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
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
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
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
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
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
Put all of that together, and that’s what I would call "appointment
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…
Next time you see Michael Craven and Amon Gordon, pat those guys on the back
and shake their hands. Outstanding work by those young men. And every week, Jon Alston records a big, big hit…
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
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…
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
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 email@example.com!
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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