The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 30, 2012

Stanford, UCLA Pac-12 title rematch is a ‘mind game’

STANFORD, Calif. — This week has been unlike any other in the 20 years Mike Gleeson has been Stanford football’s video director.

Even though there’s a tight turnaround between the Cardinal’s 35-17 victory last Saturday at UCLA and the Pac-12 championship game rematch tonight, Gleeson’s typical task is simplified. All he has to do is add video from the first game and recalculate statistics to the preparation done last week.

“The staff, in a way, they have to shuffle the deck as if it didn’t happen. Or did it?” Gleeson said. “How do you want to look at it? Do you want to change things? Do you want to keep things? Now we’ve got the mind games with UCLA. What did they show? What do we think they showed compared to what they’ll do this week?

“Well, we have 11 other games. So we kind of know what they’re about, just like they know what we’re about. But did they show everything that they could against us? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s the mind game.”

Call last week a dress rehearsal, although even that may be in question. Stanford will wear its black uniforms, helmets and shoes for only the fourth time. UCLA is expected to swap out those dark blue “L.A. Night” jerseys for its traditional white tops, gold pants and gold helmets on the road.

With the league title at stake, what else the eighth-ranked Cardinal (10-2, 8-1) and the No. 17 Bruins (9-3, 6-3) bring out of the closet for what could be a rain-soaked sequel at Stanford Stadium might not be so obvious. They will be the first opponents in major college football matched against each other for a regular-season finale and conference title game in consecutive weeks.

After the opener at the Rose Bowl, booking a return trip to Pasadena for “The Granddaddy of Them All” on Jan. 1 could be tricky. Both staffs lost a day of game planning and practice.

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