TwistNHook: WHO DOESN'T HAVE THE AXE??????
Berkelium97: WHO DOESN'T HAVE TOBY GERHART TO KEEP THE OFFENSE CHUGGING ALONG????
TwistNHook: At the Big Game last year, Toby statistically had a pretty good game.
Rushing No Gain Loss Net TD Lg Avg
Gerhart, T 20 139 3 136 4 61 6.8
However, many of those yards came on this disastrous play just moments into the game:
S 3-2 S39 7-Gerhart, T rush for 61 yards to the CAL0, 1ST DOWN STANFORD,
TOUCHDOWN, clock 13:24.
I certainly couldn't have been the only Cal fan to fear the worst when that occurred. So, overall Gerhart had 20 rushes for 136 yards (and 4 TDs?!???!?!). However, take away that one breakaway run and it is 19 rushes for 75 yards for an average of 3.9 yards a carry. That's about the best you could hope for in holding Gerhart in check!
And while Cal was "holding" Gerhardt in check, how was Luck doing?
Passing Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack
Luck, A 10-30-1 157 0 37 0
10 for 30 for 157 yards and an interception (AND WHAT AN INTERCEPTION!). Without Gerhart in the lineup this year, Stanford is going to have to rely upon Luck more and more and still yet more. I hope we see the Andrew Luck of the 2009 Big Game in the 2010 Big Game!
Kodiak: I hate writing about the 'furds. I hate their pathetic excuse of a drugged-out eyesore embarrassment-to-mankind mascot. I hate their even more pathetic excuse of drunken disorderly cacophony that they call their band. Sorry...I'm having trouble staying focused here.
The human slab o' muscle has taken his act to the NFL leaving them with no proven playmakers at RB and their offensive hopes solely resting on the golden arm of Andrew Luck. Unfortunately, he's good enough to be worthy of bowel-wrenching hatred. Their O-line has been surprisingly solid over the past two years and they return two proven commodities at wideout in Owusu and Whalen. Whalen is their shifty/clever possession guy. Owusu has elite speed, but inconsistent hands. (Nice to see that combo in another team for once.) With a year of starting experience under his belt, they'll probably rely on Luck's passing to help set up their run game instead of vice-versa. He can make all the throws, has irritating accuracy, and I'm not sure if we can count on him to play catch with MikeyMo again. Also, for all bluster, Harbaugh has shown some serious coaching ability in leading his team to upset wins over 'sc and Oregon. I'm sure he'll put together a dangerous offense.
OhioBear: I. Hate. Stanfurd.
Kodiak: Defense is another question. Lack of depth on the D-line has prompted a switch to a 3-4 this year. They still lack elite speed and athleticism, especially in the secondary. However, they tend to be well-coached, swarm the ball, and play with a disciplined, hard-nosed mentality.
On special teams, Owusu is one of the nation's most dangerous returners. And like every other team in the league, it's safe to say that they have better coverage, kickers, etc. until proven otherwise.
Traditional thinking on the Big Game says throw out the records and assume the team with the most to lose is going to struggle. The powerful emotions of a rivalry game can really affect these young men to the point where it's almost impossible to predict the what you'll see on the field. In this case, I see ownage. Having faced a 3-4 defense with real athletes the last few years, our offense is well-prepared. They simply cannot stop our running game and Miller has a career day. Although Luck keeps them in it early, he can't keep up because our offense dominates the time of possession. With their offense rendered one-dimensional and in catch-up mode, our guys spend the whole 4th quarter seeing what type of fruit Luck will grow if planted. In the end, we keep the Axe for another year. 38-21, Cal. A few weeks later, Harbaugh decides the creek has risen and flees to Michigan.
HydroTech: ESPN interviewed 135 college football players regarding the 2010 season. Of the Pac-10 players interviewed, a whopping 44.4% of Pac-10 players interviewed predicted that Stanfurd would win the Pac-10 this year (source: $ link $). That's... very surprising. You would have thought USC or Oregon, or perhaps Oregon State would have been the winner. But Stanfurd? What about Stanfurd makes them look like a Rose Bowl team? Well, they are returning most of their offense; pretty much everyone but Gerhart, and their RT. That's something to be scared of.
Another reason to fear Stanfurd is Andrew Luck -- supposedly. He's apparently really good and a future first round NFL draft pick. He did have a 3.25:1 TD-INT ratio last year. However, he only completed 56.2% of his passes. That is hardly impressive at all, and especially for a future 1st round draft pick. In the same ESPN poll referenced in the previous paragraph, Pac-10 players stated that the best player in the Pac-10 was Washington's Jake Locker, and not Andrew Luck. Perhaps that is telling. Perhaps Luck isn't quite all that and a bag of potato chips.
Berkelium97: Looking at Andrew Luck's stats from last year, he's clearly not the best QB in the Pac-10 (that honor goes to Locker). In fact, statistically, Nick Foles is better than Luck. Luck has a completion percentage of 64.7 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters with an incredible 11.25 yards per pass attempt. Oddly enough, his completion percentage drops to 47.4 in the 1st and 4th quarters while his ypa drops to 6.86. Overall, his percentage throughout the field is about 60-58% except for the red zone, where his percentage plummets to 38.7%. His passing statistics are some of the more bizarre stats in the Pac-10.
What stands out most is his number of pass attempts last year: 288. This was well below the numbers of other Pac-10 QBs who generally tossed between 350 and 400 passes. This illustrates that Luck played a lesser role in the Stanford offense than other QBs did in their offenses. Whether Luck thrives in a more central role this year will be key to Stanford's success this season.
Atomsareenough: I very happily and totally agree with Ohio Bear.
BTW, someone please use the phrase "going both ways" in their post. I can't believe I left it out.
OhioBear: I just want to be clear:
TwistNHook: I just want to be clear.
Alice In Chains was better than Nirvana.
Atomsareenough: Oh, by the way, my other point of minor disagreement... Why would we rush the field? Unless they're somehow ranked in the top 10, sitting atop the conference standings, and appear headed to the Rose Bowl, which seems extremely unlikely, there's no reason not to act like we beat them because we're supposed to beat them.
OhioBear: On my submission, could Sir Twist kindly edit the second line (should be "Big Games," plural) and the second-to-last line (should be "again," not against).
I want this roundtable to be perfect in form. I do not want the Stanfurd blogmeisters to seize upon typos and make us look bad.
PS. I agree with Ohio, but disagree with Atomsareenough.
PPS. Since it was apparently unclear in my original post, I am disgusted with all things 'furd. Hatred is too good for them.
Last year, Kairos was in the air, but the hopes of Tyche were Aphrodite-slapped down by the Oracle.
This year, Hubris again rears its Medusa-head and beseeches Nemesis to break off Hermes' Nikes in a stanfurd shield-bearer's netherworld. How about that for a different perspective on going both ways?
So you have to think, that without such a dominant running threat like Gerhart to open things up for Luck, Owusu, and Whalen down the field, that Luck's numbers should trend towards not improving. Of course, Luck may improve his general skills as a QB. Thus his numbers could improve and improve enough to offset the loss in his statistics from not having such a threatening runningback.
That said, it should be interesting to see how their passing game works out. By the numbers, last year's Furd offense was similar to the old Raiders offenses of the past - pound it inside with a stud RB, then go deep over the top on play-action. Will the Cardinal be able to do that with a new stable of (what is likely to be) lesser RBs? Probably not with the same effectiveness so it seems like the scheme will probably have to change a bit, probably to feature more short/intermediate throws from Luck. Then again, I'm sure Harbaugh would say that Luck isn't going to have any problem with those either.