In general, I think I do a pretty good job of expressing thanks to the important people in my life (my wife, children, family, friends, and students) and reminding myself how lucky I am that I've arrived at this exact place in life, so I've never actually sat down at the Thanksgiving table and announced the things that I'm thankful for.
I didn't do that this Thanksgiving, either, but here's a list of the Stanford Football things that I'm thankful for today. Feel free to add your own list below.
Think for a minute about what this season would've been like if Luck had spent it with a Panther on the side of his helmet rather than a block S. I'm not ready to agree with those who think the Cardinal wouldn't have been able to qualify for a bowl game without him, but they surely wouldn't have gotten past six or seven wins. Thanks, Andrew.
Anyone not connected with the program -- and by that I mean every single media member not named Hank, Scott, or Willys -- said the same thing when Jim Harbaugh left. The team simply wouldn't be able to compete on the same level without Harbaugh to lead the way and give the players that "competitive edge" necessary to win consistently. Harbaugh was a great coach, but Shaw is the right coach to move forward. Sure, there have been a few questions -- his dalliance with the Sequoia, his choice to kick a long field goal rather than go for a key first down when the Oregon game was still theoretically in doubt -- but in general, he's been great. His even-keeled demeanor helped the team through some difficult games, but he still let his emotions blaze when necessary -- raging against officials who failed to flag a blow to Chris Owusu's head a few weeks back, railing against the mystery of the BCS last week, and angrily dismissing talk that Luck might not deserve the Heisman. Thank you, Coach Shaw.
When Shayne Skov went down in the opening quarter of the third game of the season, there was a very real fear that the defense would crumble in his absence. Not only did the unit survive, it thrived, and that was thanks to the leadership of Chase Thomas, the likely Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Thanks, Chase.
The Offensive Line
Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro, we knew about it. The emergence of Cameron Fleming, Sam Schwartztein, and David Yankey, however, was a pleasant surprise. In August the offensive line was a huge question mark, but by November they had developed into one of the best units in the nation. Thank you, Tunnel Workers Union.
I love having the Axe. Thanks, Cal.
Nothing really to be thankful about here... yet. This is just a placeholder in case the Beavers can somehow beat Oregon on Saturday afternoon. If they can, the Cardinal will play in the Pac-12 Championship next week and the Rose Bowl next month. If they can, I'll have one thing to say: Thanks, Oregon State.
I started this site last September, knowing that at least five or six people would read it once in a while, but a year later my audience has grown beyond my wildest expectations. I'm grateful to all of you. Thank you to the people who follow on Twitter and like me on Facebook. (You like me! You really like me!) Thanks to those who add their opinions in the comment section and catch my mistakes, but also to those who read anonymously. Thanks to those who drop by occasionally, and thanks to the people who check in every day. Finally -- and this is the most important -- thanks for cheering on the Mighty Card.
[Peanuts characters © Charles M. Schultz]