Note: Although the single greatest Big Game I ever saw was 1982, 2002 was special for a number of reasons. Ending the streak not the least. This was originally a post on a now-defunct Web site. Forgive the cut-and-paste.
Ah, Stanfurd. Does it suck? Oh yeah. You bethca. It sucks loud, often, deeply, and sloppily. It also swallows. It is the sort of place with which any reasonable person would be embarrassed to have affiliation.
See, Stanfurd is the sort of place you want to see bulldozed to make room for a manure storage facility. It contains the type of people who drive BMWs and take mortal offense if anyone satirically pokes fun at them. It is a place where you learn how to reconcile giving lip-service to populist philosophy while employing an illegal Guatemalan maid.
To begin, there is the campus. For some reason, Stanfurds find it a thing of exquisite beauty, while anyone with even a modicum of aesthetic sensibility immediately recognizes that it looks as if it was left behind by a passing herd of cattle suffering from a collective bout of particularly nasty dysentery. It consists of a hodge-podge grouping of mud huts and squat hardscrabble shacks, all in some shade of vaguely nauseating beige, built around their beloved "quad." The "quad" is, in fact, the center of their campus social life, and hosts such beloved traditional events as the daily Insider Stock Exchange, where Stanfurd undergrads can gather to let each other know if their parents are being investigated by the SEC and which stocks to sell immediately. The "quad" is also where Stanfurds can hear inspirational public lectures on how to properly correct your servants, or how to get that deep shine on the finish of their BMWs.
However, the real architectural centerpiece of the Farm (as Stanfurd Junior University is affectionately called) is their Hoover Tower, a feeble structure startlingly devoid of any vision, aesthetic quality, or redeeming nature. Named after Herbert Hoover, one of Stanfurd's most beloved alums, the tower encapsulates all the charm, prestige, and charisma of that man. In one of the truest examples of the Stanfurd gestalt ever put forth, Hoover, after receiving the presidential nomination of his party, said: "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land" and then promptly led the country into the Great Depression. Hoover Tower's flaccid shape hearkens not only to that shining Stanfurd legacy, but also to the half-erect phalluses and oafish sensibilities of all Stanfurd men, and is the perfect symbol of Stanfurd vitality and vigor.
But there is more to Stanfurd than a hideous campus, revolting student body, and embarrassing legacy: there is athletics! Ask any Stanfurd and they will go on endlessly about the so-called athletic tradition of Stanfurd. Whatever small amount of success they may have garnered in recent years is belied by decades of futility and cowardice, best exemplified by an event involving the Stanfraid Rugby team in 2001. Scheduled to play Cal (defending champions and owners of a considerable win-streak against the Stanfraid Ruggers) and faced with an inevitable thrashing and mocking of their limited manhood, they instead opted to forfeit. Citing fear of injury and a distaste for losing as cause, the Stanfraid rugby team, showing the same fortitude as a pack of Frenchmen hearing two children speaking German, simply surrendered weeks before the game. In a moment of stark honesty, then Stanfraid coach, Franck Boivert, said: "[we] are, however, very afraid to get injured and indeed fear for [our] safety."
Of course, that wasn't Stanfraid's first brush with abject cowardice. Way back in 1903, in the first ever Rose Bowl, the Stanfraids were getting their asses kicked by Michigan, with the score 49-0 by the third quarter. Rather than be men, maintain what little integrity, dignity, and honor they had, and play to the end, the Stanfraids just left the field, went to the locker room, changed back into their dandy clothes, sprinkled their soft flesh with perfume, and left.
Along with this monument to fragility and spinelessness, there is also the tradition of the Stanfurd Band and the Stanfurd Tree. The band, which gains notoriety from their "zany" performances and "wacky" uniforms, is in reality, little more than a collection of spoiled children. Their antics are the sort of cry of attention often seen from any pampered, coddled, over-indulged two year old. And, like the aforementioned two year old, the band's feeble attempts at being precocious quickly move from mildly interesting into irritating displays, and after ten minutes you really wish they would just go away. Yeah, it was cute when it started, but a little goes a long way. The same goes for their tree, but doubly so. This perpetually annoying mascot is a prancing jackass, animated by the little boy that best exemplifies the poncey, fancy-lad spirit of Stanfurd. Like all Stanfurds, the tree irritates, aggravates, and minces, displaying a level of appeal usually found only in pinworms or maggots. However, it does serve as the perfect mascot of Stanfurd Junior University: it is rarely fully erect, it tries far too hard to draw attention to itself, and for all its macho posturing and false bravado, it will curl into a ball and whimper uncontrollably whenever confronted, as it did during one memorable basketball game, when Oski beat the ever-lovin' crap out of it.
Yet, for all the irritation and aggravation oozing from Stanfurds regarding their ugly campus and repulsive traditions, easily the most annoying aspect of these people is the hype with which Stanfraud Junior University promotes their academics. True, the faculty at Stanfraud are among the most noted in the world, and the student body tends to skew toward the upper end of both the SAT and egotistically inflated curve. However, the dirty little secret of Stanfraud is the fact that, for all their chest-thumping and yowling about their academic standards, it is impossible to fail out of the Farm. At any other regarded institution across the country the students must work hard to earn their grades. But not Stanfrauds. See, they have a system there where, should one of their "students" find themselves facing the prospect of earning anything below their entitled A, they may drop their class up to the last week of instruction. Ho ho! What an advantage! The reason is simple, and I will present it in the stylized form of an old Junior High Geometry proof:
Given: Stanfraud students do not fail out of class
1. Stanfraud admission standards are very stringent.
2. Only the highest quality students meet the admission standards.
3. High quality academic students do not fail out of class.
5. Stanfraud students are incapable of failure.