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The original Stanford Stadium opened in 1921. It became an almost entirely enclosed bowl after expansions in 1927 raised seating to 85,500. The attendance record of 94,000 was set during a 1935 game against California.
Stanford Stadium has hosted many events aside from Cardinal football games, including Super Bowl XIX, men's and women's World Cup soccer matches and even a Herbert Hoover presidential nomination by the Republican Party in 1928.
The stadium was demolished in 2005 and rebuilt as a more intimate, modern facility. The track was eliminated in the new design to help improve sightlines, and officials wanted a smaller seating capacity (50,000) to help increase season ticket sales. As explained in Stanford Magazine, an alumni publication: "The two-tier design creates a smaller 'bowl,' which brings everyone closer to the action. The nearest fans are only 45 feet from the sideline. The 50,000 figure was conceived by Athletics Department officials to create more demand for tickets, and to pump up the home-field advantage that a full house produces." The $100 million project was completed in 10 months and ready in time for the 2006 home opener against Navy.
Stanford did not have an official nickname until Indians was adopted in 1930. The name was dropped in 1972 after Native American students met with school officials to voice concerns that the name was insulting to their culture. Attempts to reestablish the nickname failed. From 1972 until 1981, Stanford's nickname was Cardinals, referring to a school color and not the bird. In 1981, the "s" was dropped from the moniker and school president Donald Kennedy made the nickname Cardinal official.
Stanford does not have an official mascot, but the "Tree" is a member of the Stanford band and represents the Redwood, which is the logo of hometown Palo Alto and is on the university's seal. The Tree has often been voted among the worst mascots in the country and has had a few incidents of disrupting games.
The Stanford Axe, awarded annually to the winner of The Big Game between Stanford and Cal, dates to 1899. Cal stole the axe that year and kept it closely guarded until 1930, when a group of Stanford students, forever known as The Immortal 21, took it back at Cal's annual axe rally. Three years later, the schools' presidents decided to award the iconic chopper to the winner of the annual rivalry game.
Like several other schools, the Stanford football team participates in a pregame walk. The Walk started in the 1950s and the Stanford band leads the team from the Arrillaga Family Sports Center to the stadium approximately 80 minutes before kickoff.
Expectations rise after a program wins three national titles in four years. ESPN college football reporter Chris Low joins Jim Basquil to offer a snapshot of Nick Saban's tenure in Tuscaloosa and where Alabama goes from here.