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“TonyFernandesSports: This season depends upon two major factors for the Stanford Cardinal heading into play this Friday: the play of their new signal caller under center, and if the offensive line can play up to their potential. Burns has a lot of talent, but has never been tested at this level under the bright lights. Will he fade like Josh Nunes or rise like Kevin Hogan. This will be a major reason for the Cardinal success or lack this season. Also, the Cardinal have 4 new starters along the offensive line; can they gel to continue the tradition of maulers along the line, or will they cause Junior Christian McCaffrey to miss out on another Heisman campaign? The Defense for the Cardinal looks solid, and deep across the board. Look for the Cardinal to have some challenges this year, and look for a solid 9-3 record this year as they have the toughest road schedule in the FBS.
randalthor: I think Stanford's defense is going to surprise people this year. A talented and experienced secondary combined with new and returning skill in the linebacker corps, plus a promising but generally inexperienced line is going to form a unit that will challenge Washington for the conference's best. The real question will be how well and how quickly the offensive line comes together. If the o-line gels quickly, watch out: Stanford could be a playoff contender. That said, Stanford faces an extremely tough schedule. There are a lot of games Stanford might reasonably lose: USC, UCLA, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Notre Dame. But the homer in me can devise reasons why Stanford should win all those games: USC's front seven will be unable to stop Stanford's running backs and tight ends; UCLA's defense was gutted by the draft; despite all its returning talent, Washington was a pushover last year (yeah, we get them on the road, but our defense will be better, and we shut them down last year); we get Washington State at home, and our defense will be better; Oregon only barely beat us with some incredible throws from Vernon Adams, and they won't have him; and Notre Dame should take a step back. Eesh. That said, Stanford has proved it can lose to mediocre teams as well as good ones, so where do we land? I'm guessing Stanford loses two of those games, to finish 10-2 and again be on the cusp of playoff contention.”