This weekend, Stanford football triumphed in overtime to capture the Pac-12...
Ah, yes: I mean soccer. Gotcha!
The point here isn't merely to troll, but to celebrate a really great team, which won its first conference title in more than a decade with its best player, Jordan Morris, off gallivanting with the national soccer team. It won while dominating #15 Cal in Berkeley; it only made it to overtime because of a poor error by a defender allowed Cal to equalize.
So the team ought to be a contender for the national title. It boasts future pros like Jordan Morris, but also the excellent Corey Baird (who seems to view defenders as cones to dribble around) and Brandon Vincent. It plays the game with a go-go style: it plays defense on its opponents' side of the field, and with energy, and it plays offense with an impatient speed.
That's a style that can work well, but may fail spectacularly -- by committing so many players to carry the game to the opponent, it can leave defenders stranded. And the impatience with which it plays offense can disappoint those of you who prefer patient, sober decision-making. (Prepare for "who's that cross being hit to?" being asked a few times.)
But perhaps the team is hitting its stride. The goal that won the title for Stanford, in double overtime, was a feat of patience ending with some creative cutting play from Baird. If the team can add some patience to everything else it has, well...
The stats tell the tale. In the nation's toughest conference, the team is consistently producing more shots than its opponents: 22 shots to Cal's 11 today; 25 to Oregon State's 11 last week; a relatively even 19-16 against top-10 Washington; and 16-5 against top ten UCLA in southern California. More shots mean more opportunities mean more goals.
So my instinct is to tell you that Stanford soccer has only begun to win.