Under David Shaw the Stanford Cardinal have become a legitimate contender for a national championship, even if they haven’t actually played for one during his tenure. The Cardinal hit double figures in wins in five of his six seasons and captured the Pac-12 championship in half of the game’s six-year existence. Stanford had finished first or second in the North Division since the league’s expansion in 2011, but slipped a bit last season and placed third.
College football bettors have come to expect a physical ground attack backed by a stout defense from Stanford Cardinal teams coached by David Shaw in the past. That could change in 2018 with the Cardinal possibly returning its most potent offense since Andrew Luck lined up under center in Palo Alto. The same can’t be said about the defense with Stanford looking to replace a number of players in all three phases. By no means a rebuilding year, the defending Pac-12 North champs need plenty to go their way this season if they’re to defend their title.
The Cardinal won nine games a season ago and went on to drop a shootout to TCU in the Alamo Bowl. While the season was considered a success, there was much to dislike about last year’s squad. The defense, while stout to score against, gave up its fair share of yardage. Nearly 406 yards per game to be exact. Though Bryce Love paced the offense out of the backfield and came in the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, the passing game was more or less nonexistent ( No. 99 ).
That changed quite a bit once K.J. Costello was given the QB1 gig full time, and the hope this season is that he builds upon the 1,573 yards and 14 touchdown passes thrown in his junior campaign. He’ll definitely need to with as many questions as the defense brings to the table. He won’t have it easy either with games slated to go against San Diego State, USC, Oregon and Notre Dame right out of the chute.
Thankfully, he’s got a veteran bulldozing offensive line in front of him and none other than Love toting the rock out of the backfield. No. 20 rushed for over 2,000 yards last season and hit pay dirt 19 times. He’s one of the best running backs in the country, and will be leaned on a ton right from the get go. His ability to beat opposing defenses on the ground should open things up for Costello to get the ball to his pass catching playmakers.
Unfortunately, the offense is going to need to get after it early on with the defense replacing 12 of last year’s top 16 tacklers. Stanford should be sound in the secondary with Frank Buncom at safety and Malik Antoine at corner. The linebacker corps needs to be completely retooled. While the ends up front return in Jovan Swann and Dylan Jackson, the middle of the line needs a run stuffer to emerge.
Stanford enters the season with an 8.5 season win total. A surprising number for the division champs. That shows just how unimpressed linemakers are with Shaw’s squad this season. It came as quite the surprise that they were able to dethrone what was believed to be a much better Washington side a year ago. They’ll have to go to Seattle this time around and will more than likely be heavy underdogs in that contest.
Before that, they’ll have to run up against Utah at home, Arizona State on the road, and then Washington State back at home. Following the battle with the Huskies, they get a cakewalk versus Oregon State in their home finale and then close the year out on the road at Cal and UCLA.
If the defense finally finds itself the final month of the season, the Cardinal will likely have a shot at surpassing its season win total. If not, total bettors might just make a mint hitting the over in Stanford games. They have the offense to do some damage, but the defense will have to prove it can prevent that from happening to them on the other side of the ball. Call us skeptical. No Stanford futures for us thank you very much.
Week 1: San Diego State vs. Stanford, Friday, August 31, 9 p.m. ET – FS1
Week 2: USC at Stanford, Saturday, September 8, 8:30 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 3: UC Davis at Stanford, Saturday, September 15, 2 p.m. ET – Pac-12 Network
Week 4: Stanford at Oregon, Saturday, September 22
Week 5: Stanford at Notre Dame, Saturday, September 29, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 6: Utah at Stanford, Saturday, October 6
Week 7: Bye Week
Week 8: Colorado at Washington, Thursday, October 18, 9 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 9: Washington State at Stanford, Saturday, October 27
Week 10: Stanford at Washington, Saturday, November 3
Week 11: Oregon State at Stanford, Saturday, November 10
Week 12: Stanford at California, Saturday, November 17
Week 13: Stanford at UCLA, Saturday, November 24
The College football season is here, and that means there are plenty of stats and information out there to make accurate decisions when investing in the betting lines and totals moving forward.
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Here are the individual conference break downs for each conference. If you click on the conference links we will also break down each school team by team sorted by conference.
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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