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It’s Never Goodbye—See You Later!

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Before I get into what looks like my last article ever for Rule of Tree, I want to say thank you to everyone on staff and some who are no longer with RoT who helped me share my side of Stanford. Stanford is in my blood and what better way to share my thoughts and stories than with other Stanford students, alumni, and fans. We might be a small community, but my beliefs would go straight to ESPN if we represented one of their darling teams like Alabama. I also want to say I loved every minute of writing for you guys; it keeps me sane. I love criticism as much as I love praise. Thank you guys.

The reason I decided that I would end my time with a more somber article is because I am also a diehard 49ers fan. The Super Bowl was the toughest 49ers loss for me. And at 30-years-old, I still haven’t really gotten to experience the ultimate victory. So without further ado, I’d like to state my 10 worst football losses I’ve experienced as a Stanford fan. And yes, I wasn’t around in 1982, so please stop bringing it up.

10: September 4th, 1999. I was 9-years-old and I was so excited I got to watch the Stanford game on TV with my grandpa as they played at Texas. Little did I know that Texas was about to put up a Gronk number (69) on us. I watched every minute, but I couldn’t believe how bad it was.

9: January 1st, 2000: This was a BIG deal in our household as Stanford hadn’t attended a Rose Bowl since the 70s and I thought, hey this is easy. I was so young and naïve. I didn’t know that long before there was a Toby Gerhart, there was a Ron Dayne. Stanford losing the Rose Bowl was hard to watch.

8: October 8th, 2000: Stanford was hosting top-10 Washington. It was pouring down rain and Stanford looked like they were going to pull the upset….. until Marques Tuiasosopo happened.

7: October 29th, 2005: Stanford was up BIG on UCLA with LITTLE time remaining. I knew I was finally going to see that big upset. For real this time… Except UCLA scored 21 points in the final 7 Minutes and I sat as a 15-year-old teenager stunned.

6: November 14th, 2015: Stanford had blown national championship chances before, but this one was different. Stanford had all the pieces it needed against Oregon, our decade-long foe. Losing was bad and losing at the end of the game was painful. But having our best quarterback statistically to ever walk the Farm fumbling twice was absolutely devastating. Still love you Kevin.

5: November 16th, 2013: A few years before that loss to Oregon, Stanford had finally topped Oregon at home and was heading into its stretch run, ranked #5 going into USC. It was also my first time at the LA Coliseum. I never expected how bad the fans would be nor that we would leave without a win. It crushed our title hopes and some guy named Ed Orgeron became a legend in the making.

4: October 2nd, 2010: Stanford was finally relevant—and not just in video games. When I wore my Stanford gear, it was finally respected—until about 8 PM when Oregon turned on a fire I hadn’t seen before. A 21-3 lead quickly dissolved into a 52-31 loss. At least the refs called a good game—oh wait, they didn’t.

3: November 12th, 2011: This is still THE BIGGEST GAME IN STANFORD HISTORY. It had College Gameday, Andrew Luck, a top 10 defense, a top 10 opponent, and we were ranked #3 in the country! I still to this day don’t believe Andrew Luck is mortal, but unfortunately, he was on this day in history. Our defense was, too, and our best team in history would not get a chance to play for a national championship. Andrew Luck got screwed out of his 2nd Heisman trophy.

2: January 2nd, 2012: I want to dive into a hole when I think about the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. It was the first time I think I was ever angry at a loss. I’ve been sad and frustrated and mad but I left that game with hate in my heart. Losing the way we did by shanking a chip shot is still so, so brutal.

1: November 21st, 2009: My worst loss as a Stanford fan wasn’t a top 10 game nor a bowl game nor against a USC or Oregon. It was against Cal. Even though I had seen a loss to Cal nearly every year from 2001-2008 (save for 2007), it was absolutely atrocious. It still makes me puke. Losing to Cal with Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart the way we played—then having Luck throw an interception—then having those “fans” rush our field—was disgusting. I sat and watched every second. I felt close to death.

Extra Points:

September 17th, 2005-December 2nd, 2006: UC Davis and 2006… Enough Said.

October 8th, 2016: We weren’t a great team, but getting embarrassed at home to Washington State is something you should never say… EVER. It is still the only game I’ve ever left early.

December 1st, 2017: Pac-12 Championship against USC. USC was talented, but we played better that day. Just couldn’t finish.

November 23rd, 2019: The aftershock from the 2009 Big Game. Had the game ready for the taking and we blew it. The “fans” rushed again.

Now knowing me, I am very optimistic and I know that Stanford still has enough juice to right their wrongs. But if we can’t coach, recruit, or play, this list will grow longer.

After enduring so many painful losses, I remain here writing. I still love this team deep to my core. I will be there through thick and thin in the future.

So, I finish with this: thank you again for everything you’ve given me over the years. And if this is my last article ever, there’s only one way to end it...