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2013 Pre-Season Preview: Stanford Cardinal

2012 Record: 12-2 (8-1 in Pac-12)

Head Coach: David Shaw (23-4 All-Time, 16-2 in Pac-12)

Last Bowl Game: 2013 Rose Bowl beat Wisconsin 20-14

Stadium: Stanford Stadium in Stanford, CA (capacity = 50,000)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 29th out of 69 BCS teams

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Out of Conference: 9/7 vs SJSU, 9/14 at Army, 11/30 vs Notre Dame

Toughest Home Game: 10/19 vs UCLA, 11/7 vs Oregon

Toughest Road Game: 10/26 at Oregon St, 11/16 at USC

 

Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stat to Fear: had 47 offensive plays of 20 yards or more (10th in Pac-12)

Stats to Cheer: had 57 sacks in 2012 (1st in Pac-12), held opponents to 32.00% on third downs (2nd in Pac-12)

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 7th out of 124 teams

 

Personnel:

Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 6, Defense: 8, Special Teams: 1

Key Defensive Returnees: FS Ed Reynolds (47 tackles, 6 INT), SS Jordan Richards (68 tackles), LB Trent Murphy (56 tackles, 10 sacks), LB Shane Skov (80 tackles), LB AJ Tarpley (66 tackles), DE Henry Anderson (50 tackles, 4.5 sacks)

Key Offensive Returnees: QB Kevin Hogan (1096 yds rush, 71.7% completions, 9 TD, 3 INT), RB Anthony Wilkerson (224 yds rush, 4.48 ypc), WR Ty Montgomery (26 rec)

 
 
Verdict:
 
In his first two years, David Shaw has done a great job building on what Jim Harbaugh built at Stanford leading the Cardinal to two straight BCS bowl games. Last year, the Cardinal lost just two games by a total of 11 points. They weren't far from playing against Alabama in the NCG.
 
Once Kevin Hogan took over at QB, the Cardinal went 6-0 including wins over Oregon, Oregon St, Wisconsin and UCLA (x2). That's a pretty good resume and Hogan gives the Cardinal stability at QB. The RB situation will be interesting as Stepfan Taylor and his 1500 yards are gone but that doesn't mean there isn't talent. In fact, they have three guys that should fight for playing time in Anthony Wilkerson (224 yds in 2012), Tyler Gaffney (449 yds in 2011) and Barry Sanders Jr (yep, that Barry Sanders Jr). The WR group is the offensive unit that will need to rebuild the most. They lose six of their top seven pass catchers from last year returning only Ty Montgomery (26 rec). The OL will be a strength as they return four of five starters. 
 
Stanford had the best defense in the Pac-12 last year allowing just 17.2 ppg. The DL remains in tact as the top four players return. The LB corps loses only Chase Thomas and it's time that James Vaughters stepped into that role. The secondary loses Terrence Brown but returns everybody else. This defense will be very similar to last years and will be the strength of this Cardinal team. 
 
There are definitely question-marks on this team with Kevin Hogan only having started six games, the Cardinal losing their starting RB and the WR corps being decimated. What you can count on is Stanford being consistent. In his first two years David Shaw has led Stanford to records of 11-2 and 12-2 with two 8-1 finishes in the Pac-12. I think you will see the same consistency out of this Cardinal squad. With some luck here or there, the Cardinal could be playing in the NCG.
 
Prediction: 10-2
 
 

Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:

Independent: ArmyBYUIdahoNavyNew Mexico StOld Dominion
The American-  Cincinnati,  HoustonLouisville,  Memphis,  Rutgers,  SMUTempleUCFUConnUSF

 

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section, This Given Sunday and Crossover Chronicles

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