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Stanford Cardinal

The Stanford Cardinal football program represents Stanford University in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level and is a member of the Pac-12 Conference's North Division. Stanford, the top-ranked academic institution with an FBS program, has a highly successful football tradition. The team is known as the Cardinal, referring to the color, not the bird. The team was known as the Indians from 1930 to 1972 and Cardinals (also referring to the color) from 1972 to 1981.

Stanford has fielded football teams every year since 1892 with a few exceptions. Like a number of other teams from the era concerned with violence in the sport, the school dropped football in favor of rugby from 1906 to 1917. The school also did not field a team in 1918 (due to World War I) or in 1943, 1944, and 1945 (due to World War II).

The school participated in the first-ever Rose Bowl against Michigan in 1902, in which they were routed 49-0. Its annual Big Game against California is the oldest and most storied rivalry in the Pac-12 and western United States. The Cardinal also compete for the Legends Trophy against independent rival Notre Dame.

The program has an all-time record of 594–437–49 for a winning percentage of .573 and has winning series records against all of its Pac-12 North rivals, except for the Washington Huskies, against whom they are 38–41–4.[4] Led by legendary coach Glenn "Pop" Warner, who still has the most wins in Cardinal history, Stanford claimed a National Championship in 1926. The 1940 team went unbeaten and untied after defeating Nebraska 21–13 in the 1941 Rose Bowl, but the team ranked #2 in the final AP poll released before the game was played.

Pop Warner's era predated the AP poll, but Stanford has finished at least one season in the Top 10 in six different decades under seven different coaches: Claude E. Thornhill in 1934, Clark Shaughnessy in 1940, Chuck Taylor in 1951, John Ralston in 1970 and 1971, Bill Walsh in 1992, Jim Harbaugh in 2010, and David Shaw in 2011 and 2012. Stanford's most recent season finish in the top 5 was in 2010 after the #5 Cardinal dismantled ACC Champion Virginia Tech 40–12 in the 2011 Orange Bowl to finish with a school record 12–1. The Cardinal have played in 24 bowl games in their history, including 15 appearances in bowls now comprising the Bowl Championship Series, specifically thirteen Rose Bowls, the 2011 Orange Bowl, and the 2012 Fiesta Bowl.

Quarterback Jim Plunkett is the only Stanford player to win the Heisman Trophy, doing so in 1970. Three Stanford players have finished second in Heisman voting: quarterback John Elway was second to Herschel Walker in 1982; running back Toby Gerhart was second to Mark Ingram in 2009; and quarterback Andrew Luck finished second twice: to Cam Newton in 2010 and to Robert Griffin III in 2011.