First, let me come clean. I have family members who went to Stanford. This isn't something we advertise. Every family has its dark secrets. I have a nephew who, like all Stanford grads, is a know-it-all. Never mind that he really does seem to know it all, if he's reading this, your sister and my godchild (who went to MIT, by the way) is smarter than you are.
Anyway, Wisconsin will defeat Stanford today. Here's why:
- We have the better mascot. Ours is a gritty nocturnal animal with attitude. They have a tree. I'm serious. The Stanford mascot is officially listed as the "Stanford Tree" which is a skinny pine tree. It just stands there. Bucky does push-ups.
- We have the better nickname. We are the Badgers. They are the Cardinal. Cardinal is a color; it's not the name of a team. If they were the Cardinals, that would be okay, though that's really a better name for a baseball team.
- There are more of us. Forty thousand students versus their fifteen thousand or so. A lot of people would say this is irrelevant, but we've got three alumni for every one of theirs to say it's not, so we win the argument. (Yeah, I know it's not quite three-to-one; Stanford is filled with people who would quickly calculate the exact ratio and then tell you what it is.)
- Have you ever been to Palo Alto? The weather is perfect every day. Sometimes it's 68 and sunny. Sometimes it's 82 and sunny. They don't have humidity there. It rains, but only at night and never on weekends. What passes for cold there passes for June here. Now, look outside. Our weather builds character -- it's for people of sturdy stock. This is an advantage in the manly game of football.
- We have a more motivated coach. Barry Alvarez built this program, and he's returning to the Rose Bowl where he doesn't know how to lose. And the players asked him to come in and save the day. Also, he gets another $50,000 if they win. This is what college athletics is all about.
- Our team "travels well," which is to say that people are so desperate to get out of here in the dead of winter and so eager to order cocktails and steaks that we tend to stimulate local economies in noticeable ways. If you're in Palo Alto, outside of the actual football game, what is your motivation to travel from perfect weather to perfect weather? See #4 above. So we'll have more fans at the game, and these fans will be happy just to be there.
- Facebook didn't do nearly as well in their initial public offering as everyone expected. Meanwhile, milk could be eight bucks a gallon by next week. Who's on top of the economic pyramid now, people?!
- Some of the $810 million in our federal tax dollars that was approved to build high speed rail in Wisconsin ended up in California after Scott Walker gave it all back. These people owe us.
- The Stanford band plays kazoos and doesn't even have uniforms. And they don't really march so much as they mingle. For decades when we didn't really have a football team, we had a BCS caliber marching band. My favorite Mike Leckrone production was in the 1970s with his tribute to Watergate. The band formed a tape recorder and actually moved in two circles to demonstrate how the famous 18 minutes was erased. Both Stanford and Wisconsin mock the traditional marching band, but we do it with more subtlety and style.
- It would actually be worth it for people in my neighborhood to pay to move their houses two thousand miles to Palo Alto and sell them there. This is just wrong.
The great thing about that last point is that some Stanford grad will take a half hour out of his day to actually do the calculation on this to see if it holds up. Meanwhile, I'll have another beer.
U-rah-rah! Go, Bucky!