Stanford Cardinal vs. San Diego State Aztecs
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Opening College Football Odds: Stanford -7.5
Stanford vs. San Diego State TV Coverage: CBS Sports Network
This San Diego State team is going to start getting some Top 25 votes after beating Arizona State and can firmly plant itself in the rankings if it can pull off this upset. We have to remember that this was supposed to be a down year for the Aztecs, especially after losing Donnel Pumphrey to the NFL.
All Rashaad Penny has done in Pumphrey's place is run for 413 yards and three touchdowns, catch four passes for 38 yards and a touchdown and return two kickoffs for 117 yards and a touchdown. Stanford knows all about running backs who can do it all; Christian McCaffrey did so down on "The Farm" for years before he became a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft.
Unfortunately for Penny, he's still a relatively lone wolf on an offense that doesn't have much in the way of talent. Christian Chapman is playing his role and is merely not screwing up royally. But if that's all that can be expected from the quarterback spot on a team like this one, it's really hard to beat Stanford.
The Cardinal are reeling after getting crippled by USC, 42-24. The game wasn't as close as the final score indicated, and it was a sad state for David Shaw's defense. Stanford conceded 623 yards to the Men of Troy, the most allowed in a game in the Shaw era in NoCal.
But let's not forget just how dangerous this team really is. Bryce Love quietly remains one of the best running backs in the Pac-12 and is averaging 11.3 yards per carry this year, while Keller Chryst is one of the more unheralded quarterbacks the league has to offer. He's completing just 55.8 percent of his passes, but he has four touchdowns and no picks and is averaging 8.2 yards per pass attempt while making some legitimate big league throws down the field.
Matchup To Watch
The Aztecs have had all sorts of problems along their defensive line over the course of the last few seasons, but rare is the team that has been able to truly exploit them for it. This defensive line is badly undersized, and it's set to go up against an offensive line for Stanford that is one of the better in the Pac-12 and is massive.
Long knows how to coach up a defense and get the most out of it, but Stanford is one of the better teams in America at holding onto the football. The Aztecs have picked off 49 passes over the course of the last two seasons, much of which has been thanks to pressure on the quarterback and making teams play from behind. Stanford probably won't be doing either in this one, and that could expose just how undersized this SDSU defense really is.
Stanford vs. San Diego State Free Picks
You can probably see where we're going with this one. All of the online sportsbooks saw the same two things you saw last week with Stanford getting crushed by USC and San Diego State coming up with a big performance against Arizona State. But San Diego State isn't USC, and Stanford isn't Arizona State, and the Aztecs are going to a rude awakening if they're going to come into this game with a supreme amount of confidence.
This game screams of a workmanlike performance out of the Cardinal, a game where they dominate the line of scrimmage, never trail and slowly start to pull away in the end. The final score might feel a little more impressive than the game itself, but we still have confidence that Shaw's men are covering this number.
College Football ATS Pick: Play Stanford at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Stanford 31, San Diego State 10