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Stanford is proving it has staying power as a national contender
USC Trojans

Stanford is proving it has staying power as a national contender

Published Dec. 3, 2015 4:41 p.m. ET

Stanford has been one of the nation's most dominant teams for the better part of a decade now; however, in retrospect it's amazing how quickly Stanford has become a national power.

In 2006, Stanford went just 1-11 under former coach Walt Harris. Jim Harbaugh replaced Harris in 2007, though Stanford's rise to the top would only come after a few losing seasons under Harbaugh.

It wasn't just on the football field that Stanford struggled. As Stanford head coach David Shaw recounts, recruits didn't even know who Stanford was.


"I had to make sure I enunciated 'Stanford' because they thought I would say 'Samford.' Or I was talking about Stamford, Connecticut," says Shaw, per ESPN, who was Harbaugh's offensive coordinator before becoming the head coach in 2011.

The Cardinal would go to four straight BCS bowl games under Harbaugh and Shaw from 2010 to 2013. When asked about the success of the program, Shaw said that Stanford has to keep building in order to succeed.

"The biggest challenge is to make sure no one is trying to sustain because you never stop building. You don't sit still," he said, per ESPN.

This season, the No. 7 Cardinal have a chance to lock up their third Pac-12 Championship in five seasons and play in the Rose Bowl once again. Moreover, there's still an outside shot that the team could make the College Football Playoff. 

Shaw no longer has to worry about recruits wondering who Stanford is. In fact, Shaw says that the recruits are reaching out to him before he can even get around to them.

"As far as the football program now, they know we're coming before we're there," Shaw said. "A lot of times they are looking for us."

(h/t ESPN)


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