Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Stanford and Wisconsin are heading into the Rose Bowl.
In Harbaugh's second season (2008), the team went 5-7 and did not go to a bowl game. In Shaw's second season (2012), the Rose Bowl will be the prize after a great 11-2 campaign.
In Andrew Luck's first season (2009), he started every regular season game and led the team to an 8-5 record. Only two opponents were in the top 20, and Stanford beat them both: a 51-42 win over No. 7 Oregon, and a 55-21 win over No. 11 USC.
Overall it was a pretty good season, but not as impressive as Hogan's 4-0 record in 2012 against four Top 20 teams.
Luck did not get to play in the Sun Bowl at the end of the 2009 season; he had broken his index finger in the last game against Notre Dame. He can't be held responsible for the 31-27 loss to Oklahoma. He did play in bowl games the next two years: a 40-12 thumping over Virgina Tech in the Orange Bowl, and a tough 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in last year's Fiesta Bowl.
Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming Rose Bowl, Hogan's overall record as a starter in his first year will be better than Luck's had been in his first year, and Hogan has a shot at tying the number of bowl game wins notched by Luck.
With the Rose Bowl looming, Shaw and Hogan have a chance to put an exclamation point on the season. A win over Wisconsin would mean many things including:
- - A 12-win season for Stanford for just the third time in school history (in addition to 2011, it also happened in 1908)
- - Redemption for Stanford to atone for the 17-9 loss to Wisconsin in the 2000 Rose Bowl
- - Recognition for Hogan as the first Stanford quarterback to win a Rose Bowl since Don Bunce (and the "Thunder Chicken" defense) beat Michigan 13-12 in 1972
- - A tie for Hogan with Luck for bowl game wins as a starter
To be sure, Harbaugh and Luck left a meaningful mark on the Stanford football program.
However, neither Harbaugh or Luck ever got to the Rose Bowl. Shaw and Hogan will be there soon, upstaging their impressive predecessors in the the grandaddy of them all.
This is a great story in the making.
Much has been achieved. Much more is yet to come.
With a Rose Bowl victory, Shaw and Hogan will be in rare company, indeed.