2017 Football Preview – Pac-12 – Cardinal
Looking for 2017 Stanford Cardinal predictions? The Cardinal had 10 wins last season and were disappointed by it. Let that sink in for a minute. The team thrived on what they’ve been known to do. Play hard-nosed football with a dominant offensive line leading the way for a stout run game, and a tough as nails defense led by some of the best linebackers in the conference, maybe even the country.
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – Stanford Cardinal
- Head Coach: David Shaw
- 2015 Record: 9-3
- Stanford Cardinal Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +8000
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This is what we have come to know from David Shaw and company. And you can expect more of the same this year.
With the Pac-12 North shifting, can the Cardinal challenge for a division title once again or will they have to go back to the drawing board to compete with the new contenders?
2017 Stanford Cardinal Predictions: Team Strengths
Defense Wins Games, Who Knew?: Led by a strong linebacking group, the Cardinal defense typically thrives playing fast and tough. While the team lost Solomon Thomas to the NFL, there are plenty of guys with not only experience, but the ability to step in and be THE man.
The biggest strength of the defense might be the experience, which it has plenty of, but the youth. The team is returning a very large number of players, most who were starters or got significant playing time.
Joey Alfieri looks to play a bigger role this season, which would be an impressive year after his 10.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 2 interceptions in 2016.
The cornerback tandem of Quenton Meeks and Alameen Murphy return as well, giving the secondary a big boost after their 6 and 7 passes defended last season, respectively. They also combined for 58 tackles and 2 picks.
The Big Guys: The best guarantee you can make about a Stanford offense is that it will have a big offensive line, ready to block for shifty running backs or pocket passers scanning for targets. While the team lost 2 starters, they are still well off.
The combined returning linemen boast almost 70 games of game experience and the offense won’t change anytime soon, meaning they should continue to thrive in the trenches, giving Bryce Love space to run through.
2017 Stanford Cardinal Predictions: Team Weaknesses
The Backfield: It’s strange to say, but this team’s biggest weakness may be in the running back and quarterback. And the guys they have in place aren’t bad at all as it is.
Ryan Burns started last season, but was replaced midseason by Keller Chryst, who finished the season strong until an injury knocked him out of the Sun Bowl. Burns replaced Chryst in that game, helping the team hold on to beat North Carolina.
Chryst can’t be cleared for full participation until week 2 of camp, so there’s a chance Burns or freshman K.J. Costello could start. It seems certain, though, that Chryst is the man when he’s given the medical ok.
The biggest question might be, though: how do you replace Christian McCaffrey? He put up Heisman numbers last season in what some called a down year for him – in big games, at least.
Bryce Love will head the charge in the replacement duties, although they will be tough to fill. Love filled in multiple times last season as starting running back, with mixed results. He ran well in the Sun Bowl and tallied a touchdown reception and he ran over Notre Dame during their regular season campaign. He also ran for awfully low numbers in their 3 losses.
Oregon is against the ropes while the Huskies and Cougars are clawing for the top of the North division. The time is now to get back to their winning ways and take the North.
Stanford Cardinal Prediction: 10-2
The schedule favors the Cardinal immensely this season.
Outside of a very early tilt against USC down in the Coliseum and a home game against last year’s Pac-12 Champs in Washington, things are favorable.
Beside the USC game, in fact, the toughest remaining opponents are all at home for Shaw and company, which could very well help them challenge for the title yet again.
Things are in place for a perfect run at glory for Shaw and company. The question marks are there, but they aren’t too concerning for a team that has a serious mixture of youth and experience. They are set up to be scary for quite some time.
2017 Stanford Cardinal Football Schedule
- 8/26/17 10:00 PM ET @RICE
- 9/9/17 8:30 PM ET @USC
- 9/16/17 5:30 PM ET @SDSU
- 9/23/17 TBD UCLA
- 9/30/17 TBD ASU
- 10/7/17 TBD @UTAH
- 10/14/17 TBD ORE
- 10/26/17 9:00 PM ET @ORST
- 11/4/17 TBD @WSU
- 11/10/17 TBD WASH
- 11/18/17 TBD CAL
- 11/25/17 TBD ND
What do you think about our 2017 Stanford Cardinal predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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