Four (Not So) Preposterous Predictions: Stanford vs. Colorado

Might Andrew Luck throw six TD passes against Colorado?

Here are four things that probably won't (but maybe will) happen Saturday at Stanford Stadium. Vote for the least preposterous prediction and feel free to leave your own in the comments section. 

1. Andrew Luck will throw at least 6 touchdown passes. 

Why it's preposterous: Luck has thrown four touchdown passes in a single game five times, most recently against Duke, but he's never thrown for more than that. Stanford doesn't figure to abandon its balanced offense against the Buffaloes, so Stepfan Taylor is guaranteed to handle a good share of the offensive load. The Cardinal may also be in position to take its foot off the gas -- and substitute Brett Nottingham for Luck -- in the fourth quarter. John Elway is the only Stanford quarterback to throw six touchdowns in a game. Elway, who threw five touchdowns on two other occasions, did it against Oregon State in 1980.

Why it could happen: Luck could probably throw 8 touchdown passes if coach Shaw let him call all of the plays. Colorado may rank second in the Pac-12 in pass defense, but statistics can be deceiving. The Colorado secondary was banged up before starting cornerback Patrick Orms was suspended along with four other defensive players earlier this week.

2. Chris Owusu will have at least 175 yards receiving. 

Why it's preposterous: Owusu has cracked 100 yards only once this season, as Luck has found better success spreading the ball among his three tight ends, especially Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener. The senior has only eight catches over his last two games after having seven in each of Stanford's first two games.

Why it could happen: In addition to the reasons outlined in the first (NS)PP, Owusu is always a threat to have a big game. Hampered by injuries, he had only one 100-yard receiving game last season, but it was a doozy. The senior caught nine balls for 165 yards and a score in Stanford's rout of Arizona.

3. Colorado WR Paul Richardson will have 3 or fewer catches.

Why it's preposterous: The sophomore from Gardena is Colorado's best playmaker and the favorite target of quarterback Tyler Hansen. Richardson had 11 catches for 284 yards in Colorado's overtime loss to Cal, and while he's averaged "only" five catches per game over the last 3 weeks, he figures to be a key part of the Buffs' gameplan on Saturday. The Stanford passing defense hasn't given up many big plays, but they've allowed teams to dink and dunk their way down the field at points this season.

Why it could happen: Hansen has struggled with his accuracy this season and he hasn't seen a pass rush quite like Stanford's. Hansen may look for his running back, Rodney Stewart, out of the backfield even more often than usual.

4. Stanford will intercept at least three passes.

Why it's preposterous: This is a repeat from last week, which is sort of a cop out, but it will remain a preposterous prediction until Stanford finally records a pick. The Cardinal remains one of three FBS teams without an interception. Utah State and Akron are the other two. Colorado only has two, but that's still more than zero. Hansen boasts an 11-2 TD-INT ratio.

Why it could happen: Impressive ratio be damned, Hansen is completing only 57% of his passes and he'll likely need to air it out a lot on Saturday. Shaw, for one, thinks it's preposterous that Stanford doesn't have a pick yet. Here's what he said earlier this week: "Our DBs work on ball skills in pre-practice, post-practice, during individuals. We just haven’t gotten one. I told the defense [Monday] we’d like to get one, but we have to get them within the scheme. We don’t need guys going out there doing their own thing just because they are trying to get an interception. We have to play the scheme and when they come, we have to try and catch them." Three of them would be nice.

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