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Stanford Cardinal vs. Washington State Cougars: Rule of Tree staff predictions

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We asked the writers their thoughts on the upcoming Stanford football game against Washington State

Stanford v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Charlie Foy: I'm nervous for Saturday's game. The game was extremely close last year, and it will be close again this year. Stanford is probably missing both their starting corners again, and against a strong passing team, the back up corners will have their work cut out for them. However, my bias makes me think Stanford will win. Washington State has a weak defense, and the Stanford offense will bounce back. Stanford wins in a nail bitter: 31-28.

Tony Fernandes: Like the adage says; "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery." The Cardinal will look to rebound this week and prove they are still elite and the class of the PAC-12. They will need to get pressure up front, employ the bend but don't break philosophy, and open up the playbook a bit. See the Cardinal fighting back this week and winning a close battle 28-24.

John Loop: This team was dragged through the mud a week ago, and is likely worse off for it. The offensive line was ghastly, leading to Christian McCaffrey's lowest rushing total since the early stages of his freshman season. Add to that the fact the Cardinal are still missing Holder and Meeks, and you can bet Wazzu will ready and willing to go right at the backup corners for one more week. Defensive containment will again rest with the play in the trenches, which will be a tall task considering Cougars QB Luke Falk is one of college football's least pressured commodities. However, a bounce-back win may be in the fold this week. Cardinal win a close one, 21-16.

Matt Vassar: This game will be a return to form for the Stanford offense. There has been a lot of criticism of Stanford's offense from fans this season, but in its first four games of the season, Stanford has had to face four top 20 defenses (S&P). This changes this Saturday because a great defense Washington State's ain't. This is the same WSU defense that allowed 600+ yards when playing at home against an FCS opponent, Eastern Washington. This is the same WSU defense that let Royce Freeman run for 3 TDs and a whopping 7.3 yards per carry. And this is the same defense that must now face Christian McCaffrey, Michael Rector, Trent Irwin, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. I see Stanford dominating the time of possession, and showing us its offensive firepower. Stanford 35, WSU 28.

Nerdnation23: Stanford comes into this game with the rare feeling of having to prove itself to the national media. While Washington State is nowhere near a championship contender, they are a good team that passes the ball better than Washington and could embarrass Stanford who still has major injury issues. I will still take Stanford being at home to win this game 35-30. Stanford still has the best player in the country on their team and that is my x-factor.

Kyle Fierro So last week was bad in pretty much every way, but it still only counted as one loss. We exit the toughest stretch of our schedule sitting at 3-1, while anticipating a bounce back against a defense that is frankly not in the same class as the previous four. More importantly, if any coach in the country can give his team the right perspective following an ugly loss, its David Shaw. Expect the ground game to re-boot with McCaffrey making a statement comeback after a down week. I foresee long, efficient drives that limit the number of scoring opportunities for Mike Leach's explosive air-raid. The Stanford linebackers' ability to tackle in space will surely be tested by both the Cougar's newfound run game, and quick outside passes. I expect they will be up to the task and that Stanford will be able to limit the damage: Card 35, WSU 21.

Matt Levin After an embarrassing loss last week, Stanford will look to get back on track against Washington State. Look for the offense to greatly improve from last week. The offensive line will give McCaffrey lots of running lanes and give Burns a lot more time to throw the ball. Burns will get the ball out of his hands faster and make more accurate throws. McCaffrey will return to hiesman form after not being a factor last week. The defense still has me worried. They were terrible last week with both starting cornerbacks Holder and Meeks missing the game due to injury. Well Holder and Meeks are still out, and I do not know how they will fair against Washington State's offense. However, even with Stanford's defensive problems, the offense will do just enough to get the win. Stanford wins 24-21.

CNickelberry With Stanford’s loss to one of the hottest teams in college football last week it's safe to say that we expect Stanford to bounce back in high fashion. David Shaw is a top 5 coach in college football and Christian McCaffrey is top 5 if not top 3 player in college football. Adjustments will be made for McCaffrey to get him the ball multiple ways. I believe the defense will bend but not break. Ultimately this comes down to Christian McCaffrey performance I say Stanford wins 34-24.

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