In a world that is both beautiful and ugly at all times, my reckless optimism has often been confused with unbridled madness. Along those lines, in spite of another brutal PAC-12 schedule ahead, Stanford’s proven talent on the offensive side cannot be disputed. Subsequently, here are a handful of reasons why they will carry this team to the promised land in ’19, which happens to be in Pasadena by the way.
First: Bryce Love. What can I say, the young man is so good at playing football, that he wants to be a doctor. Seriously though, between his performance last year on one leg (2,118 yards rushing / 8.1 yards per carry / 19 TD’s), and Christian McCaffrey’s on two back in ’15-’16 (3,864 all-purpose yards *most all-time in a single season / 2,019 rushing yards / 6.0 yards per carry / 645 recieving yards / 15 TD’s), have two players ever been more robbed of a Heisman trophy? Well, throw Marshall Faulk on that esteemed list and we can call it ‘The Holy Trinity’ of Heisman hoaxes. In any case, look for a healthy Bryce Love to thrive behind his massive and talented offensive line this fall.
Second: In perfect transition, the next justification for my prediction is that impressive O-Line unit, known as ‘The Tunnel Workers Union’ on The Farm. Stanford has become a factory for NFL offensive linemen over the past decade, and this year’s group is no different. Junior guard Nate Herbig (6’5” / 355 lbs) is a monster, and was 1st Team All-PAC 12 last season, while senior Jesse Burkett (6’4” / 314 lbs) is widely heralded as the best center in the PAC-12. In addition, sophomore tackle Walker Little (6’8” / 321 lbs) and sophomore guard Foster Sarell (6’8” / 321 lbs) are elite talents respectively, and should both be recognized as All-Americans before their time at the university is done. With senior tackle A.T. Hall (6’6” / 311 lbs) also back in the mix, all five starters return from last year for the Cardinal, and all are pro talents. Without question, they are the strongest and most experienced offensive line unit in the conference.
Third: Quarterback K.J. Costello has battled injuries since last season, but projects to be back at full strength for the opener against SDSU. When healthy, he has shown to be the dynamic passer that Stanford needs to maintain a balanced offensive attack. His arm strength and accuracy are top end when his body is right, while his athleticism and field awareness are both surprisingly sufficient. Not unlike Blue Horseshoe loved Anacott Steel in the late 80’s, I love K.J. Costello’s stock to skyrocket in 2018-2019.
Fourth: The Stanford recieving corp is as talent rich as it has been in years, and the unquestionable leader of the group is senior deep threat J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. His ability to create space with his large frame, and to catch the ball in heavy traffic when need be, set him apart. Fellow senior receiver Trenton Irwin has great hands, runs precise routes, and is tough as nails, while sophomore wideout Connor Wedington is a pure athlete. In terms of tight ends, junior Kaden Smith and sophomore Colby Parkinson may be the best TE duo in the country, and both will eventually play on Sundays. In summation, with teams stacking the box against Mr. Love this year, the passing game should be very successful as a counterattack measure.
Fifth: Head Coach David Shaw. He remains as fine a leader of men as you will find in the sport, and last season he passed Glenn “Pop” Warner to become the winningest football coach in the history of the university. Enough said. Roll Red.