David Shaw just shocked the world by winning the Pac-12. Who knew?
Stanford Cardinal football has been a punchline in college football for the last decade, save for some shocking upsets over USC.
This is a school that prides itself on academic restrictions. A school that has a lackluster fanbase devoid of a school mascot—the Tree is its unofficial mascot. Its band was even temporarily banned from playing in Oregon after a parody of a bird caused uproar.
Organized football in the Silicon Valley is looked upon as a novelty. Aren't there more important things in life? Like hugging trees and ridding the planet of plastic bags? Who cares about football?
Stanford head coach David Shaw is just starting to turn heads in his direction and away from the local Starbucks. Unfortunately, that may mean his future lies in a league that's just dying to get a proven winner in a football program dying for prominence in a football-crazy region.
The athletic directors at Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee would be foolish not to consider Shaw as a prime head coach candidate. He's squeaky clean, a proven winner and a really likable guy. He's proved all the naysayers wrong.
Shaw's 2012 Cardinal team lost quarterback Andrew Luck and offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin to the NFL. No way he could keep this team competitive. In fact, former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik had a lot more blue-chippers than Shaw, and he finished 3-9 this season.
Yet Shaw beat the same team twice in six days—beating UCLA 35-17 last Saturday and 27-24 this Friday—and won the Pac-12.
Hell, even Nick Saban can't claim that feat, can he?
David Shaw is the darling of college football, and he'll probably get ignored by a lot of athletic directors because you know...he coaches at Stanford. And he's in the Pac-12. And did we mention he coaches at Stanford?
Someone with a great feel for a true potential Hall of Fame coach will pick up on David Shaw. His record of 22-4 is nothing short of spectacular, and it speaks volumes of his tendency to win big games. His loyalty to Stanford is admirable: Shaw played as wide receiver for the Cardinal and has been on the coaching staff since 2007. Harbaugh chose his staff wisely.
Stanford has two choices: Become a big boy and pay Shaw the big bucks or continue to be an afterthought in the Valley of the Nerds. Or it has a third choice in becoming a stepping stone for future SEC head coaches.
David Shaw is the next Nick Saban. Without the surly attitude, without the dismissive demeanor toward the media and without the control-freak mindset. No disrespect to the most powerful man in college football, of course.
That athletic director who offers and gets Shaw will be coined a genius for "spotting" Shaw, and we will all marvel at another great coach in the SEC.
The cycle never ends.
And now, it just begins in the Bay Area.