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November 4, 2003, will go down as one of the great days in television history. It will be recognized as the realization of a dream that millions had only dared to dream. That is, until yesterday. After months of anticipation, the NFL Network finally made its big debut.
I'm a tremendous sucker for NFL Films. Hell, I'm addicted to NFL Films. Have been ever since I was a kid. There was just something that was so mesmerizing about it all. The super-slow-motion images of Jack Lambert sifting through the Raiders' offense to find the ballcarrier, the precise and skillful scriptwriting, the booming voice of John Facenda (and now, Harry Kalas), the music and the drama rising to a crescendo… I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it.
Every time NFL Films comes on, whether I'm at the office or at home, I drop everything and watch. Period. It's brilliant filmmaking and compelling television.
And now, along with plenty of other NFL-specific programming, it's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have DirecTV, don't be surprised if I come knocking on your door so I can crash on your couch and check it out.
But yesterday's debut got me to thinking: now that the NFL has its own television network, why not a TV network devoted strictly to Stanford sports? How cool would this be?
Of course, a television channel devoted to all things Cardinal would feature some of the standard fare: a SportsCenter-like highlight show, replays of great Stanford games, and, of course, classic episodes of the "Stanford Cardinal Farm Report."
But a Stanford sports TV network would also have to make some concessions to the so-called "casual viewer." That's not something I'm a huge fan of; ESPN tried to account for the "casual viewer" with Rush Limbaugh and they predictably got burned on it.
However, it is a sign of the times. And it does allow for some creativity in expanding programming options. So that means reality shows, dramas, sitcoms, and the like. And if it was up to me, here are some of the shows you'd see…
Fraternity Life. Hmmm. Okay, maybe not. At least not since they closed the Delt house down. Stanford campus life just wasn't the same after that, and my understanding is that it still hasn't recovered. Long live the ice slide…
Road Rules: Provo, Seattle, South Central. Watch the trials and triumphs of a young football team as they learn about themselves and each other while not playing a home game for six weeks.
Cold Case. Chief Investigative Bootie Mike Eubanks re-opens the files and tries to find out the truth behind what really happened during the Screw of '82. But first, he needs to find Dwight Garner, who has somehow mysteriously disappeared…
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Go behind the scenes as the Stanford offensive line goes from a revolving door one week to a stone wall the next.
Pac-10's Most Wanted. Special guest: Rick Neuheisel.
Late Night with Mark Marquess. Self-explanatory. This needs to happen.
This Old Stadium. Can an ancient, decaying building with enough room to seat 85,000 people be saved? Bob Vila gives it a shot. But will he have second thoughts once he takes a look at the stadium's plumbing system?
Pardon the Interruption. Jim "Emeritus" Rutter and Bob Murphy go back-and-forth on the Stanford sports issues of the day.
Newlyweds: Curtis and Susan. A camera crew follows the every move of newlywed hoops stars Curtis Borchardt and Susan King. Susan's in Pullman while Curtis is stuck at home rehabbing. Fortunately, the Timberwolves are in town, and that means a visit from Mark "Maddog" Madsen! Hilarity and hijinks ensue.
John Millionaire. Basically this is John Arrillaga's hour… he can do with it whatever he wants.
Everybody Loves Monty. Mike Montgomery is a sane man living in an insane neighborhood… and that's before Bill Freider unexpectedly moves in and crashes on Monty's couch! Also co-starring George Raveling as the wacky neighbor who never knocks. And coming up during February sweeps: a very special episode guest starring Larry Eustachy.
By the way, all of the above shows would be subject to random cameos from Snoop Dogg.
Put all of that together, and that's what I would call "appointment television!"
RANDOM PAC-10 THOUGHTS
What a role reversal last week! Usually UCLA is the team that wins via defense and special teams, and usually Stanford is the team that folds underneath the opposing pass rush…
Big moment for Marcus McCutcheon as he recovered a muffed UCLA punt to set up a Stanford touchdown. Nice moment for his dad Lawrence, the former Rams star who is now a scout for St. Louis and was watching last Saturday's game from the press box…
The U$C Trojans are good, but they're not Oklahoma good. In the Pac-10 right now, there's U$C, and then there's everyone else. But in college football right now, there's Oklahoma, and then there's everyone else…
I can never remember this, but if they played in the Southern Hemisphere, would Arizona State's season be circling clockwise or counter-clockwise?
So let me get this straight: Rice beat Nevada, who beat Washington, who beat Stanford, who beat UCLA, who beat Washington. I don't really have a point here… just thought that was an interesting chain of events…
Just when I didn't think Oregon's uniforms could get any more garish, they broke out the all-whites against Washington. Brutal…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but… I promise you every big-time college athletic director and every NFL general manager has Neil Cornrich on speed dial. And if they don't, they should. Who the heck is Neil Cornrich, you ask? He's the agent for some guy named Bob Stoops…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but… tough loss for Jared Lorenzen and the Kentucky Wildcats, losing 71-63 in seven overtimes to Arkansas. Still, it serves Rich Brooks right for running up the score on us back in 1994. I haven't forgotten…
Not a Pac-10 thought, but… no one passes a better deep ball in the NFL right now than Tom Brady. Throwing the ball 50 yards downfield is one thing; just about every quarterback in the NFL can do that. But passing the ball 50 yards downfield to a specific point where the receiver doesn't have to break stride is a whole other story. No one is doing it better right now than Brady…
Arizona State @ Stanford. Two teams heading in opposite directions. Stanford, for a change, has some momentum. The Sun Devils looked absolutely awful in losing to cal. If I didn't like Stanford's defense so much, I'd say Andrew Walter somehow turns it around here. But expect another low-scoring, bruising contest that Stanford should win. I like Stanford by 5.
UCLA @ Washington State. Call this the Pac-10's consolation bowl. Matt Kegel must have had a long, uncomfortable plane ride back to Pullman after the beating he took at U$C last week. Matt Moore probably felt much the same on the plane back to L.A. With both guys banged up, it may come down to who runs the ball better. That's why I like UCLA by 8.
cal @ Oregon. Jeff Tedford comes home to Eugene. I'm sure he'll like what they've done to Autzen. I'm also sure that he liked what he saw when he watched the Ducks on film. I'm not sure if this will be a rout, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was. I like cal by 12.
Washington @ Arizona. This could be a classic ambush game. The Huskies are seriously banged up, with Cody Pickett suffering from concussion symptoms and Rich Alexis now gone for the season. The Wildcats may not win, but they'll certainly keep it interesting. I like Washington by 9.
Last week (straight up): 3-2, (ATS): 1-3.
This year (straight up): 17-8, (ATS): 8-15-1.
Got a thought on this column or on Stanford sports? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org! The ones I like best will end up in next week's E-Mailbag…
Troy Clardy is a reporter for the Stanford Cardinal Farm Report, which airs Saturday mornings at 8:30 on Fox Sports Bay Area.
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