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Stanford football season predictions from the Rule of Tree writing staff

We asked the writers their thoughts on the upcoming Stanford football season

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nerdnation23: Stanford will go 10-2 in 2016. Pundits across the country can bring up the quarterback situation, the new offensive lineman, and the schedule which is brutal on paper but last time I checked, Stanford has one of the best coaches in college football and the best player in college football. If I'm being honest, Stanford will be one of the best 4 teams at the end of the season but will be ranked #5 or worse and will be playing in Pasadena.

charliefoy: Stanford could go undefeated in 2016 but could very well go 8-4; it all depends on Ryan Burns, but I'm confident he'll play well. If he steps up and his passing takes pressure off Christian McCaffery, Stanford has the chance to have their best season yet. Looking at Stanford's schedule, I don't see why Washington has so much hype, UCLA can't touch us, and USC has a similar qb situation. Notre Dame is the only game that makes me nervous. Prediction: 11-1

Ben Leonard: The thing that will separate this season from 2014’s disaster breaking in the offensive line is the man under center: Ryan Burns. Although Stanford will have to replace three offensive linemen once again, history won’t repeat itself with a stronger quarterback. There’s too much turnover overall to see Stanford finally break through and make the College Football Playoff, but another Pac-12 title will be in store for the Cardinal this season.

Record: 11-3

Matt Levin: Stanford may start the year off with some ups and downs offensively with Hogan leaving and Burns coming in at quarterback. But Mccaffrey will be able to carry The offense. Stanford's schedule makes me a little nervous but if Burns can find a groove quickly, i see no reason why Stanford won't finish the year on top of the PAC-12.

Record 10-2

CMolesky: The Cardinal have a strong defense to lean on despite the loss of Blake Martinez. They are deep at the linebacker position which is the center of their defense. With a solid defense there is a lot less pressure on Burns to be a hero and more focus on just not turning the ball over. Final record will be 11-1.

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.

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Stanford vs. Kansas State Predictions:

Nerdnation23: Stanford 31 Kansas State 14. First games can always be tricky and having a new quarterback can be tough but Stanford will continue to learn from last season's Northwestern loss and Stanford's defense will be tough to score on and while Kansas State should be one of the better defenses in the Big 12, it's still a Big 12 defense and will give up enough points for Stanford to score 30+ points for a 14th consecutive game.

charliefoy: Stanford started the year off slow in 2015. They lost to Northwestern without scoring a touchdown and struggled offensively early versus UCF. This year will be a different story. David Shaw and Stanford will score quickly to start the game and never look back. McCaffrey will remind us that he's the best in the game, and Ryan Burns will feel comfortable in his first start. However, Kansas State does have an experienced defense, but still, Stanford was not stopped by much tougher ones last season. Stanford 41. Kansas State 14.