Season wrap: Stanford

Just how far has Stanford come?

After winning its second straight Pac-12 title and advancing to a third consecutive Rose Bowl, there was still a large faction of the fan base that thought the Cardinal underachieved.

While they probably should have beaten Utah and USC, under no scenario should a conference title and a Rose Bowl berth ever be looked upon as anything but successful on the Farm.

Stanford ended the BCS era as the only team to appear in BCS bowls the last four seasons.

You can read our graded review of Stanford here.

Offensive MVP: RB Tyler Gaffney. Gaffney finished the season seventh nationally with 1,709 yards rushing after a one-year hiatus to pursue professional baseball. He was given the program's Irving S. Zeimer Memorial Award as the team MVP. Gaffney's rushing total was the second-highest in school history, behind Toby Gerhart's 1,871 in 2009.

Defensive MVP: LB Trent Murphy. An ESPN.com first-team All-American, Murphy led the nation in sacks (15) and tackles-for-loss yardage (147). The outside linebacker was twice named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and led a defense that finished the season ranked 10th nationally in scoring.

Best moment: Beating then-No. 3 Oregon 26-20 on Nov. 7. A case can be made for its win over Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship, but without the Thursday night win against Oregon, a Pac-12 title wouldn't have been possible. Beating the Ducks also carried more national significance and ended with the student body rushing the field at Stanford Stadium.

Worst moment: Losing 27-21 at Utah on Oct. 12. The Utes finished conference play 2-7 and 5-7 overall and joined Colorado and Cal as the only Pac-12 teams not to play in a bowl. The previous occasion the Cardinal lost to a team that finished with a losing record was in 2009, when they lost at Wake Forest (the Demon Deacons finished 5-7).