Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Choke Wednesday: Rocky Mountain Low

I may be biting the hand that feeds me since about 75% of our offseason readership is Stanford fans, and it's absolutely killing me to do this after we've grown so fond of Stanford's program and modern resurgence at DC World Headquarters, but Choke Wednesday knows no loyalty. If we're going to bring back the CW feature with some of the worst choke jobs of the 2013 season we can't feasibly ignore a collapse so epic that it inspired a celebratory t-shirt from the other team:

October 12, 2013. Salt Lake City, Utah. Stanford rolls into Rice-Eccles Stadium 5-0 and ranked #5 in the country, hoping to follow 2012's Rose Bowl campaign with another run at a BCS National Championship. On the other sideline we have 3-2 Utah, hoping to prove they belonged in the Pac-12 after posting losing conference records their first two years in the league. Stanford jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening minutes, then I went to a wedding and stopped checking my phone because the rout was on. Right?

Whoops. So much for that national title.

Stanford's loss at Utah was bad enough in its own right, but the divergent paths both teams took over the rest of the season only magnified how inexcusably horrible it was for the Cardinal. Stanford won their next three against UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon (all three were ranked last season), snagged another Pac-12 title and earned another Rose Bowl berth. Utah lost their next five games and finished 2-7 in the conference. Sure, Stanford ended up in the Rose Bowl anyway, but if the Cardinal handled their business against a Utah team that was nauseatingly bad down the stretch they could've been in Pasadena a week later, with a lot more than long stemmed roses to play for.

And we could've written a Choke Wednesday that wouldn't have earned us a boycott in Yuma.

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