Game by game, speed previews for the 2017 Cardinal season, with predictions for every game and a season record prediction.
Rice in Sydney, Australia on Aug. 26 -
This should be an easy one to call, with the Cardinal running up the score on the Owls. One potential area of concern is Keller Chryst’s knee injury. So far it sounds like every is good but it will be good to see how well he is doing in a live game. The Rice defensive front probably wont stop Bryce Love much and should have every opportunity to showcase his brilliance.
Stanford Wins 45-27 - Record: 1-0
At USC, Sep. 9 -
This could be one of those games that tests what kind of team the 2017 Cardinal will be after losing big names like Christian McCaffrey and Solomon Thomas. Stanford will be an underdog here and the Cardinal may very well lose this game against Heisman favorite Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans but how well they compete with the Trojans and how they respond after a loss will tell us an awful lot about this team. Stanford was able to beat the bad USC team that started out 1-3 last year but Darnold makes this team 15 to 20 points better. We will learn a lot about how mentally tough Stanford is, when they hit the road and have to try and keep this game close, then bounce back next week for another road game. The upside for the Cardinal is that USC has lost key players on both sides of the ball like Adoree Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Concerns along the offensive line and at WR for the Trojans also play to Stanford’s strengths. They keep this one tighter then most will anticipate.
Stanford loses 24-33 - Record: 1-1
At San Diego State, Sep. 16 -
Th is will be the third consecutive game on the road for the Cardinal which can certainly be taxing. Softening that blow, however, is the pair of out of conference teams Stanford plays. Donnel Pumphrey had a monster season for the Aztecs last season and was a big reason they won 11 games. Now he is gone and Stanford is tougher than the Mountain West team that the Aztecs usually play. Once again Stanford will have a clear talent advantage securing the victory.
Stanford wins 30-17 - Record: 2-1
Vs. UCLA, Sep. 23 -
The first game at home and the Cardinal take on one of their in-state rivals. Josh Rosen spent a lot of time last season sidelined with a pinched nerve in his back, a very scary injury for someone coming back to a contact sport. However, he seems to be back to 100 percent and a dangerous quarterback. Rosen makes the match up very interesting but the lack of an established running game is as present a problem this season as last season. The lack of versatility in the offense is going to hamper Rosen’s game and give the Cardinal defense a serious edge with the personnel they can expect to play against the Bruins.
Stanford wins 28-17 - Record: 3-1
Vs. Arizona State, Sep. 30 -
The Sun Devils always have an interesting collection of talent that make the first half of football games interesting and filled with kick returns and long passing touchdowns. Then the poor defense and inconsistent offense catch up to the team, which leads to dismal second half play. The Cardinal need only weather the storm and play sound, fundamental football. Look for Love to play a big role in this game as well.
Stanford wins 31-20 - Record: 4-1
At Utah, Oct. 7 -
Utah has a always had a solid defense, but their offense has slowly declined over the years, leaving them an unstable contender for the PAC-12 crown last season and this season. The defense should give Chryst some real trouble because of their ability to bottle up the running game, putting the game squarely on Chryst’s shoulders. While USC’s defense will be tough, the Utah squad will put the most pressure on Chryst to preform. Love’s catching ability will be a big difference in the game against the Utes’ Front. Turnovers and stops will be the thing Stanford needs to get the leg up, which they should be able to do against an offense that ranked 64th in efficiency and gave away 25 turnovers last season.
Stanford wins 28-26 - Record: 5-1
Vs. Oregon, Oct. 13 -
These used to be some of the best games in the country, back in the days of Chip Kelly. But now the Ducks defense is a joke and despite having a 15th ranked total offense, they continually shot themselves in the foot with turnovers, committing 15 last season. Where the offense and Chryst are, as far as a developed unit only game testing will tell, but the offense that was less than consistent last year still trounced this team in the 52 point route. The Cardinal should be able to handle the Ducks.
Stanford Wins 52-38 - Record: 6-1
At Oregon State, Oct. 26 -
The Beavers defense has been developing young talent over the last two season and could actually be on the up swing. This is another PAC-12 team with talent on both sides of the ball, but need a solid quarterback and more complete team. Stanford’s defense will handle Oregon State just like last season.
Stanford wins 28-16 - Record: 7-1
At Washington State, Nov. 4 -
Despite key injuries, Stanford looked ill prepared for either Washington team and found themselves getting smoked in both meetings a season ago. The matches should be less lopsided this season, however, the problem that Luke Falk and the Cougar offense presents is still there. The 18th ranked total offense of Washington State is going to continue to give the Stanford defense fits because of the speed at which they get the ball out of Falk’s hands, neutralizing the pass rush. Stanford’s defense will not be able to keep their offense in the game.
Stanford loses 20-30 - Record: 7-2
Vs. Washington, Nov. 10 -
Stanford should have less trouble against a defense that sent nearly half the starting defense to the NFL last year . But the problem against the Huskies is the same as the one Stanford faces in the Cougars, with the Starting quarterback (Jake Browning) being a real problem for the Cardinal. If they could not rattle him with Thomas on the defensive line last year, they probably will not get to him this year.
Stanford loses 21-28 - Record: 7-3
Vs. California, Nov. 18 -
This is just what the Cardinal need after coming off back to back loses, is a weak Cal team that just lost their best player from last season in quarterback Davis Webb. The Cardinal front seven will pour through the weak offensive line of Cal that allowed 16 on a quarterback that got rid of the ball quickly. On defense Cal ranked 125th last season, giving up 68 touchdowns and 518.3 yards per game, which was still better than both Oregon and Arizona State’s numbers.
Stanford wins 34-14 - Record: 8-3
Vs. Notre Dame, Nov. 25 -
The Cardinal will end on a pair of easy games, with the Irish and Golden Bears both down. The Irish have not had a good defense since the Alabama tide rolled over them in 2012. The Stanford running attack will be critical in this game, much like last season, which is when Love rushed for over 120 yards. Stanford can end on a pair of wins to get into a spot for an entertaining bowl game.
Stanford wins 33-21 - Record: 9-3
While this team is a solid squad, they are not back in the top tier of the conference with USC or Washington. This team needs a really good quarterback and some more talent at the skill positions. But this is not a year that sees them regress terribly. Nine wins will be a quietly solid year for the Cardinal.