1. The general torpor of Stanford's offense
You want the bad news or the good news first? Well, since there's more of it, I'll start with the bad news.
As of this moment, the Stanford offense is:
- 91st in Scoring Offense
- 96th in Total Offense
- 89th in Rushing Offense
- 69th in Passing Offense
- 69th in Sacks Allowed
Stanford is also 73rd in penalties and 106th in turnover margin. So there are a lot of issues to cover - far too many to suggest that one game against Wazzu will solve them all. However, if Stanford can at least do a couple of things correctly, it'll be able to have something to build on while it begins the process of finding a non-awful offense.
Altogether, the standard litany of questions that we've charted the last few weeks will all apply today: What's the play-calling gameplan look like? Can Kevin Hogan play more sharply than the last few weeks? Will a running back emerge from the pack? Will David Shaw give a running back enough carries to allow one to emerge from the pack? Will the offensive line play better this week? Is Ty Montgomery going to touch the ball enough? Will Christian McCaffrey be involved? Will Stanford throw the deep ball today? Feel free to take this time now to offer your own questions.
Oh, and I almost forgot the good news: All five seasons of Breaking Bad are available to be streamed on Netflix or Apple TV.
2. Holding back the Air Raid
What the Washington State offense has done so far this year has been laugh-out-loud ridiculous.
Connor Halliday has thrown for 3,052 yards so far this season, almost 900 more than the next closest passer. For comparison's sake. Kevin Hogan threw for 2,630 yards last year. Halliday's averaging 503 yards a game - 70 more than the next guy - and he's already managed 26 touchdown passes. Halliday threw for 734 yards and 6 touchdowns last week against Cal. That's all just absolutely insane.
It's safe to say that the Cougars haven't played a pass defense quite as good as Stanford's so far this season, but it will still be an important challenge for the Cardinal. Washington State will stress the defense in a different fashion than any other team up to this point in the schedule and will possibly allow the Cardinal to address some flaws before it faces the explosive passing offenses that litter the second half of the schedule.
While Stanford generally has done a tremendous job stopping these air raid attacks - Cal and Washington State combined for a meager 30 points against Stanford last season - the Cardinal still have to stop the most potent passing offense in college football.
3. Who's gonna put the team on their back?
This is a pretty important point in the season for Stanford. It obviously can't afford any more losses if it wants to win the Pac-12. It obviously can't afford to lose at home. And it obviously can't afford a foundation-shaking loss to Washington State.
I know this is a sportswriter cliche, but I'd like to see somebody step up and play like a video game boss today. I want someone to put the team on their back and make everybody raise their level of play as a consequence. I don't think it matters who it is. It'd be nice if it was on the offensive side. Ty Montgomery could have one of those games where he just dominates - Wazzu just fired their special teams coordinator after giving up two kickoff return touchdowns last week - so he might be primed for a stupidly large game.
One way or another, I want to see this team respond for each other tonight.
So much fake hype/passion/leadership in sports. Don't listen to what the announcers say, rather watch how players react to one another— AJ Tarpley (@AJTarpley) September 21, 2014