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November 21, 2012

Notebook: Hoops Parallels

Former Stanford student-athletes Nneka Ogwumike and Andrew Luck have always had a lot in common. Texas natives, standout players for elite teams on the Farm, then top picks in the draft of their respective sports (women's basketball and football) in the same year. The list goes on.

In turn, it's easy to draw parallels between the Stanford women's basketball and football teams this year.

"The women's basketball team lost one of the best players in the country, but they want to prove that they're a good team," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We can say that we fall into that category also, whereas we lost the best player in the country in our sport, and we also want to prove to ourselves as well as to other people that we're a good football team that can compete against anybody."

Both programs came up with eerily similar wins over the weekend with the football team's upset of No. 1 Oregon and women's basketball team's upset of No. 1 Baylor. Both teams carried the longest winning streaks in the nation.

With the Stanford football team enjoying "movie night" on Friday night, Shaw let the players know about their peers big win.

The room erupted into cheers and Shaw delivered a simple message: "OK, now it's out turn."

Sure enough, the next day it was their turn with a 17-14 OT win against Oregon at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

Skov still not 100 percent: Shaw said LB Shayne Skov played his best game of the season against Oregon, but that he's still not at the level he was before tearing his ACL and MCL last season.

"He's completely healthy and there are no limitations," Shaw. "He can do everything, but just watching you can see that the last thing that comes back is the explosion.

"It's close to being back, but it's not where it was before."

Shaw anticipated it should take two full years for a player to recover from an injury of that magnitude and pointed out that Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's return just doesn't make sense.

Ertz a finalist for Mackey: Redshirt junior TE Zach Ertz was named one of three finalists for the Mackey Award, given to the nation's best tight end.

He leads the Cardinal with 58 receptions, 747 yards and six TD. The other two finalists are Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

When the initial watch list came out, Ertz was not included. This prompted Shaw to have a chat with a representative from the award.

"Let's put in this way, I had a very cordial communication with the Mackey people and they've assured me that this is just a preliminary watch list and that of course they'll be watching both of our guys," Shaw said. "He's on their unofficial watch list, I guess."

Shaw reacts to Tedford's firing: As the son of a coach, Shaw is particularly sensitive to news of the dismissal of other coaches and that is no different for Stanford's biggest rival.

"We've gotten to know each other the last couple years. I have a lot of respect for him as a football coach, but more importantly as a person," Shaw said. "We got to know each other, our wives got to know each other and it's always a sad day (when a coach gets fired)."

Pac-12 bowl moves closer to Stanford: The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which has been played in San Francisco since 2002, officially announced Tuesday that is will move to Santa Clara when the new San Francisco 49ers stadium opens in 2014.

The new digs are about 25 minutes away from Stanford Stadium.

"This is an exciting, historic moment for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl," the bowl's co founder Gary Cavalli said. "Moving to the 49ers' new state of the art stadium in Santa Clara is an opportunity to take our Bowl to the next level. The college football landscape has changed dramatically in recent months with a revamped post-season structure and ongoing conference realignment.

"This beautiful new venue will give us the ability to attract better teams, secure additional sponsorship support, and grow the game."

A Pac-12, or former Pac-10, school has played in the game in five of the last six years, but Stanford has never taken part.


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