For several hours today, a sporting nation's eyes will be on Stanford when the Pacific-12 Conference champion Cardinal plays Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
There are few brighter spots or moments than this one for any football team, in any year.
But this is not a limited engagement on the grand stage for Stanford football, not by any measurement. In big and lasting ways, the Cardinal program has stretched out, grabbed at glory and expanded its influence across the sport.
The 2013 Rose Bowl is not a one-off for Stanford it's a glittery capstone for a program making its mark everywhere you look. Among the highlights:
The Cardinal is one of only three teams along with Oregon and Wisconsin to reach a Bowl Championship Series game in each of the past three seasons.
In the same span, traditional powers Notre Dame and Oklahoma have reached the BCS once apiece, and USC and UCLA have never been to a BCS game.
Stanford produced 2012 NFL No. 1 pick Andrew Luck, who led the Indianapolis Colts into the playoffs this year after finishing 1-15 last season.
"Andrew is so excited right now," Stanford coach David Shaw said at a Rose Bowl news conference in Los Angeles last week.
"It's the one negative about making the playoffs he can't come to the Rose Bowl."
This started in 2007 when Stanford hired now-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who revived the Cardinal and then took his Stanford mojo, and winning style, to the NFL before the 2011 season.
Shaw, Harbaugh's replacement, is a Stanford alumnus, just signed a long-term extension and looks like he's sticking around, while so many other coaches seem ready to leave their programs at the next big offer.
Stanford hasn't won a national title and hasn't won a Heisman Trophy in the past half-decade of rising glory, but it has been close.
Running back Toby Gerhart finished second in the 2009 Heisman race, and Luck finished second in 2010 and 2011.
Those players have gone, Harbaugh has gone, and yes, Stanford (11-2 this season, its first conference title since the 1999 season) might only be getting better.
"I know the nation still doesn't really buy into Stanford football, but sooner or later they will when they realize we don't go away," linebacker Shayne Skov told reporters in Los Angeles.
"Everyone counted us out when Harbaugh left, when Gerhart left and when Andrew Luck left. To keep coming back, that's the style we are. We don't rebuild, we just replace."
That is not the way it used to be for Stanford, of course.
There have been intermittent great seasons, great coaches and great players through the decades, from Jim Plunkett to John Elway to Bill Walsh.
But even then, all the greatness was mixed within long stretches of mediocrity or worse.
But Harbaugh's arrival came with a new university-wide commitment to the football program, including a friendlier climate for admissions.
Stanford decided it wanted the football team to win, and it hired the right men Harbaugh, and then Shaw (Harbaugh's offensive coordinator) to make it happen.
If this continues, Stanford football could make itself into a West Coast version of Mike Krzyzewski's Duke basketball empire, both respected and feared, equally victorious and admired.