Stanford motivated by history

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Sometimes you find college football coaches who want to leave the history of their football programs in the past. Others embrace it.

Count Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh as one who has talked to his players about the significance of playing in the Discover Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech Monday night, and just where a win would rank this season in the history books.

"We keep telling them things like that, because that's important for them to know as they make decisions, even in the course of this week," Harbaugh said Sunday during his final pregame news conference.

"Keeping that in mind, what's the most important thing, what's important now, and that's getting ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally ready to play this football game and to be a chance to be a part of college football history.

"They know that. They know the chairs that they're sitting in when they play in a game like the Orange Bowl, to be an Orange Bowl champion, that that puts you in a position to make college football history. So our players are aware of that. They understand that, yeah, it was great going from 1-11 to 11-1 like they did this year, but 12-1 sounds a lot better. Some of our players have even brought that up.

"But I'll hammer that home again to them."

One part of history Harbaugh says he wasn't aware of until a reporter mentioned it during the news conference: the chance to be Stanford's first top-5 team since 1940.

No doubt Harbaugh will make mention of that to his players, too.