Arrogant Game Recap: Stanford Cardinal

It was an arrogant day and night.  All around.  I had bought a bottle of champagne before noon, hung out poolside at the Four Seasons, got a little eucalyptus steam room action in, drank the champagne all before the game kicked off.  Like last year with the Oregon game when I got married, I was celebrating my anniversary this weekend.  Even my wife, who did not go to a football school (although she got to see a Harbaugh National Title at USD) loved this game, even if the outcome wasn’t perfect.

Let’s rewind.

Immediately upon waking up, I knew we were back.  Not “back” like the Pete days, but rather we were going to see what Kiffin’s Trojans looked like on the ascent.  I was getting widespread reports of ESPN getting rid of signs mentioning “Arrogant Nation”.  If anyone has any insight into what that is, I’d love to kn0w.  I have friends that work there, people who write there I am friendly with, but yes, I talk a lot of shit about the four-letter network.  I know they are aware of the blog, I am just curious how Arrogant Nation was somehow more offensive than the sanctions posters that made it through and not one, BUT TWO, hilarious “penis” posters.  My favorite?


I mean, I didn’t think a penis-joke related sign could be so damn clever, but somehow this managed to ascend to a commentary on the average fan shamelessly using ESPN’s name in a sign to get on television even if it means using awful English and selling your soul.  This sign was so deep it needed a lifeguard watching it.

The entire day was Andrew Luck praising, right from the moment I woke up.  I literally thought when he threw a pick-six, they were going to compliment him for hitting our defender right in the numbers.

The truth about this game was that we won the arrogant victory by a landslide and lost the game on the field by a hair.  Let’s start with the arrogant victory.

10 points in the first half.  ESPN was terrified of what this meant.  They have been conflicted all week between us being a broken, unranked team and being a huge feather in Luck’s Heisman fedora.  Of course, we don’t demand them to make any sense (or for Merrill Hodge to wear a reasonable tie), so we have to listen to the paradox of USC being way outgunned and lucky to compete but at the same time this being an amazing test for the freakiest looking QB in history.

That said, a sanctioned team dropped ONE slot in the AP after losing a home game.  That is arrogant.  Stanford vaulted into the National Title discussion thanks to us.  The fact is, Stanford isn’t winning the “title” this year.  They may not make the Rose Bowl.  USC however, creeped up on the universe again.  That was a sold-out Coliseum and that was a lot of arrogance.

Andrew Luck wore his helmet in that tight way that scrunches his face together which wasn’t helping at all.  Neither was him doing that laugh every time he felt Stanford got a bad call (which we’ll get to later).

There was one thing we didn’t do that would have probably won the game and arrogant battle at the same time.  It was go for two in the first overtime.  We can’t go to a bowl.  Stanford all day was on their heels and the world knew it.  Yes, yes they came back, Andrew Luck, my hero.  That said, they were losing more than they were winning.  They were mortal all afternoon and night and everyone saw it.

When you get to overtime with nothing to lose against a team that deep down knows this is their last chance at a big bowl season for years (sorry guys, in case you were still curious, Shaw ain’t no Harbaugh and well, you are Stanford), you just go for it and end it.  Kiff, I love you man.  That said, you are the master of going for two.  You should have Coach Taylor’d that shit.  Clear eyes, full hearts… Go for two.

Now, onto the game.  This was a great game.  Stanford played resilient football post Harbaugh, like those still moving octopi Bourdain eats when he goes to markets in Asia.  I don’t know if I have enjoyed a USC game that much in a while and I enjoy all of them.

The thing is, we got pretty jobbed.  I don’t usually say this kind of thing.  I usually just say what happens happens.  But it is hard to ignore the calls in this game and for the first time, I have to side with Kiffin about putting in a complaint.

Here’s the thing.  When the whole world needs Stanford to win, when the NCAA wants to prove sanctions actually hurt teams and when ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft is largely based on public interest of a man so hideous his completion percentage is largely based on the fact most cornerbacks don’t want to look at him a la Medusa, you have to watch the calls.

This is a billion dollar industry and there isn’t a sport around that hasn’t dealt with corruption.  Think about human nature.  A game like this needs to be called EXTRA fair.  Four calls stand out in a big time way.  For the Stanford people reading this, try and be objective for a moment.  I know it is hard because you know you won’t be this good forever and part of you knows a loss to Oregon might mean you are in the Holiday Bowl, which being that I don’t believe in anything but the Rose Bowl, is the same thing as being sanctioned.  That said, just try.

Full disclosure, Farm people.  I am not sour grapes.  That was a hell of a football game.  It ranks in my top four most exciting USC games since I was enrolled.  We lost THREE of the FOUR games I am speaking of.  Cal in 03, Notre Dame and Texas in 05 and now this.  When you know your team will win again in your lifetime, and probably often and you combine it with the fact that over the last decade you’ve blown out more teams than have competed with you, you gain that perspective.

This was an instant classic and cheers to you on your victory.  We’ll have plenty more and frankly, if this game didn’t make my ultimate homeboy Matt Barkley want a senior year, nothing will.  All in all, a good day for Trojan football as much as we’d like a win.

That said, let’s start with the no-call pass interference on Robert Woods in the endzone in the first quarter.  In a game that went to 3OT, it matters.  I have never seen a worse no-call in my life (I’ve seen plenty of equally bad no-calls, but none worse).  Face guarding, contact, in the endzone on a marquee player.  Had that been an isolated incident of inexplicable calls, I’d have let it go.

T.J.’s hit coming over the middle for unnecessary roughness.  All week you hear Stanford kills teams with their quarterback who is unstoppable and their middle of the field passing attack.  They have been passing on you there all day.  A receiver is bobbling the ball and then gets laid out with a big SHOULDER FIRST hit and gets called hard.  Are we supposed to teach our DB’s to let the receiver bobble it and try to catch it?  I’d get it if it was a clear helmet to chest tackle or something malicious, but that was just a hard-nose hit to prevent a bobbled-catch.  Maybe the ball was getting away, but it was tipped, leave no doubt.  It’s football.  That was awful.

Next, the Stanford holding penalty.  Can anyone explain the spot of that foul?  Can anyone explain how it became 2 and 7 and not 2 and 15?  No, they can’t.  Can’t wait to hear Larry Scott’s version.

But then, the worst one I can think of.  The lack of giving USC a time-out at the end of the game.  You can see it on the game tape, Kiffin getting assurance that he’d get a time-out if the ruling showed Woods was down with 1 second left.  It was totally bogus.  There is no way that happens to Stanford the other way around.

So, we’ll hear what the Pac says about it, my guess is it sounds a lot like everything else we hear from them or the NCAA.  Cam Newton?  Innocent.  Ohio State?  Wrist slap.  Miami?  Pass the cocaine.  More rough reffing against USC?  Reggie Bush took money from a guy not related to the school.

I am proud of USC.  Hell, I was proud of Stanford.  That looked like their first test.  What I know is that we’re going a great direction.  I was so stoked after the game because part of me knew that if Matt comes back, we may get another Rose Bowl and SOON.  Our team grew up.  This reminded me most of that 03 Cal lost after which we didn’t lose for years.  Who knows how this season ends, but if Matty stays, I know how next season starts.

It was a blast (and so was the hotel driving us to dinner which I postponed twice in a Rolls Royce Ghost) and that game did our school proud.  Good LUCK (womp womp) to the Cardinal the rest of the way out, we played so well we put them in the picture for a National Title, and in that, our arrogance is cemented.  And…  If they choke, that will be funny too.

For us, it proves again the road to anything good in the Pac-12 leads through Troy.  For all the hell I give Andrew Luck, he was terrific.  Let’s move on and up.

See you for the AGP on Thursday.  FTFO.

Oh yeah, thanks for this Deadspin!  So Shrektastic.  Click this picture to be grossed out.





Filed under Rants and Musings

43 responses to “Arrogant Game Recap: Stanford Cardinal

  1. Gabe

    There are great. Audience would be a great deal larger without all the profanity and such. A lot of people I would love the share them with and can’t.

  2. KingCambie

    This is the best Stanford is EVER going to get, and SC hung with them, even with the sanctions, the refs, the hatin’ media. Agree with the Bearfighter: goin’ for two after first OT is the ultimate arrogant move; if its no good we lose with arrogance, if we make it, a whole country (a whole frickin’ country) gulps and says, “SC is back”.

  3. Josh M

    Best post of the year by far. We are back.

  4. Eric J

    Even the ESPN talking heads on PTI say USC was hosed.

    That said, the game totally felt like Cal in ’03. It’s a young team on the ascendancy and, if Barkley comes back, will be very very good next year.

  5. I totally agree with you on the 2-point conversion in the first overtime! I said the same thing to everyone around me in section 12 rows 79-81! They all thought I was full of shit, but seriously, what did we have to lose? I would have rather gone out with “Big Balls Lane” going for two and losing by 1 than that fumble… but nothing we can do about it now. We need to make sure that Curtis McNeal knows what a freaking stud he was during that game….I hope he wasn’t too broken up about losing that ball, he kept us in that game! Also, big props to the “fair weathers” for staying around for the entire game and being reasonably noisy (not Autzen noisy, but great for LA)! This is the only game I could make it to this year (because of the new rugrat, 2032 Heisman Trophy Winner, Davin PierceBell) and it was well worth the horrible traffic I had to endure getting home! Fight On Arrogant Nation & Fight On Trojans! Beat the Buffaloes!

  6. MaxW

    Hell yea we’re back. “Big Dick Kiff” should have gone for two, that’s what I told my friends but shit happens. McNeal knows he’s a beast, talked to him in class today, he’s fine. We’re gonna kick some ass next year but word on the street is Kalil is gone, with or without Matt.

    Oh and about Gameday. My friends and I tried to wait for Gameday at 12:30 am. The guards kicked us out so we waited right outside exposition park till they let us back in. They did not let Arrogant signs in. Not all outright promoted the blog but if someone let slip the visor sign, for example, was a reference to the bearfighter’s blog then it was removed. Yet we still got in signs that say Luck sucks dick and that he’s a cave troll. Arrogance

  7. I had my sign that said “The Bearfighter says: You Can’t Sanction the Endzone” and they had no problem with it, even got on TV … so unlike ESPN to be inconsistent with enforcement of their arbitrary rules

  8. Randy

    The call on TJ was the right call, he hit the receiver high it doesn’t matter if he catches it, drops it, or bobbles it thats the new defenseless receiver rule. As for Kiffin’s timeout that happens so often where a receiver goes down with 1 second and they don’t give the timeout because the clock expires first. Kiffin should’ve called a better play than another one of his brilliant bubble screen’s for the last play. Also you forgot to mention the fact Kiffin didn’t use his timeout after the first play on the final drive when he had 3 remaining and wasted an extra 6-8 seconds trying to call a hurry up play when there was no need. Also the crowd did not help out one bit even Brent and Kirk when announcing the game said the crowd was out of it by the 4th quarter.

    • Zack Jerome

      hey, enjoy your last few games of Luck, Stanford fan. the crowd was out of it when there was a pick 6 with under 8 min to go? please. i thought you guys were smart up there.

      • Andrew Leonard '05

        I was at the game. In the 4th quarter, with a couple minutes to go, the PA announcer asked fans not to rush the field at the end of the game. That’s not something you hear when the crowd is “out of it.”

      • That was one of the worst calls i’ve seen in a while. If you think that’s unnecessary roughness you haven’t seen very many football games.

    • I think that you need to attend the game to credibly say that the crowd was “out of it.” I was there, and if Brent and Kirk really said that; it’s definitely more evidence for my “TV announcers don’t know shit” file.

      Zach – I also think we should have gone for two. Why the “big balls” play to get a little closer with 9 seconds left, then just kick a field goal to tie at the end of 1 OT? Our offense was having it’s way with their defense – going for two is the right call.

  9. Guest

    Zack you missed my classic ‘Luck my Balls’ sign, but other than that minor slip, great write up.

    The ‘4 penis’ sign was probably the greatest sign ever seen at a college gameday. The entire crowd gasped when it went up and security went ballistic. Convention is go for two on the road in OT and go for one at home. So Kiff played it cautious for the first time since the Big Bang.

    On to the Buffs and FTFO.

  10. I agree with most of what you said, even going for two in the first overtime, which when I first read it on a friend’s Facebook page, I thought was ludicrous. But you convinced.

    However, I have to disagree with blaming the refs for anything. First off, I remember years ago friends who complained when were great that the refs were out to get us (which never made any sense). And now they’re doing the opposite and complaining that the refs are for the team that’s heavily favored and winning. I’m not accusing you of doing this, but it annoys me to see my friends that do.

    As far as the game itself, I think you have to start with the fact that Stanford was called for 11 penalties for 91 yards to USC’s 3 penalties for 35 yards. That’s almost four times as many penalties for almost three times as much yardage. Already the facts are against a claim that the refs were favoring Stanford.

    I agree 100% that the no-call on Robert Woods ties with some of the worst no-calls I’ve ever seen. And yes, it obviously turned out to be huge. But, as you said, you can’t base things on that call alone because, at the time, it wasn’t a pivotal moment. And not too much later they gave us a “make up call” when there didn’t seem to be any real PI on Woods. Granted it was no as pivotal a moment, but still.

    The call against TJ was because he hit the receiver directly in the head (and nowhere else). Clearly, he wasn’t aiming for the head. He didn’t know the receiver was going to fall to his knees and lean back to try to catch the ball after he leapt at him. But the way the rule is written, it doesn’t allow for intent. I dislike that about the rule, but the way it’s written, they have to call it.

    I’d have to rewatch it to be sure, but I thought the hold against Stanford happened past the first down marker, thus when they marked off 10 yards it was 2nd and 5? But I’m not as certain on this one.

    As far as the non-timeout goes, we’ll have to see what the PAC-12 officials wind up saying about it. I think there was a lot of confusion there at the end, and honestly I can’t be that angry at the refs about it when it wouldn’t have been an issue if Robert Woods hadn’t wasted six seconds running around and getting nowhere. He should have fallen down a lot sooner and come up calling timeout.

    In addition to all this, there were a few things I thought the refs did a great job with. They reviewed to see that the Stanford guy’s knee had hit the ground before the first down marker late in the game. They didn’t call a penalty on us when our player who was out of bounds pulled Luck out as he ran along the sideline and then ran into him. (I don’t think it should have been called, but it’s the type of thing I’ve seen called a “late hit out of bounds” before.)

    Ultimately we had our chances to win the game (an overthrow to Lee in the endzone; a drop by Woods that might have been a TD if he’d caught it in stride) but came up short.

    That’s just my two cents. I’m happy to discuss it further or just leave it at this if you want, but I felt the need to share. Great post as always.

  11. Luckamaniac

    Pretty funny how your readers seem to have a fixation on Kiffin’s alleged manhood considering that he’s never accomplished a thing on his own, as evidenced by his “coaching” in the final minutes of the last couple of SC-Stanford games. The guy doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing, and his rush to blame the refs only calls more attention to this fact. He should find a job he is qualified for, like president of NAMBLA.

  12. Ricky

    I loved it when Stanford had a couple of delay of game penalties and they blamed it on the Coliseum’s play clocks being hard to see. Obviously Luck couldn’t make a mistake. Right? but he’s the number one pick he only threw that interception to show that he had poise.

  13. MANapoli

    Just read an article saying that Larry Scott has suspended TJ for the first half of the next game for the hit. What a load of crap. I am so sick and tired of the bullshit that comes out of this guy’s mouth. Does Mr. Scott not realize that his job means nothing without USC? I love the Pac 10…err 12, but let’s face it, without USC the conference would mean about as much as the Mountain West. So by continually piling on USC and making up crap just to keep us down, he makes himself less relevant. But hey, I guess we established a long time ago this guy is a moron so I guess he just fails to realize this fact.

  14. Fail1234

    Great game, not sore about the loss but damn, I thought Herbstreit said something like I want to have Lucks baby. Herbtreit was all over Lucks jock during the game, he reminded me of Jack Blacks character in Tropic Thunder with Andrew Luck being his drug of choice. Get that gravy Herby you pathetic Choad.

  15. JP

    Defining Trojan moment: The crowd staying and giving both teams a standing ovation when the game ended. Arrogance with class, how we roll.

    Suck this ESPN, here’s a pic of The Herd sitting 3 rows below us. He threw on an SC sweatshirt later in the game:

  16. Juan Samartin

    Another excellent article that precisely hits the mark. I’m convinced of several things. One, the PAC-12 is doing whatever they can to justify some of the poorest officiating in the country. I recall them sending out a press release shortly before the season began mentioning that 75% of the bad refs had been eliminated. Not sure what that meant, but the remaining 25% is stinking up the joint. Second, not sure what that was coming out of Luck’s nostrils, but I’m going to call the Coliseum office and see if they can redo the turf in that section of sideline. That snot worm could cause damage to the irrigation/drainage system, it’s sad that taxpayer dollars have to be spent on fixing what simple Kleenex could have prevented.

  17. Zack,

    I helped work Gameday as a student ambassador, and let me tell you: I haven’t seen arrogance like that in years. Someone was drinking King Cobra at 5:30 am. If that isn’t arrogant, I don’t know what is

  18. All I know is that after a performance like that:
    Luck doesn’t deserve a Heisman

    • Are you kidding me? He had maybe four bad passes. The pick-six was a huge mistake, but he bounced right back from it.

      • You’re kidding yourself. He was mediocre at best. It’s ok, He’s all you got. I completely understand the teen wolf mantra.

      • He’s not “all I’ve got” because I’m a USC fan. But I can recognize that Luck had a great game. His touchdown pass in the 2nd OT was placed perfectly. It was by no means up there with some of the best quarterback performances that I’ve seen over the years, but he certainly didn’t do anything to hurt his Heisman chances.

  19. RIP

    Delusional SC fans as usual. You guys have a short memory. Remember ’09. Stanford was at its best then too, right, right? You guys will be in the dumps forever and i will be there to enjoy it. Fight on! Against the NCAA that is.

    • Zack Jerome

      stanford fan claiming USC in dumps forever when ranked top 20 in a sanctions year and you are hurt because puddles dumped on your face. delusional.

    • Amazing, Stanford crumbles under pressure and you guys still find ways to talk shit. So humble. I love it.

    • Fail1234

      Only 2 losses this year. How does that equate to being in the dumps? I use to think folks like you went to Stanford to get educated because we all know you don’t go to Stanford to play football and win Rose Bowls and Heismans (as Luck is learning right now). You go to USC for that stuff. USC is loaded with young talent this year and each week the team is getting better. Next year USC will run the table and you Stanford fans and Paul Dee (aka douche lord) can watch as a Rose Bowl is won and a Heisman is earned all while being in the “dumps” and under sanctions. Run along and give Luck a hug because he needs it after failing on Saturday. By the way be sure and tune in on Saturday night to watch USC do what Stanford couldn’t.

  20. Stanford fans re-visiting old victories to talk trash after that ass-kicking Oregon laid on them. Classy.

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