Posted: December 1st, 2011 | by: Steve In Iowa
Categories: Gameday 40
Sorry for the long stretch with no posts, loyal reader, but it was a loooooong trip back. Fer cryin’ out loud, it’s Thursday and I still feel jet-lagged. We got back just after midnight on Tuesday morning (we had to drive to NE Iowa after landing at KCI at 6:00PM Monday after a fog delay in San Fran). After catching up on work and readjusting to the cold weather, well the Stanford Retrospective has been put on hold. Till now, loyal readers, till now.
10) The first thing you notice about the new Stanford Stadium? Okay, okay, after the beautifully manicured campus, and after taking in the mountain scenery, and noticing the fact that you couldn’t find proper stadium food anywhere (no hot-dogs or Polish sausage, do you think you are in California or something?!?!?)… after ALL OF THAT, the first thing you notice is that Stanford Stadium HAS SEATBACKS!!!
I know that Notre Dame football is meant to be observed standing up, but Steve is starting to age and has kids compounding the age thing. Those seatbacks were a godsend. (And yes we were on our feet most of the time…)
9) The GameDay40 crew tailgated with some wonderful Notre Dame alumni from the Bay Area. Extremely generous and welcoming people that we connected to through a mutual friend who is a Holy Cross priest. At this tailgate I was served the BEST HAMBURGER I HAVE EVER HAD. It was a third pound of perfectly seasoned, juicy goodness. Perfectly sauteed onions, topped off with my very first taste of garlic aioli spread.
This burger was like Christmas in your mouth. I felt like what’s his name on that one show where he’s trying to explain to his kids how he met their mother and he’s looking all over New York city for the best hamburger he’d ever eaten. Well, he was in the wrong city. The best burger EVAH is tailgate burger at Stanford.
8 ) Jumbotrons… yes, again. I for one was completely underwhelmed by the Stanford Jumbotrons. There were two modestly sized screens, one each above the north and south end-zones. Worse than being “smallish” (if you care about your jumbotron size) the actual video replays themselves were TERRIBLE. On each of the questionable calls reviewed the fans inside the Stadium could see NOTHING definitive which made some of those reversals against ND all the tougher to swallow. On the plus side, you also weren’t overwhelmed by in-your-face advertising like I wrote about here. But as those great bards of old, Wham!, once said, “if you’re going to do it, do it right, right?” The replays simply have to be quality or what is the point?
7) Seven Nation Army, whaaaa? Our section was pretty staid. In our defense there was nothing in the first half to get excited about. But Blog Davie rallied the troops getting us all groaning along to the bass-line of the White Stripes anthem, Seven Nation Army. Could any of you readers hear us on TV? If you did that wasn’t Stanford, that was us. Also, after the first TD when Floyd scored our row had Mrs. Steve in Iowa doing push-ups. We were in the upper deck, and someone else was doing it down below, but my count it was just two gals doing push-ups. Good thing that Mrs. Steve is a tiny little thing, my arms and back got a little sore.
6) I don’t know what the field looked like on your television screen in hi-def, but from the upper deck, BEFORE THE GAME we could tell it looked horrible. What the heck, Stanford? I can’t believe that your field made ND look good by comparison.
5) The Andrew Hendrix Experience, Live and in Person! You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Tommy played the worst half of football in his career, but let’s be honest, a big stretch of the season wasn’t too pretty either (Pittsburgh, USC, BC, etc…). Let me refer you all to what I wrote before the game in response to Keith’s questions for the Stanford IBG:
“Seriously, though, no group of players has come in for more scrutiny that the guys wearing the red hats. I don’t think that there is a blogger in this gathering who thinks that TR, who might very well be the starter for the next two years, can “get the Irish over the BCS hump.” Even if we grant marginal improvement for TR as he becomes a junior he’ll be without security blanket Michael Floyd. Tommy’s limitations are on display for us every game. Imagine TR going against a top notch BCS caliber defense the likes of LSU, Alabama, or Oklahoma. Against the top defenses, the QB must make plays.”
Stanford, they have a pretty solid D. I don’t know what you saw on television, but it looked like a wall of red and black crowding the line from our vantage point during the first half. Blog Davie saw me– on multiple downs– count the number of Cardinal defenders because I could swear it looked like there were more than eleven men on the field.
And then you have the missed opportunities. Yes the line played poorly. Yes we were jobbed on some calls. But the missed touch down pass in the first half? The botched quick kick/punt? The inability to run when the pattern broke down? All of that was on Tommy. I really do like the kid, but he had been getting by as the dreaded “game manager” the entire season and mere game management didn’t get the offense going on Saturday. Playmaking ability from the QB position did and it was on display for the whole world to see.
Me, Blog Davie, and a bunch of others are in agreement. I will take the growing pains of playing Hendrix or Golson along with their inevitable mistakes because their ceiling is so, so, so much higher and the playbook is opened up that much more.
4) Did I mention there were no hot-dogs for sale? But you could get a personal pizza for $11.
3) Mr. Andrew Luck was not all that impressive in person. Sure the stats look good. Sure we were on hand to see him break John Elway’s career touch down record. But there wasn’t a single play where anyone in our section just looked at each other and said, “Wow.” He looked like a very good college QB. He didn’t blow one away as the next first overall pick of the NFL draft.
But what do I know? The guy will probably have a great NFL career. And what kind of rapping/blogging name is “Steve”? Steve…
2) Speaking of underwhelming, the Stanford Band. What, you guys got no condoms to throw at our players to mock our Catholicism? No dressing up like nuns? I’m pretty sure you already did the bit about Irish as drunken brawlers. Something outrageous would have almost been preferable to the lame jokes from some sort of “Guitar Hero” routine. They were small. They were disorganized. I know that since they aren’t an “official” band, but a “scramble band” that is sort of their M.O. but those of us who know what a real marching band is know that this isn’t a real band…
And finally, the number one thing that made this the trip to Stanford almost epic,
1) Seeing the game in person meant that we didn’t have to hear Brent Musberger call it!