Thanksgiving: a time of gluttony, uncles that get too amped up for touch football, and Christmas decorations in malls. Oh yeah, and giving thanks. It's so easy to get caught up with everything else that we usually forget the latter. Stanford fans: let's take some time to appreciate what we have (beyond the Axe, of course).
1. Utah is not on the schedule
Thank heavens Stanford didn't have to fly out to Salt Lake City, drive to Levi's Stadium, or even walk over to Stanford Stadium to play Utah this year. Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Coors Field of college football, is a weird place, and Stanford should never play them there, or anywhere, ever again. Forget the monster under the bed: young Stanford fans have nightmares about Travis Wilson.
2. College Gameday is not coming to The Farm
If Stanford had beaten Oregon, Gameday assuredly would have come to Palo Alto. Now, it's in Stillwater. We like flying under the radar better, anyway. Stanford is 2-4 all-time when College Gameday travels to one of its regular season games, so it's better that we keep Lee Corso from dancing around in a tree costume -- it's dangerous.
3. The Big-12 is crazy
Stanford fans can be thankful that the Big-12 (or ten) is truly the wild west -- upsets and chaos tend to happen when there's no clear leader of the pack, or when no good team plays another good team until the last two weeks. All of this guaranteed late carnage will only help Stanford's playoff hopes, leaving Big-12 losses fresh in the minds of voters. All Stanford can now do is pray that TCU beats Baylor and Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, and then they have a good chance (if they win out). It doesn't hurt to give thanks for how much the committee likes Stanford, too.
4. Christian McCaffrey Plays Football
Sometimes, we take the things we value most for granted, like Christian McCaffrey. Give thanks that McCaffrey didn't end up running track or some boring stuff like that (sorry track fans). You can't get a Heisman for handing off a baton! Where would we be without him? We wouldn't get to see his brilliance -- or Stanford even sniffing contention for anything but the Alamo Bowl. We wouldn't get to see his touchdown passes or him probably breaking Barry Sanders' record or David Shaw smiling (okay, maybe that's pushing it). Sit back, admire, and be grateful that you probably have two more years of this:
5. Shannon Turley Didn't Leave For Michigan
Remember last winter when we thought Shannon Turley had become a traitor and followed Jim Harbaugh to Michigan? Good thing that didn't happen. Although strength and conditioning coaches don't usually live in the spotlight, Turley has found a way to stand out by keeping his players on the field at an astounding rate *knocks on wood*, one of the main reasons Stanford has been so good this decade.
6. We've Stopped Criticizing Shaw's Conservatism
If David Shaw was conservative and nobody was around to hear, was he really conservative? As Stanford has picked itself up off the mat and fought back hard, all of the critics of Shaw's conservative offensive play-calling seem to have vanished. Has anything really changed, other than not punting from the 29-yard line and the results? I think not.
Sure, sometimes the criticism has been justified (see Fiesta Bowl), but usually it's just the natural thing for fans to do: play the blame game. Stanford's conservative offense has won many more games than it has lost, and we should be grateful that we don't have to hear this onslaught of complaining anymore.
7. We're Not Cal Fans
Gold's an ugly color. So is no Axe.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Go Stanford! Beat ND!