The Pac-12 announced over the weekend that most fall sports, including football, will take part in a Pac-12-only schedule due to the coronavirus and the current COVID-19 pandemic. The move to a conference-only schedule will allow guidelines and protections to be set in place to allow for better practices of maintaining the player’s safety, but it also cancels the non-conference schedules for all 12 member universities.
For your Stanford Cardinal, that cancels the matchup against William & Mary to open the season as well as the annually anticipated Notre Dame game as well as the season finale against BYU.
So, with the new nine-game, Pac-12 schedule remaining, what are the chances Stanford comes out with a winning record?
Utilizing ESPN’s FPI, we take a look at what Stanford’s remaining nine games look like in terms of win percentage.
Sat, Sept 12 @ Arizona — 61.2%
Sat, Sept 19 vs USC — 31.9%
Sat, Sept 26 @ UCLA — 57.9%
Sat, Oct 17 vs Washington State — 77.5%
Sat, Oct 24 @ Oregon — 13.4%
Fri, Oct 30 vs Oregon State — 81.6%
Sat, Nov 7 @ Washington — 38.3%
Sat, Nov 14 vs Colorado — 83.8%
Sat, Nov 21 @ Cal — 47.1%
ESPN gives Stanford a 0.0% chance of winning out and a 1.5% chance of winning the Pac-12. It’s also of note that it gives Stanford the 30th-hardest remaining strength of schedule.
It’s largely important to also note that they now essentially have two bye weeks before the Washington State game as they’ll play UCLA on September 26 but would have had a bye before the Notre Dame game, originally scheduled for October 10.
Now, all of this remains to be seen as to whether or not they go with the schedule at hand, alter the remaining Pac-12 schedules or can the entire season. The Pac-12 said they’ll announce further changes before July 31.
As for me, I tend to like the games that ESPN’s FPI says they can win, mainly against UCLA, Oregon State and Colorado. I think the Cal game is another potential win, as well, but would also be wary of the Washington State contest as well as the opener against Arizona.
ESPN gives them a record of 4.9-4.2 in their simulations and I’d tend to agree with a 5-4 record or a record just essentially a game over .500. Those contests against USC and Oregon are going to be touch as will the road contest against Washington.
And this is, of course, assuming that we get an entire Pac-12 schedule in and of itself.
Optimism is running thin, however.