I’m nervous for the Cardinal. I know, I just wrote about why everyone should be excited for them a this point in the year, but I can't shake these nerves. Call me a cynic.
The same feeling people get as they walk down dark alleys at night is what I feel when I look at the PAC-12 and remainder of Stanford's schedule.
Let me explain. Stanford was projected to have a decent season this year. By "experts" standards, they are playing above themselves. How true that is remains to be seen. I personally think that by this point in the season, what you see is what you get. I believe in coach Shaw and his ability to bring the best out of his players. I believe in Kevin Hogan's arm. I believe in Austin Hooper, who so far has my vote as the best TE in the conference. I even believe in the running game, which entered the season as a major area of concern.
But I lose my comfort when I look ahead in the schedule and I see UCLA, Washington, and Washington State. I see a team that people are underestimating, another that held USC to 12 points last week, and a Washington State team that just upset Oregon. And down the road comes Oregon. The Ducks are not taking kindly to the national media calling them overrated. They will be out looking to make a statement against a top tier opponent. Although they are missing Marcus Mariota and other weapons on offense, they still are capable of piling on huge numbers quickly.
After that game, there is no break at all for the Cardinal as they will play host to California, another formidable opponent. Here is the last thing that has me a little nervous for Stanford. They are now getting more attention from TV and outlets nationally. These things always affect players' performances. The question is, will it be a negative or positive affect? Time will tell, but I’m hoping this team can remain grounded enough to at least attempt to ignore the media attention and not lose sight on the ultimate goal, and that is winning the PAC-12.