Gridiron Rhetoric: Week 6

[Cross blogged for Leland Quarterly]

As someone who applied to Stanford in the glory days of our football program (I’m looking at you, you magnificent 2006 1-11 season), a lot of things about my school’s recent performance on the football field have taken some getting used to.  I have to deal with suddenly being a “football school,” keep constantly telling people that I came here for the academics and the atmosphere and the weather, really, not because of some hot-shot quarterback recruit from Texas, wherever that is.  Yes, it’s been hard to deal with our newfound success—who would have thought when I showed up on campus as a freshmen resigned to football mediocrity that I’d go on to see my bookish and cerebral Cardinal beat the friggin’ crap out of brutish USC three out of my four undergrad years?  I certainly wasn’t prepared for that (and, frankly, neither were my friends who chose USC).

No, I had my share of surprises from Stanford football during my undergrad.  So when the Pac-10 decided it was adding two more teams for my year of grad school on the Farm, I said sure.  Let’s roll with it.  The unexpected has turned out pretty well so far.

This week, the first of those teams enters Stanford Stadium.  And frankly, the Colorado Buffaloes probably know what they’re getting into.  After all, Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo may buffalo Buffalo buffalo—but the Cardinal buffaloes Boulder Buffalo like it’s nobody’s homonymic business.

Veteran Stanford fans like myself (okay, Stanford fans who are older than nineteen) may find themselves asking where, exactly, Colorado comes from.  But really, the Pac-12 has a rich history of admitting colleges nowhere near the Pacific—both Idaho and Montana were members for decades, starting in the 1920s.  And in fact, even without that history, the Pac-12 is doing pretty well in terms of sensibility compared to the other automatically qualifying conferences.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s look at the house that Larry built vis-à-vis all those other silly sports symposia:

  • Conference: Pacific-12
  • Number of members: 12
  • States represented: AZ, CA, CO, OR, UT, WA
  • What it should be called: The Vaguely Western 12 Conference

Screw you, Nevada. You take your hookers and your gambling and you go play in the Mountain West.

  • Conference: Atlantic Coast
  • Number of members: 12 (present), 14 (2012)
  • States represented: GA, FL, MA, MD, NC, NY (2012), PA (2012), SC, VA
  • What it should be called: The Pac-12’s Evil Twin Conference

It’s cool, Pennsylvania totally has a polluted Atlantic Coast, too. It’s called New Jersey.

  • Conference: Big 10
  • Number of members: 12
  • States represented: IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, NE, OH, PA, WI, denial
  • What it should be called: The Bigger 10 Conference

I still fit into these pants, right? Look, I know I put on a few pounds, but c’mon. I’m still a size 10.

  • Conference: Big 12
  • Number of members: 10 (present), 9 (2012)
  • States represented: IA, KA, MO, TX, OK, emergency
  • What it should be called: The Less Big 12 Conference


  • Conference: Southeastern
  • Number of members: 12 (present), 13 (2012)
  • States represented: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, KY, MS, SC, TN, TX (2012)
  • What it should be called: The Good Luck Texas A&M, You’re Going to Need It Conference

Rick Perry encouraging his alma mater, Texas A&M, to join the SEC: football folly or brilliant political move to gain prominence in the deep south?

  • Conference: Big East
  • Number of members: 16 (present, full members), 17 (present, including affiliated), 17 (2012, full members), 18 (2012, including affiliated), 8 (Division I football, present), 9 (Division I football, 2012)
  • States represented: CT, DC, FL, IL, IN, KY, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX (2012), WI, WV, confusion
  • What it should be called: The We’re an AQ Conference, Too, Guys Conference

Okay guys, how can we possibly make this conference organization any more confusing? What’s that? Add a school from Texas? Brilliant. Pass me one a them ten gallon hats, I’ma start wearin’ it to UConn games.

Finally, a look at some rhetoric from around the internet (but first, just watch this again):