I heard this comment from a number of alums on our recent trip to Palo Alto. Most of them were referring to football, but a couple were also commenting on our recent U.S. News ranking as one of the most innovative universities in the country. Stanford was #2 in that ranking, we were tied for 13th with Georgia Tech and USC. We have indeed come a long way baby.
The key difference between us and “the tree” (BTW, this is what happens when a faculty committee comes up with a mascot) is that while we hope to win, they expect to win.
Expecting to win because you think it will be easy is arrogance. Expecting to win because you know you are better prepared for the hard challenge ahead is confidence. Having the vision to see where things are going before the competition and executing the right game plan is victory.
Vision, creativity, preparation, and a commitment to execution: The same formula applies to the football team, the faculty, and the student body. It’s how you learn to beat the tree.