Hail to the Cardinal. Hail victory. Hail to the Cardinal, fight for the tree!
This may not be the fight song of the Stanford Cardinal, nor the words used for Stanford; but on Friday night down on the Farm they rang true nevertheless.
The Stanford Cardinal, ranked No. 8 nationally in the BCS, beat the UCLA Bruins for the second time in less than a week.
With their victory in dispatching their rivals from Southern California; Stanford cemented a great season with a rosy outlook.
Here are five things we learned from the Cardinal victory:
1. The Stanford Cardinal are going to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1999 season. With their first conference title since that 1999 season, Stanford built on its recent legacy of excellence, patience, and heart.
Stanford may not be the glamorous choice for people to cheer for across the country; the locals know very well their beloved Cardinal are a program built on character and toughness - a rare trait in sports today.
2. UCLA head coach Jim Mora has rebounded the Bruins program in his first year at the helm. UCLA was ranked in the top 25, restored the Bruin roar to Westwood, and among other notable achievements they beat USC in a battle for Los Angeles that saw USC shut-out UCLA last season.
3. It's hard to beat a team twice in football in less than a week, but the Stanford Cardinal did just that against the UCLA Bruins. The game Friday night in Palo Alto was much closer than last week's contest in the Rose Bowl.
Had UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn had made a 52-yard attempt late in the fourth quarter to force overtime; there very well may have been a different outcome.
Stanford wasn't as successful this time around in stopping the Bruins offense from driving the field all game, but the Cardinal defense stepped up when it mattered most and held UCLA scoreless in the fourth quarter.
4. UCLA senior running back Johnathan Franklin is good. Very good. In a big game, with the Pac-12 Title up for grabs, Franklin was at his very best. For the night he rushed 19 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns; including runs of 51 yards and 20 yards.
Franklin will be displaying his talents next season on Sundays for some luck NFL team.
5. Stanford can play with the big boys of college football and do it with style and class. This season Stanford has toppled then undefeated Oregon at their home, the powerful USC Trojans, and Top 20 team UCLA twice.
Stanford is known for academics primarily, but with the recent success down on the Farm, the Cardinal have become a place of higher learning and football excellence as well.
The future is bright at Stanford, and there is nothing more inspiring than a clean college football program where integrity, honor, heart, and commitment are cherished and revered.
Head coach David Shaw has Stanford primed for more success as the Cardinal move on to the Rose Bowl.