Last weekend, the Stanford Cardinal, led by quarterback Andrew Luck and head coach Jim Harbaugh, trounced the California Golden Bears 48-14 to take rights to the Axe for the next calendar year.

This is the best Bay Area college football team in decades, playing with the best Bay Area quarterback and coach (NFL or college) in decades. It’s like the stars aligned perfectly for the Stanford Cardinal this year, and yet much of the Bay Area has yet to take notice.

Stanford Stadium’s capacity is 50,000, and the attendance was more than 6,000 short against Arizona and more than 13,000 short against Washington State for homecoming. If being ranked No. 6 in the country with a high-octane offense isn’t enough to fill the seats, then what is?

My message to the Bay Area: you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Those who have gotten off their couches and cruised up to the Farm have likely been satisfied. The Cardinal have been unbelievable in five home games this year, scoring an average of 47 points and winning four of those games in blowout fashion. Stanford’s one close encounter came against USC, but Luck led a game-winning scoring drive in the final minutes to send the Stanford faithful home happy. Sunday’s depressing sports performances included the Warriors being spanked by the Lakers, and both the 49ers and the Raiders losing by a combined scored of 56-3.

My suggestion to those who paid big money to watch the 49ers lose 21-0 on Sunday: go to Stanford’s final home game this Saturday and imagine Harbaugh as San Francisco’s coach and Luck as its quarterback. Trust me, it will make you feel better.

Luck, who threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns against Cal, showed why he will be the first quarterback taken in next year’s NFL draft, and Jim Harbaugh showed why he will almost certainly be romanced by several NFL teams. Saturday’s drubbing of the Golden Bears was the culmination of months of Harbaugh nurturing Luck and the Stanford offense, which set a Big Game record with its 48-point explosion.

Harbaugh took over a struggling program and, with a win on Saturday against Oregon State, will take his team to a BCS bowl in his fourth year.
Stanford plays Oregon Sate Saturday, 4:30pm, at Stanford Stadium.