It is finally here. The 2017 college football season has begun. The Stanford Cardinal Schedule Preview breaks down the rest of Stanford’s 2017 schedule, after that beatdown of Rice in Week Zero. Some outlets rank Stanford’s remaining schedule as the nation’s most difficult. Let’s evaluate how Coach David Shaw’s squad will do the rest of the way.
2017 Stanford Cardinal Schedule Preview
Week 0: @Rice (in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) (W)
There is not much to say about this one. Stanford took a business trip to Sydney, and shellacked Rice. Significantly, the offense clicked right from the start, scoring touchdowns on each of its first four possessions. The Cardinal faithful who feared a time-zone crossing-induced offensive coma (a la @Northwestern in 2015) were—and are—quite relieved.
Week 2: @USC (L)
This matchup will feature two of the top teams in the PAC-12 in 2017, and perhaps two of the top teams in the entire nation. It is a bit unfortunate that this titanic clash happens so early in the season. Stanford’s roster is loaded, but so is Southern Cal’s, and Heisman candidate Sam Darnold is at home. These teams may well meet again in Santa Clara at season’s end for the PAC-12 title.
Week 3: @San Diego State (W)
Donnel Pumphrey took his talents to Philadelphia following the 2016 season, having exhausted his SDSU eligibility. The Aztecs will miss him and his skillset greatly. Stanford will use its superior size to grind down SDSU’s defensive front, and will grind out a win.
Week 4: UCLA (W)
David Shaw owns Jim Mora. Like, he made a down payment of some kind and possesses a title for the man in a filing cabinet in his office. Stanford has beaten UCLA nine consecutive times since Shaw became head coach at The Farm. Make it 10 consecutive times.
Week 5: @Arizona State (W)
Shaw has done well against Todd Graham, but the ownage hasn’t been quite as severe. That said, the Sun Devils are not better than Stanford at any position group. Sometimes it is not the Xs and the Os, it’s the Jimmys and the Joes. Stanford’s Jimmys and Joes are better.
2017 Stanford Cardinal Schedule Preview
Week 6: @Utah (W)
One of the few current PAC-12 coaches to get the best of David Shaw in each of their previous meetings is Kyle Whittingham. This game represents the toughest trip the Cardinal will take other than the visit to the Coliseum. Stanford will pass the test, but just barely.
Week 7: Oregon (W)
Willie Taggart returns to the west coast after two successful head coaching stints east of the Mississippi, at Western Kentucky and South Florida. He will get the Ducks back to the top of the conference, but he will not do so in his first season. Ninth year senior Royce Freeman will give Stanford’s D-Line all it wants, but he won’t be able to win the game on his own.
Week 9: @Oregon State (W)
Corvalis is a notoriously difficult place to play, and this game looked like an obvious trap game before the season started. Oregon State played horribly in Fort Collins against Colorado State, and Gary Andersen’s seat is warming a bit. Stanford will roll in this one.
Week 10: @Washington State (W)
Eleventh year senior Luke Falk returns to lead the Cougars’ offense, which promises to be prolific. The Pirate’s squad destroyed Stanford in 2016 in Stanford Stadium, though, so motivation will not be hard to find. Also, Stanford’s back seven will hold up well on the road, and in the cold. Stanford will squeak by.
Week 11: Washington (W)
Heisman candidate Jake Browning (quick aside: is there a conference in the nation more loaded at the QB position?) hopes to lead the Huskies to defend their hard-won PAC-12 Championship. Stanford was humiliated in Seattle last season, and Shaw will use that to rally his troops. Stanford will ease past the Huskies to take control of the PAC-12 North race.
Down The Stretch
Week 12: California (W)
Stanford has beaten California seven straight years to retain possession of the coveted Stanford Axe. Cal promises to be better soon, especially on defense. Expect the Golden Bears to put up a fight, but to fall just short in their quest to end the longest Big Game losing streak in the 119 year series.
Week 13: Notre Dame (W)
Notre Dame and Stanford play each other very tough each year, irrespective of whether either team is up or down. The 2017 contest will follow that trend. Each team will be playing for bowl position, and potentially for an elite game. Look for Stanford to win a thriller, similar to the last game played at Stanford between these teams.
Yes, this projects to an 11-1 record for the 2017 Stanford Cardinal. This could be an historic season for the men in red. Let’s watch the season unfold and see whether the team’s depth and talent translate to wins on the field.
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