NCAA

BCS title game for Stanford?

555212.jpg

BCS title game for Stanford?

The biggest development of the weekend may not have been Stanford still being No. 4 in the BCS. It may have been Arizona State losing to UCLA. You would think Stanford will jump No. 3 Alabama and has a good chance of jumping No. 2 Oklahoma State this week with a win over No. 7 Oregon.

But then what? Stanford would only have either a weakened in the rankings (if ranked at all) ASU squad, or an 8-4 UCLA team waiting for them in the Pac-12 Championship game. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State still has Oklahoma on the schedule and a win over them would certainly catapult them past Stanford. It may have been that way even if ASU had won out, but now there can be no doubt.

So Stanford is left rooting for Texas Tech, Iowa State or Oklahoma to upend the Cowboys, and that Alabama wont jump back over them. Not sure anyone is worried about Boise State at this point

All I could think about watching the Alabama-LSU game was how great it would be to see Andrew Luck take on that LSU-SEC defense and prove his critics wrong. Lets hope Stanford keeps winning and we get a chance to see that.

Heres whats left for the top four teams...

No. 1 LSU (2 ranked teams left)

1112 Western Kentucky
1119 @ Ole Miss
1125 No. 8 Arkansas
SEC Title game vs. either No. 15 Georgia, or No. 13 South Carolina

No. 2 Oklahoma State: (1 ranked team left)

1112 @ Texas Tech
1128 @ Iowa State
123 No. 6 Oklahoma
No Big 12 Championship Game anymore

No. 3 Alabama (1 ranked team left)

1112-@Mississippi State
1119 Georgia Southern
1126 @ No. 20 Auburn
No SEC Title Game because LSU will win the SEC West

No. 4 Stanford (1 ranked team left)

1112 No. 7 Oregon
1119 Cal
1126 Notre Dame
Pac-12 title game

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

bob-muphy-stanforddotcom.jpg
STANFORD.COM

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

Bob Murphy, who was the voice of Stanford athletics when such titles truly mattered in the Bay Area, died Tuesday after a long fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 86.

Murphy was viscerally connected to the university in ways that were once in vogue across the nation but are now reserved only to the Midwest and Southeast. He was a walking ambassador for the school’s athletic history, a familiar face to the army of alums who linked to his voice and presence early and ultimately grew old with him, even when coaches and players and athletic directors came and went with unsettling frequency.

And while his time as the alternate face to Hoover Tower eventually faded, he was still Murph – to be honored and respected by all generations, even the ones who never heard him or saw him. If anyone below the age of 25 asked about him, he was spoken of with the reverence reserved for architectural structures or hundred-year-old trees. He belonged to the place, and the place belonged to him.

He mattered at Stanford, because Stanford is an insular community, watching the world outside with a palpable sense of “Thank God we’re safe in here.” He attended the school, he worked as its sports information director, and he was the radio voice who fought for Stanford when only a few people were listening. He had proven his devotion decades ago, until his devotion became part of the background noise and scenery.

And he didn’t even leave after he became ill, and then absent. Only the most successful coaches and athletes get to attain that omnipresent aura in college athletics, and in truth, Murphy reached more people in the community than any coach or player the school has ever had, simply by being at the place, and of the place, longer and more happily than anyone.

Sometime soon, we suspect, he will be remembered with a statue, either near the football stadium or near Maples Pavilion. He will be bronzed, wearing a polo shirt with the S-with-the-interlocking-tree and glasses wedged against the bridge of his nose. He will be seated, with a desk before him and microphone perched atop it, and there will be a plaque with a Wikipedia-ized list of his contributions.

But without the voice, it will be incomplete. That will have to be recreated inside the heads of those who heard it most often, and cared most what words it carried. It is there where Bob Murphy’s memory will thrive – as someone who defined Stanford in ways that no marketing campaign ever could.

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

shaw-david-podium-face.jpg
USATI

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

Steve Kerr has been the standard by which all other coaches have been measured in these parts since he arrived in Oakland – rescued as it was from the nine hells of the New York Knickerbockers. He is indeed so good that he is still getting credit for the 50 wins he actually didn’t fully merit – the 39 that belong to Luke Walton and the 11 that are Mike Brown’s.

But this is not to slag Kerr’s record – which even if you eliminate the 55 games he hasn’t coached in his three years because of his back issue is still the best in NBA history – but to remind you that David Shaw still exists, he still is supervising the golden age of Stanford football, and he is just as unavailable to pro teams as he ever was.

Shaw, whose team opens its season on Saturday night in Australia against Rice, has been beneath the radar since the day he arrived, for no better reasons than (a) the Bay Area doesn’t hold much stock in college football and (b) he likes it that way. His excellence is indisputable, but he is also in the perfect place to do his job without any of the irritants that surround most college coaches – media, embittered alumni, NCAA investigators, the late night call from the cops about your outside linebacker overturning a minivan, that kind of thing.

He has worn down all attempts to question him on his next job because, while he could get one at the snap of a finger, he was not infected with the standard coach’s ambition to see and be seen. He has seen the sport’s many excesses and has decided to ward off the ones that directly touch him.

He still believes in the game’s virtues, and can probably be considered a fairly doctrinaire figure on most issues confronting the sport and its practitioners, but does not have to pretend that he is too focused on the job to be interested in mundane things like eclipses, political turmoil, social justice and all the other noxious things that happen outside the cocoon.

But be not fooled. He likes the cocoon that is Stanford, and he has the sense to understand that the chance of a better job existing is almost infinitesimal. He may someday want something more public and lucrative, but until money and fame get a long winning streak going at his house, he’ll sit quietly, the second-best coach in the Bay Area and the first-best at making you not remember that he is just that.