A calmness before the storm


By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Sports Online

There's an odd calmness in the air two hours before game time between Pac-12 South Division football champ UCLA (9-3) and Pac-12 North Division champ Stanford (10-2).

The Stanford band can be heard playing off in the distance but there's little else going on outside the stadium.

No one is tailgating, perhaps because it is Friday and not a weekend. Most of the dirt parking lots are flooded too, stranding would-be party people.

There's more blue than usual, the official color of the Pac-12. Banners stretch across the facade of the lower stands and Pac-12 logos are painted on the field.

The winner of this game goes directly to the Rose Bowl. The loser will be thrown into the bowl-eligible pool, its fate to be announced Sunday night.

Menlo-Atherton High grad Sam Knapp gets a second chance to play in his final home game. The receiver has been a member of the Cardinal all four years.

Entering the game he has one career reception, a seven-yard gain against Wake Forest two years go.

Palo Alto grad Kevin Anderson is completing his second year in the program. The recipient of last year's Greg Piers Team Award for outstanding contributions to Stanford's scout team has appeared in all 12 games this season.

An outside linebacker, Anderson has recorded two of Stanford's 53 sacks, including one against UCLA last week in Pasadena.

Sacred Heart Prep grad Brian Moran, a sophomore offensive lineman, waits his turn.

Menlo School grad Jerry Rice, Jr. is a wide receiver for the Bruins. The junior has appeared in seven games and has seven receptions for 52 yards.

The Stanford Video Production crew released its final episode of "How We Do It," which can be seen here. The title: "Come Early, Celebrate Late."

Feel free to add comments here throughout the day. How do think Stanford will do? Are you a UCLA fan? Perhaps you're a fan of Knapp, Anderson, Moran or Rice, Jr.? How does the game look and feel from where you are following it?

Also on the schedule today:

Swimming: at Ohio State Invitational, all day

NCAA volleyball first round: Loyola Marymount vs. Western Kentucky, 5:30 p.m.; Jackson State vs. Stanford, 8 p.m. in Maples Pavilion

Women's basketball: at UC Davis, 7 p.m.

NCAA Women's Soccer Final Four: Stanford vs. North Carolina at San Diego, 8 p.m.

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