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Four (Not So) Preposterous Predictions: Stanford vs. Washington State

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

1. Chase Thomas will have at least four sacks.

Why it's preposterous: Thomas' single-game high in sacks is 2.5. The senior linebacker has done that twice, most recently against Duke, but 2.5 is not 4. By the time Thomas recorded 3 sacks, the Cougars would probably realize they had a real problem on their hands and keep a running back in pass protection with the sole responsibility of preventing CT from getting to the QB. Four sacks against the Cougars would nearly double Thomas' team-leading total of five through five games. He has five tackles and one sack in two career games against the Cougars.

Why it could happen: Washington State has allowed 12 sacks in five games, which ranks 86th in the country. (By comparison, Stanford has allowed two.) Riall Johnson set Stanford's single-game sack record with 5 in 1999. The Cardinal's opponent that day? Washington State. Dun dun dun...

2. Stanford will rush for at least 300 yards.

Why it's preposterous: Stanford has averaged 37 carries and 31 pass attempts per game this season and that sort of balance should continue against Washington State. With a similar number of attempts against the Cougars, the Cardinal would need to average more than 8 yards per carry against a defense that has held opponents to fewer than 4 yards per carry.

Why it could happen: Stanford went over 300 yards against Wake Forest last season and they had 242 at Arizona earlier this year. With Tyler Gaffney getting more looks in the WildCard/Sequoia formation, David Shaw is finding creative ways to take advantage of the Cardinal's improving offensive line and to keep defenses guessing. It's not impossible to imagine a scenario where Stanford jumps out to a big early lead and goes run-heavy in the second half, getting to 300 with 150 yards from Taylor, 50 yards apiece from Gaffney and Wilkerson, and another 50 from Luck/Stewart/Seale/Montgomery/Nottingham.

3. Stanford will hold Washington State to fewer than 250 yards of total offense.

Why it's preposterous: The Cougars' offense has been quite good, albeit against a weak slate of defenses. Check out Washington State's yardage totals this year: 590, 610, 419, 455, 389. Not too shabby. Stanford held San Jose State and Colorado to 237 yards and 264 yards, respectively, but those offenses aren't the same caliber as Paul Wulff's. Washington State lit up Stanford's defense for 298 passing yards in a surprisingly competitive game in Palo Alto last year. Marquess Wilson, who had 150 yards receiving against the Cardinal, is one of the best receivers in the Pac-12 and will be a huge test for the Stanford secondary.

Why it could happen: Here are the current ranks of the four FBS defenses that Washington State has faced this year: 113, 81, 64, 90. Here's Stanford's rank: 19. Most of Washington State's offensive success has been on the arm of redshirt senior Marshall Lobbestael, who took over the offense when starter Jeff Tuel suffered a broken clavicle in the season opener against Idaho State. Tuel has been cleared to play, but it's unclear whether he'll reclaim the starting role on Saturday. Tuel had success against Stanford last year, but he could be rusty. Lobbestael hasn't been tested by a defense like the Cardinal's this season.

4. Stanford will score at least 60 points.

Why it's preposterous: Stanford has eclipsed 60 points in a road game exactly twice in school history. The last time was in 1981, when the Cardinal blitzed Oregon State, 63-9. The other time was against Washington State in 1971. (At least the Cougars managed 19 points of their own.) Washington State's defense has been pretty good thus far. The Cougars rank 51st in the country and third in the Pac-12 in total defense, and have allowed 25 points per game.

Why it could happen: Whether the team will admit it or not, the Cardinal needs to start accruing some BCS style points. Stanford will continue to play and win with class -- don't expect Luck to air it out with a four-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter -- but hanging 60 on the road against a much improved conference foe would certainly help the perception of a team that has fallen two spots in the AP poll over the last 3 weeks.