Fear the Tree: Sellout expected

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- There may be a strange new Stanford strength that Washington must deal with tonight.

Home-field advantage.

One of the oft-noted oddities during Stanford's rise to the nation's elite was a lack of crowd support. It often annoyed Stanford fans when it was observed, but very few teams in the nation's top 10 don't sell out their stadiums.

But things are changing on the Farm. The Cardinal expects its third sellout -- 50,000 -- of this season for the Washington game, though the announced Colorado sellout was a bit dubious.

That means noise will be a factor for the Washington offense and quarterback Keith Price. That's not so much about being intimidated -- Price has already started at Oregon, Nebraska and Utah in his career -- but about limiting communication. It's a nuisance that limits an offense's options.

And Stanford will have that advantage, which it didn't last year.