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Stanford Cardinal at Washington State Cougars: Rule of Tree Staff Predictions

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The Rule of Tree staff shares their predictions for Stanford at Washington State.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NerdNation23: Stanford 42 Washington State 28. Halloween Night in Pullman in the wet and windy conditions against the 3rd best quarterback statistically in the country sounds "tricky" but I expect Stanford to come up with a treat. Stanford is 43-6 in the Shaw Era when teams throw more than run and Washington State definitely throws the ball. Barring a catastrophe, Stanford will be celebrating on the way home realizing the real trick or treating has yet to begin.

Yonas Yohannes: Stanford 35 Washington State 31. State is a real good team with only loss to a talented Cal squad. Don't expect a blowout from Stanford but a really good physical ball game. Expect State to try to throw the ball all over Stanford's secondary, and as we all know Stanford will run the ball down Washington State's throat.

twitter: @YonasYohannesSB

Sean Levy: Luke Falk is an exceptional QB and this Washington State offense is going to test the Stanford secondary all night long. The defense will have to step up against this strong Air Raid passing game. But Washington State has been relying on their team to outscore their opponents and that simply won't happen to Stanford. Washington State's defense has given up, on average, 37 ppg. If this game is rainy and windy it will be hard for Falk and this WSU offense to outscore Stanford. They would have to rely on their non-existent run game. Meanwhile Stanford is so balanced that they can do either. My prediction for this game is Stanford: 49 vs WSU: 24

Tony Fernandes: Stanford 41-24; Washington State has rebounded from that atrocious opening game loss, much like Stanford, with a strong offensive display. However the Cougs haven't played a defense of the caliber of Stanford yet, and have not fared well against a strong rush attack. With the wet weather, this is going to be a grind em out game. Look for the three headed monster of McCaffrey, Sanders, and Love to post monster numbers, and the Cardinal cruising to another comfortable victory.

twitter: @Tonefernsports

Matt Vassar: Stanford 35, Wazzu 24. Don't buy the hype surrounding this Washington State team. No, they're not one of the best passing offenses in the country, and no, they haven't rebounded from failures of recent seasons to become a premiere program. Yes, Wazzu has five wins and are second-best in the Pac-12 North (behind Stanford), but: 1. they've so far played a soft schedule, and 2. they've experienced a lot of fortune in their games so far. Wazzu's questionable defense is going to have a hard time shutting down either Stanford's rush or passing games, while Stanford will be the toughest defense Wazzu has encountered so far this season. I expect a decisive victory.

To hear why Matt Vassar isn't buying the hype surrounding this Washington State team, click below to listen to his most recent episode of Cardinal CounTree:

twitter: @CardinalVassar

Ben Leonard: Stanford 37, Washington State 24. Don't count me as a believer in Wazzu's "resurgence"—they're still the same old team, but Stanford won't overlook them like they did last year. The Cougars beat Arizona by just three last week, a team that looked like they play on Fridays (Oh, wait they do anyway #ThanksLarryScott) against Stanford. This will be a significant test for Stanford's defense, but pass-happy, air-raid offenses have struggled against Stanford in recent years. Don't worry, the Cardinal will keep on rolling.

twitter @Ben___leonard


Keith Shirts: Points in Pullman. In the month of October, Washington State has had a whopping 96 plays from scrimmage resulting in a gain of 10+ yards which leads the nation during that stretch. That's an average of 24 plays per game resulting in a 10 yards or more. Luke Falk is getting the ball out of his hands exceptionally fast. Meanwhile the Cougars receivers are beating cornerbacks whether they lined up in press and cushion coverage. However, Washington State isn't a threat downfield as they have had just 6 passes go for 30+ yards in October. Stanford's defense has played in the middle of the pack of the NCAA in defending long plays. I expect the Cougars to rack up plenty of first downs on the Cardinal. Furthermore, Washington State's offensive performance in the red zone has been lethal. They rank 14th nationally in red zone efficiency scoring on 90.9% -- 72.7% of which are TDs -- of their trips inside the 20.

On the flip side, Washington State has their hands full handling the Stanford offense. The Cardinal are a threat to score on any down with any field position. Stanford is no slouch in the red zone either ranking 25th in the nation scoring 84.4% of the time. Washington State is 105th in the nation in rush defense equal to UCLA's rush defense. The Cardinal ground attack diced the Bruins for 310 yards. In that game, Christian McCaffrey broke the all-time Cardinal yards in a game record in 3 quarters of play, finishing with 243 yards, and found the end zone 4 times. I think it's going to be a chaotic shootout that comes down to plays that will only make sense because it is Halloween night. Missed PATs, blocked punts, onside kicks, returned 2 point conversions, and more than a few moments of the trick or treat play of Kevin Hogan. In a wild game, take the team with the superior program pedigree and better ability to run the ball. Stanford 52 Washington State 44.