Up until now, whenever you thought of oranges within the context of Stanford Football, you probably arrived at the image of thousands of oranges raining down from the Cal student section, targeted at the heads of the Stanford band during a Big Game half time show.
Tonight, though, everything changed. Thanks to coach Jim Harbaugh, quarterback Andrew Luck, the dominant offense, the resilient defense, and -- yes -- the loyal fan base, the Mighty Card has been selected to perform on one of college football's biggest and most historic stages -- the Orange Bowl.
There will be lots of discussion on a national level lamenting the thought that Stanford fans wouldn't buy enough tickets to warrant a more desirable slot against a better team in the Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl, and griping throughout Cardinal Nation that an obscure clause in the BCS contract kept the team from its rightful place in the Rose Bowl.
I'll have lots more in the coming weeks previewing the actual matchup with Virginia Tech, but for now let's look at the politics. The bowl system is about making money, plain and simple, so none of this should come as any surprise. What is surprising, though, is that any of this is happening at all. In 2006 the Not-So-Mighty Card was one of the worst teams in the country, finishing at 1-8 and dead last in the conference. Four years later the team is one bad half of football from playing in the national championship game, and people are complaining.
The Stanford Cardinal will be playing in a BCS bowl game in the first week of January, bringing millions of dollars to the Pac-10 conference, and priceless exposure to a resurgent football program looking to impress young recruits around the nation. Regardless of how disappointed you might feel right now, there is absolutely nothing to be upset about concerning the state of Stanford Football. Everything, as they say, is alright now.