The Stanford Cardinals didn’t realize what a great head coach they were getting when David Shaw took over the program two years ago. Most were concerned that with Jim Harbaugh leaving town the Cardinal football program was bound to drop off in the coming years. All David Shaw has done in his first two years at Stanford is lead the team to a 23-4 record. Stanford won the PAC 12 title last year. Keep in mind, 2012 was supposed to be a down year for Stanford since Andrew Luck graduated the previous year. Instead, the Cardinal stunned the football world by winning their first Rose Bowl since 1972. What can they do for an encore in 2013?
Stanford Cardinal 2013 College Football Predictions
2012 Record: 12-2
Stanford Cardinal 2013 College Football Betting Odds from BetOnline:
Stanford Cardinal Odds to win BCS Championship: +1,500
Stanford Cardinal Odds to win PAC 12 Championship: +450
The Stanford Cardinals won a ton of games with their defense last year, and I expect that defense to be tremendous again this season. The Cardinals return eight starters on defense from a unit that single-handedly won them several games a year ago. Remember the game where Stanford’s front four dominated USC and put Matt Barkley on his backside on seemingly every passing attempt? How about the rushing defense? Stanford allowed just 87.2 rushing yards per game last year, which was in the top five nationally. This is a defense that doesn’t allow big plays. They play fundamentally sound football and win games the right way. Keeping Oregon from getting their typical big plays is what allowed Stanford to upset the Ducks in Eugene last year. Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy are two excellent linebackers who should make a big impact on this season. This should be the best defense in the PAC 12.
What about the offensive side of the ball? Kevin Hogan is the starter under center, and he looks like a future star. Hogan certainly needs to be more consistent than he was last year, but he was only a freshman in 2012. Hogan has plenty of skills, and a second year in the Stanford system should do him a lot of good. Stepfan Taylor is gone at the tailback spot, and that will definitely hurt the offense. There aren’t really any wide receivers who are big play makers on this roster. One thing this offense does have working for them is a tremendous offensive line. David Yankey is one of the best linemen in the country, and he leads a group that should dominant off the football.
Stanford 2013 Football Schedule
Stanford’s schedule this year is definitely back-loaded. The Cardinal start with San Jose State and Army before hosting Arizona State in their first PAC 12 game. Stanford has a very good chance of starting 7-0 before hitting the really tough part of their schedule. They must go to Oregon State before hosting Oregon in what should be one heck of a football game. They must then travel to USC and finish at home against Notre Dame.
Stanford 2013 Football Prediction: 12-1 (PAC 12 Champions)
Stanford was overlooked last year and they ended up as PAC 12 Champions. They are being overlooked by many again this year. Oregon is a great football team, but the Ducks have to come to Stanford this year. The Cardinal will have a defense that keeps them in every single game, and that is invaluable in a wide open conference like the PAC 12. This team will dominate in the trenches all year long, and that should equal a lot of wins. At +450, Stanford is a tremendous futures value play to win the PAC 12.
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