Thursday, June 13, 2013

College Sports: Stanford University Cardinal Magic in NCAA Athletic Championships Continues

Stanford University is famed for its academics and for neighboring Silicon Valley, home of Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and a myriad of high-tech firms that have changed the world, many of which can be viewed as Stanford spinoffs.

"The Farm" is a magic place, and I hold that to be true, not only because I am an alumnus.

Remarkable, and lesser known, is Stanford's incomparable record in NCAA college athletics, which has no equal, as Stanford, for 18 consecutive years, has won the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup as the best all-around athletic program in the country, measured by the all-around PERFORMANCE of its teams.

This year, in which Stanford seeks to win the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup again for the 19th year in a row, has been nip and tuck, with Stanford pulling away recently in Spring sports to again look like the favorite when the final results come in shortly.

But the way in which Stanford got there this year is even more amazing.

One record of which I had not previously been aware -- hat tip to The Loop and Stanford Magazine -- was that Stanford, prior to this season, had won at least one NCAA championship every year for the last 36 years. Only nine NCAA schools have that many championships TOTAL, and nothing comparable in championship streaks.

But things looked bleak this college athletic season.

Earlier in the Spring, Stanford still had no NCAA title, and the Stanford women's water polo team (ranked 2nd) fell to top-ranked USC in the finals in the 5th overtime period of the longest water polo game in NCAA history.

Many thought that was Stanford's last chance to have an NCAA champion this college season.

Few gave this year's 12th-ranked Stanford women's tennis team any chance of winning the NCAA tournament, but, remarkably, they pulled the championship out of the fire to keep their streak of NCAA championships intact. That amazing record now stands at 37 years in a row of NCAA championships , and awaits the next season.

Can Stanford win its 19th Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup in a row? Right now, it looks like it, and that in part is due to the incomparable and unexpected women's tennis title.

The only cloud in the silver lining is that the University of Michigan, which earlier in the Spring looked to have a good chance to upset Stanford this college athletic season, fell to second place.

Since my significant other is a Wolverine grad, we of course root for teams from both schools, and there is every chance that Michigan, with umpteen times the students of the Cardinal and great athletic facilities and teams, could upset Stanford in coming years.

Well, we will have to wait and see. Right now, Stanford is still on top.

But they should get the alumni to sponsor a Hall of Fame room with sufficient space for all the trophies!

Late report: I see at The Bootleg at that they pre-calculate a 19th straight win for Stanford, by the narrowest of margins -- a mere 21.5 points over Florida, 1262.25 to 1240.75. And UCLA also may have near 1200. So the women's tennis team looks to have saved both streaks. WOW! as we used to say in my college days. Today they might say AWESOME Cardinal!

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