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Study Shows Stanford Football Doesn't Need a Bye Week

News of a fascinating study by Stanford researchers that challenges the notion of willpower as a limited resource that needs to be replenished made the rounds earlier this week.

"If you think of willpower as something that's biologically limited, you're more likely to be tired when you perform a difficult task," Veronika Job, the lead author of the paper that appeared in Psychological Science, told the Stanford News Service. "But if you think of willpower as something that is not easily depleted, you can go on and on."

Jim Harbaugh has known this for years. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was one of the Stanford "students" who served as subjects in the study. Even Harbaugh figured his players could benefit from a break, though, so he gave them 5 days to replenish following the Cardinal's thrilling win over USC.

"That's more time than I've ever given a team off on improvement week," Harbaugh told reporters, evoking his preferred term for the bye week. "But I had a feeling they needed it."

Stanford is rested and relatively healthy as it prepares for Saturday's visit from Washington State. Running back Tyler Gaffney, who was injured against Notre Dame, could play against the Cougars. Stanford is 3-1 in games after a bye week during Harbaugh's tenure. The Cardinal beat San Jose State and lost to Notre Dame with an extra week to prepare in 2007. With only one bye week during each of the last two seasons, the Cardinal dominated Washington State, 58-0, in 2008 and upset Oregon, 51-42, last year.

The following notes require little willpower to digest, but don't call them a study break.

  • Harbaugh compared Andrew Luck to his wife during this week's Pac-10 coaches teleconference. "I was thinking just the other night that two people in my life, my wife and our quarterback, Andrew Luck have a lot in common in that they're just both perfect." That prompted ESPN's Ted Miller to wonder, just "who is the perfect-est" in Harbaugh's mind--his wife, Luck, or Owen Marecic?
  • Former Stanford tight end Jim Dray, who now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, was on campus and dropped by practice last week.
  • Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott will announce the conference's revenue sharing plan and division realignment tomorrow in San Francisco.
  • In case you don't follow him on Twitter, Josh Childress (@JChillin) got a custom bowling ball, and it is awesome. If Harbaugh ever ordered a custom bowling ball, he could do a lot worse than one modeled after Ernie McCracken's from "King Pin." (If you can't tell from the picture or didn't see the movie, that's a rose inside.)