It’s only week 2 of college football and the bye week blues have already struck for most Stanford fans. Stanford already has one of the toughest schedules in the country and they won’t even have a bye week in the middle of the season to give them a week off. They get it in week 2 when the players have played in 2 real games since 2016 and are antsy to be out on the field. For coaches and players, there is no such thing as a bye week as you still have prep work and practice. For fans, it can feel like an eternity. And to add to the misery of no game, it came in a week where the majority of games on paper should be blowouts and there isn’t a single ranked versus ranked game. So to try and get you fans through the week, let’s look at how Stanford has fared going into their game pre bye-week and first game after the bye.
Since 2000, Stanford has had 21 bye weeks. In that span, Stanford is 14-8 in their game going into the bye week and 10-11 in their game following the bye. That stat however looks better when you fast forward to this decade as Stanford has only lost one game in their game before the bye which was Oregon in 2014 and have only lost 2 games in their game following a bye which was Utah in 2014 and Washington in 2012. That stat is crucial for Stanford as only one of those losses was at home so that bodes well for Stanford against USC on September 17th.
Speaking of USC, expect USC to get back on track versus Utah State this weekend. USC hasn’t lost their game before Stanford since 2010 and they should get their confidence back. Stanford has a chance to watch that game and compare and contrast how much of the Alabama game was a fluke versus which portions of that game were the real USC and Stanford can hopefully use that in their game on the 17th. One thing that does favor USC and while it has only happened 3 times, Stanford has never beaten USC following a bye week as USC won in 2003, 2004, and 2006. To Stanford’s credit, USC only lost 3 games during those 3 years.
From a conference standpoint, this weekend doesn’t really do much for me but if I had to pick a few games to watch not counting the USC game, I’d choose the Holy War between BYU and Utah to get a better grasp on how Utah should be this season. At night, it’ll be a chance to flip back and forth between Boise State/Washington State and San Diego State/Cal. Both Boise State and SDSU need wins to keep their hopes of potentially playing in a major bowl game or possibly the College Football Playoff. Boise State needs to handle a very talented but sometimes underachieving Washington State squad who is coming off another opening season loss to another FCS team. San Diego State meanwhile plays a Cal team that wants to show that they can score 50 on anybody and not just a Hawaii team that resembles a junior college team.
From a national scene, if there’s one game to check out, it’s going to be Nevada at Notre Dame. Not only is Notre Dame a team Stanford will play in a month, their last 3 games have been heartbreakers going back to last season. Now that Notre Dame has figured out who their quarterback is, let’s see if this team can get back on track and run Nevada out of South Bend or if Notre Dame is just an average team at best.
Bye weeks suck. College football games rarely have bad weeks but this week is one of those weeks. Try your best to get by, no pun intended and just remember at least NFL games start this week and Stanford is a top-ten team. It could always be worse; Stanford was 0-1 going into this week last season.