1-11 to 11-1: A Palindromic Look at How Far Stanford Has Come

The Stanford football team went 1-11 in 2006, Walt Harris' second and final year on the Farm. Four years later, under the guidance of Jim Harbaugh, the Cardinal is 11-1 and preparing for a trip to the Orange Bowl. 1-11. 11-1. Well isn't that too hot to hoot. Here's a palindromic review of the 2006 season, which should help you appreciate 2010 even more.

Dennis sinned.
Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon killed the Cardinal in the 2006 season opener, passing for 236 yards and a touchdown, and rushing for another score in the Ducks' 48-10 win. Dixon had plenty of help from Jonathan Stewart, who rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Oregon's 48 points were the most Stanford would allow all season. Unfortunately, Stanford's 10 points were the most the Cardinal would score in all but two other games all season.

Party trap.
The unveiling of renovated Stanford Stadium should've been a festive occasion, but there wasn't much to celebrate about Stanford's 37-9 loss to Navy. "I thought our fans were great tonight," Harris said after the game. "Obviously it would have been nice to come through with a better effort. We've got a lot of work to do though."

Was it Eliot's toilet I saw?
Yes, that was Eliot's toilet you saw, and that was Stanford's offensive playbook in it. The Cardinal fell to 0-8 after mustering only 145 total yards in a 38-3 loss at Arizona State.

A Santa at NASA...
Had a better chance of walking on Mars than Stanford did against USC. The "Biggest. Upset. Ever." would have to wait another year, as the Cardinal lost 49-0. "I thought we fought as hard as we could for as long as we could," Harris said. "We tried to play competitive. I think we played hard with what we have."

Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
Stanford put an end to its year-long losing streak on a November trip to Washington. The Cardinal's 20-3 win against Ty Willingham and the Huskies was its first in Seattle since 1975. A young running back by the name of Toby Gerhart rushed for 22 yards on 10 carries, while Richard Sherman caught six passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. Stanford put up a decent fight against Cal in Big Game three weeks later, but lost 26-17. Harris was soon fired.

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.
Fast forward four years and Harbaugh's plan, which included the recruiting of one Andrew Luck, has helped the program reach new heights. As the Cardinal players finish finals and begin harnessing their character and cruelty in anticipation of their Orange Bowl matchup with Virginia Tech, I leave them with this: I maim Miami. (It was that or 'Man, Oprah's sharp on A.M.')

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