Observations from Saturday:
Stanford's ascension in the Pac-10 this season is almost as stunning as USC's fall. Almost.
The Cardinal doesn't look like any Pac-10 team we're used to seeing. They maul you with two sledgehammer backs: Toby Gerhart and his punishing lead blocker, fullback Owen Marecic, the guy Jim Harbaugh raves about more than anyone. Marecic looks like a '70s pro wrestler, and his team plays like an old-school NFC East team.
A few hours after the Stanford-USC game ended, I got a text from a buddy who coaches in the NFL, saying, "Are you ready to join me in saying they are the most physical team in America?" Yeah, maybe I am. Are they more physical than the four teams atop college football right now? At the very least, if people can get past their biases about how "this is a Pac-10 team, not a Big Ten or SEC team" -- and I know that's a big "if" -- it's not hard to make a case for the Cardinal.
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