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College Football Preview: #15 Stanford Cardinal

Let the post-Andrew Luck era begin at Stanford. Last season, the Cardinal had to replace popular Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Two years they had to replace Heisman Trophy Finalist running back Toby Gerhardt. Those went rather smoothly. So replacing Andrew Luck should be a piece of cake then right?

Well, Stanford won’t stink. But they have to replace the #1 pick in the NFL Draft at quarterback. And when replacing those other two guys, they had Luck at quarterback. This may be asking a bit much to replace him and keep the train rolling right along. 

Stanford will have a strong defense. So possibly the offense won’t have to be as good as it has been. The defensive front seven should be among the best in the entire country, especially if Shayne Skov recovers from his injured knee. Trent Murphy, Ben Gardnar, five-star newcomer Aziz Shittu, four-stars, tackle Jordan Watkins  and linebacker Noor Davis, and ends Henry Anderson and Josh Mauro give Stanford one of the best defenses in the Pac 12.

On offense is where it gets a little tricky. They still haven’t settled on a starting quarterback with sophomore Brett Nottingham and junior Josh Nunes battling for the job. Whoever gets it will have some awfully big shoes to fill.

Ty Montgomery will likely be the favorite target of whoever gets the job. He surged late last season with 16 catches in his last three games.

The schedule starts out with home games against San Jose State and Duke. Those should be two easy wins before USC comes to town in week three. After USC the schedule remains pretty rough. They travel to Washington, host Arizona, then travel to Notre Dame and Cal in back to back weeks. Those two are the big rivalry games and they must play them both on road. That will be tough.

Normally after Cal and Notre Dame all there is left to do is play the bowl game. This year, there is still half the season left. Fortunately the remaining games are all fairly easy with the exception of the road game at Oregon on 11/17.

The Cardinal likely will play in some lower scoring games than they have been playing in the past few seasons. This makes them a good bet on the under in most cases. We like them to beat the spread in the first two games. With Luck gone, those spreads should be a bit low, but Stanford is still going to be very good.

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, August 11th, 2012 College Football 2012

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