2016 Football Preview – Pac 12 – Stanford Cardinal
Looking for 2016 Stanford Cardinal predictions? After a small blip in 2014, the Cardinal were thisclose to participating in the playoffs last season. As it is they parlayed a 12-2 record into a third place overall finish in the final AP poll, just behind Alabama and Clemson.
NCAA Football Gambling Lines
2015/16 Record: 12-2
Head Coach: David Shaw
Odds to win PAC 12: +300
Odds to win National Championship: +2000
Win Total: 8
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Stanford Cardinal Handicapping
The reputation may be that of an academic school but this is truly one of the current football powers as coach David Shawn has built upon what Jim Harbaugh has started.
While Stanford, Silicon Valley and Innovation may go hand in hand the Cardinal are old school on the gridiron.
They want to dominate in the trenches and have become a factory for developing NFL offensive line talent while punishing teams on defense too.
When they do have a superlative offensive talent they are able to feature them effectively, see the past case of QB Andrew Luck and the current case of TB Christian McCaffery.
Underrating Stanford is done at your peril.
2016 Stanford Cardinal Predictions: Team Strengths
Even though they are breaking in a new starting quarterback and some new offensive linemen starting your offense with McCaffery is a pretty enviable position.
He is quite simply the most versatile weapon in college football and given the recent history of this program there is no reason to think he won’t be right back New York this fall when they are handing out the Heisman trophy, he might even be first in line.
The defense, which yielded only 22ppg last season, returns 7 starters and should be the best in the PAC 12 so if the offense struggles a little while they settle on a new quarterback this team should still be in every game in a tough first month of the season.
Stanford has become a rare program in that you know what you are going to get.
I don’t know if they will be 9-3 good or 12-1 great but this program is so solid right now.
2016 Stanford Cardinal Predictions: Team Weaknesses
There have been a lot of first year quarterbacks who burst onto the scene and led their teams to great success of late.
They tend to be elite toolsy types with Jameis Winston and Johnny Maziel coming to mind.
That is not what the Cardinal have in replacing Kevin Hogan, maybe the most maligned QB ever to lead his team to three Rose Bowls.
It looks like sophomore Keller Chryst will get the nod and the highly touted recruit probably has more talent than Hogan.
The question is whether he has the patience to succeed in this offense.
If so they won’t skip a beat.
Similarly, the experience level on the offensive and defensive lines is low heading into the season. How quickly these strong recruits in the trenches can be coached up will determine how far this group goes.
2016 Stanford Cardinal Predictions
There are some interesting thoughts about Stanford out there. Some see them as the best team in the PAC 12 North and a great bet to once again win the conference.
Others see them as maybe the third best team in their division. They definitely have a tough schedule, especially early with USC, UCLA and Washington before the end of September, the latter two on the road.
They probably only have three gimmes overall but when I see that win total at just eight I think there is a lot of value there.
I have yet to find a preseason prediction of this not being a Top 25 program and most have them in the Top 15.
Last year, every team in the final AP poll Top 25 finished with at least nine victories.
When I see their win total posted at 8 I think that would be a smart number to play.
For what it is worth they have not posted less than eight wins since 2009.
2016 Stanford Cardinal Football Schedule
- 9/2/16 9:00 PM ET KSU
- 9/17/16 8:00 PM ET USC
- 9/24/16 TBD @UCLA
- 9/30/16 9:00 PM ET @WASH
- 10/8/16 TBD WSU
- 10/15/16 7:30 PM ET @ND
- 10/22/16 TBD COLO
- 10/29/16 TBD @ARIZ
- 11/5/16 TBD ORST
- 11/12/16 TBD @ORE
- 11/19/16 TBD @CAL
- 11/26/16 TBD RICE
What do you think about our 2016 Stanford Cardinal predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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