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Dream Scenario for Stanford Football in 2017

Looking at the season with Cardinal-colored glasses

Stanford v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

We’ll learn a lot about the Stanford Cardinal football team on September 9th when they play the USC Trojans, but until then, we can only fantasize. Let’s do exactly that.

Imagine if Stanford beats USC. The college football world would be shocked, Sam Darnold wouldn’t be the leading Heisman candidate, and Stanford fans would forget the departures of Christian McCaffrey and Solomon Thomas.

Although I think it’s unlikely the Cardinal return to Palo Alto undefeated, I think it’s possible, and if anybody can beat USC in the PAC-12, it is Stanford. Luckily, they’ll head down to the Coliseum before USC has the chance to find their groove. With a inexperienced offensive line and receivers, the Trojans might be vulnerable to start the year, and Stanford has the skill to take them down. The Cardinal have arguably the best secondary in the country, and one of the best running backs in the PAC-12. Plus, all signs indicate Keller Chryst is one hundred percent healthy.

More importantly, David Shaw will need to find an answer at the defensive line. Maybe, Harrison Phillips blooms into a total beast and dominates the USC line, but more realistically, Stanford will look for another solid players to pair with Phillips. Like I said, the offensive line could be a weakness for the Trojans, and the Cardinal need to put pressure on Sam Darnold in order to have a fighting chance.

If Stanford beats USC, they’ll be a top ten team and have clear sailing for a while.

When’s the last time we lost to UCLA?

Arizona State?

Stanford vs Utah could be a fight but they should manage.

Can we still consider Oregon a good team?

Oregon State?

Then, Stanford heads to Pullman. Washington State blew us out last year and is returning their star quarterback. Offensively, Stanford couldn’t run the ball at all against the Cougars, and this year, Washington State pretty much returns every one on the front seven. If Stanford controls the line, this game could be a shootout.

Mike Leach with the Air Raid offense likes to throw, throw again, and throw some more. Luke Falk picked apart the secondary last season and will tire out the corners again, but Stanford played without Alijah Holder and Quenton Meeks last year. To win this game, Stanford will need to be healthy, but in a dream world, no one gets hurt, so the Cardinal pull away with a victory.

Up next is Washington. Another tough game for Stanford, but honestly, I’m less nervous about this game. Still, this will be a a very hard game to win but definitely doable.

I think the Huskies literally lost every secondary player, and if Keller Chryst can progress into a star, the Cardinal could pass all over the Huskies. However last year, Stanford couldn’t even get a pass off with so many Washington defenders finding their way into backfield, and the offensive line needs to give their quarterback more time to pass. If Chryst and the offensive line improve, Stanford can win this game at home.

After November 10th, the Cardinal get two very winnable rivalry games.

Cal is Cal.

And Notre Dame is one bad season away from firing Brian Kelly.

Stanford would be undefeated at this point and face the Trojans in the PAC-12 Championship for a highly anticipated rematch, but it is tough to beat any team twice in one season especially USC. Would it be too optimistic to say Stanford could beat USC twice in a season?

Ultimate dream scenario: Stanford finishes the year 12-1 or 13-0, and makes the College Football playoff.

A more realistic but still optimistic scenario: Ok, I got a little carried away. Stanford has a really slim chance at that successful of a season. They couldn’t make the national championship or playoff with Andrew Luck or Christian McCaffrey, and they probably can’t do it with this team. Still, this team is really good and has a good chance to win the North.

If this team beats the Washington schools and competes with USC in the PAC-12 Championship, they’ll make a New Year’s Six Bowl, and I’ll be a happy camper.