and today I’m picking them as my favorite*. Basically, I hate Stanford when they’re playing against my favorite team, and I pull for them against everyone else. As I discussed yesterday, the overemphasis on toughness can get annoying, but maybe that’s just because I’m jealous. You can’t help but respect them.
As far as we can tell, Stanford has achieved their recent success the right way. Elite academics. Not much drama and no significant scandals that I can recall. They were led to success on the shoulders of a smart, likable guy who apparently can’t get enough of architecture. They’ve made BCS bowl appearances each of the past three seasons and won two of them. Sure, Harbaugh was/is kind of an asshole, but it was in a goofy, entertaining way (again, unless your favorite team was playing against him). Since Harbaugh has left, David Shaw has become one of the most respectable coaches in the sport, and it looks like the program is here to stay.
Okay, really. The real reason I like Stanford? Clearly, it’s because Stanford spawned Ty Willingham**, my favorite women’s golf coach of all time. Just kidding. The real reason is that Stanford now regularly beats USC, and that’s something we can all rally around.
So today we salute you, Stanford, goofy tree and all.
*Am I covering my bases because the odds are that one day I’ll have a boss who’s a Stanford grad? No way. Okay, maybe.
**A sign of how far Stanford football has to go? Ty Willingham is second in career coaching victories with 55.