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Cardinal predicted to finish 6-6 by CBS Sports

Stanford is projected to finish fourth in the North

Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by David Madison/Getty Images

We’re in full-on prepare for the 2020 college football season as college sports writers, knowing that’s the next biggest event for college sports thanks to the coronavirus pandemic’s shutdown of all sports as we knew them.

That being said, there have been several outlets that have attempted to predict the 2020 season already, and most recently, CBS Sports took their turn. Writer David Cobb penned the Stanford Cardinal football team to finish fourth in the Pac-12 North, and a record of 6-6 (4-5).

A modest projection for the Cardinal, in my opinion, who have the pieces on offense and defense to certainly finish with a much better record than that. But, their success does largely lie with Davis Mills’ shoulder.

Before we go too much further into the Stanford prediction, it’s important to note a few things.

How they came up with their prediction:

Predictions are based on talent returning, coaching turnover and recent recruiting success, among other factors. In some cases, the location of a game played a role in the prediction of who will win.

Their full projections:

Pac-12 North

Cal: 11-1 (8-1)
Oregon: 10-2 (8-1)
Washington: 8-4 (6-3)
Stanford: 6-6 (4-5)
Oregon State: 5-7 (3-6)
Washington State: 3-9 (1-8)

Pac-12 South

USC: 10-2 (8-1)
Arizona State: 7-5 (5-4)
Utah: 8-4 (5-4)
UCLA: 6-6 (3-6)
Arizona: 4-8 (2-7)
Colorado: 3-9 (1-8)

Alright, so there those are. Again, modest for Stanford and a bit over for UCLA, in my opinion, on the other side of the spectrum. Both teams projected at 6-6 whereas I’d have them 7-5 for Stanford (at the very least) and 5-7 for UCLA (at best).

So, speaking specifically to Stanford, Cobb writes the following:

Wins: William & Mary, at Arizona, at UCLA, Oregon State, Colorado, BYU

Losses: USC, at Notre Dame, Washington State, at Oregon, at Washington, at Cal

Analysis: After Utah, Stanford is the Pac-12 program with the most continuity on its staff, and that should be more important than ever as programs enter the season without the benefit of spring practices. The Cardinal are coming off their first losing season in Shaw’s ninth years. But quarterback Davis Mills appears poised for a breakout junior season, and the schedule is favorable enough that Stanford should be back bowling again in 2020. Winning a Sept. 26 game against UCLA should give the Cardinal enough leeway to reach six wins even if their misery at the hands of Washington State continues for a fifth consecutive season.

I think those are relatively fair, but I also think that there are certainly chances to win at least two of those ‘losses’ above. You have to start with Washington State. The Cougars and new head coach Nick Rolovich are certainly expected to have a down year compared to Mike Leach’s standards, and even those weren’t that high albeit he did have David Shaw’s number of late. Also, have to say that the ‘loss to WSU’ would be only one of Washington State’s three wins in the above projection.

If Washington State is beating Stanford, they’re beating UCLA. They’re beating Colorado.

I’m sorry, that just doesn’t make sense.

And then a loss at Cal. Look, they’ve drank the Cal Cool-Aid at this point it seems over at CBS Sports, to have them projected to go 11-1, so I completely understand thinking they’re a better team than Stanford in these projections.

I, however, feel that the Cal-Stanford game this year is essentially a coin-flip. The Cardinal easily go 8-4 in the above projection as they could go 7-5, but 6-6, I just don’t necessarily see it with the way it’s outlined in the writeup.

Oh, and I’d also watch out for Arizona and Grant Gunnell, who is going to open up as a Heisman dark horse after a few weeks if he can come into the same form that he showcased in limited duty behind Khalil Tate last year.

Enough about what I think, what do you think of this prediction?