What They're Saying: Stanford 27, UCLA 24

Historic games, moments link generations of fans

What can you write at a moment like this? Whenever I've received big, positive news in my life, it doesn't sink in right away.

If something bad happens, I feel it immediately. After all, they say fear is the most powerful human emotion.

But it often takes longer to process the consequences of good news.

Sure, I was happy the day I got into Stanford, but 10 years later, having gone to Stanford, having met some of my best friends there, having seen the institution shape my life, my career, my goals – well I'm a lot happier now that I understand how instrumental the University would be in my life.

Same idea with this Rose Bowl berth. By all means, celebrate tonight, let out a silent (or not-so-silent) war cry as you're reading this, and don't let up until we send Nebraska packing back to the cornfields.

Still, I'll bet most Stanford fans today haven't seen their Cardinal play in a Rose Bowl, the world's most historic college football game. They aren't going to fully understand the magnitude of today's win until they're nursing their New Year's hangovers, watching the floats go up and down Pasadena streets and realizing the Cardinal are about to participate in a game that links Woody Hayes to Jim Plunkett, Archie Griffin to John McKay, Keith Jackson to O.J. Simpson, Charles White to Keyshawn Johnson and Vince Young.

Even then, they might not understand the magnitude of the win until they watch Stanford, perhaps in another Rose Bowl, generations later with a spouse, with kids, with a family, with one of those little buttons with your class year they give out at the alumni reunions.

Even then, fans might not understand what this win means for another generation yet, until it comes time to reflect in earnest upon our memories. With any luck, many of us will go onto accomplish great things and have much for which to be proud in our lives. Still, if current Booties are any guide, when we sit back and think through the decades, we might not remember the day our Fortune 500 company went public or how we felt when we got that big promotion or professional degree, or heck, even our wedding days.

But where we were when Pritchard beat %%MATCH_8%%? Or Nunes beat the Trojans? Or Harbaugh got under Pete Carroll's skin? Or the way the ball looked coming off Andrew Luck's hand? Or, now, where we were when Stanford completed its worst-to-first transformation in six quick years with a heart-rending, Rose-Bowl clinching home victory?

How could we forget?

So for the lifelong Stanford faithful who have fanatically followed the team all these decades, from Walsh to Walsh to Walt, from one-loss seasons to one-win seasons to one-loss seasons and, now, from Rose Bowl to Rose Bowl, this win is for you. You, better than the rest of us, understand what a Rose Bowl berth means.

One day, decades later, when we look back on this game and smile, the rest of us will realize what this game means to us too.

That's our take. Here are takes from around the country.


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