I apologize in advance to my loyal readers who will recognize that this column is awfully similar to one I wrote after Stanford beat Notre Dame last year. I also apologize for being a downer, because really, I should be celebrating Stanford’s resiliency in beating USC on Saturday. But of course, Stanford students had to go screw it up.
This is an open challenge to any person who ran onto the field after Stanford’s win to e-mail me a legitimately good reason why you did so. If you do, I will do something — anything — of your choice, to match the embarrassment you brought upon all of us by looking like a clown after the game. That isn’t going to happen though, because a good reason does not exist.
Stanford students are so consistently out of touch with sports reality that it never ceases to amaze me. Did you know, Mister or Miss Field-Rusher, that USC is unranked, on probation and has 15 fewer scholarship players than Stanford? Or that USC lost last week to a very mediocre Washington team and that Stanford was favored in this game by more than a touchdown?
When you rush the field, you tell the other team that you didn’t expect to win the game, and that you think they are better than you. You are essentially saying that particular win is more special than all the other wins. When Oregon beat Stanford last week, I found solace in the fact that very few idiotic Oregon fans rushed the field. I thought, “Wow, they really think we are a hell of a team.” USC doesn’t deserve that distinction.
I have a newsflash for you — Stanford is better than USC. This isn’t the 2007 upset when Stanford was a 41-point underdog. This is a Stanford team that is one poorly played second half away from being undefeated and ranked in the top five.
I haven’t talked to anyone on the team about it, but I don’t know how I would feel about the field rush if I were a player. Sure, the crowd was active last night. It wasn’t Death Valley-loud, but for Stanford, it was impressive. People didn’t leave around halftime and even the Axe Committee people managed not to yell at the wrong times (hint: when Stanford has the ball). But how many games does the team have to win before fans start expecting to win?
Some coaches tell their teams that when they score a touchdown, they should hand the ball to the referee and act like they had been there before. When will Stanford fans act like they have been there before? We have beaten USC three out of the past four seasons. We have been ranked for most of the season. We went to a bowl game last year.
I got a text message from a friend who went to the University of Maryland–a school that may not have a great football team, but has fans that understand sports–that read, “Good win but u should be ashamed of yourself for charging the field.” Damn straight.
Ashamed is probably the best word for it. That or pathetic. I want to be proud, but instead I’m forced to sit in my seat and just shake my head. I guess I can be happy that we aren’t Colorado, one of college football’s most storied programs in the past, and we didn’t rush the field after beating 1-3 Georgia.
So where should we draw the line? I don’t want to delve too deeply into that topic, because that is what I did in my column last year after the field-rushing after beating 6-6 Notre Dame.
I will say this, however: if you rush the field, the team you beat should have at least been a) ranked higher than you, b) a top-10 team or c) your archrival (in our case Cal–everyone hates USC, not just Stanford).
So I’m sorry for being the fun police, but really, if you want to be considered respectable, you have to start demanding respect. Charging the field isn’t the way to earn it.
Daniel Bohm hates you. Win back his affection at [email protected].