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Stanford National Championship Game Odds
After a 41-31 home win over Arizona the Stanford Cardinal rallied from a 1-3 start to even its record at 4-4 and in position to salvage a bowl bid. But from there the roof caved in on the Cardinal as they lost all four of their final games to limp home with a mark of 4-8 straight up, and 3-9 against the spread. Overall, Stanford had disturbingly bad metrics of 99th for total offense, 108th for scoring offense, and 123rd for rushing yardage. Defensively they weren’t much better as they ranked 94th overall and 80th for points allowed. Once known for its power running game the ineptitude at being able to run the ball was perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. Further, 2019 damaged Stanford’s past reputation for tough, traditional, complementary football. While injuries were a big part of the problem, Stanford’s decline seemed to be a deeper infrastructure and philosophical issue.
2020 Stanford Cardinal at a Glance
National Championship Odds: N/A
Since taking over as head coach of his alma mater David Shaw has led Stanford to a record of 86-34 with a 5-3 mark in bowl games and three Pac-12 championships with five Pac-12 North Division titles. Shaw was named 2017 Bobby Dodd coach of the year and is a four-time Pac-12 coach of the year award winner. All of which made last year’s season both a major disappointment and cause for alarm. Stanford last won the Pac-12 title in 2015 and has not cracked the 10-win total in the last three seasons. Certainly, the Cardinal is an elite academic institution that does not compromise its standards for football. Yet from 2010 to 2016 Stanford posted six double digit win seasons. Another worry is that Stanford has not been able to keep up in a Pac-12 conference that has quickly become one of the weakest in major college football. As a result, 2020 could be a season on the brink.
2020 Stanford Cardinal Schedule
Week 1: Saturday, September 5, William & Mary Tribe
Week 2: Saturday, September 12, at Arizona Wildcats
Week 3: Saturday, September 19, USC Trojans
Week 4: Saturday, September 26, at UCLA Bruins
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: Saturday, October 10, at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Week 7: Saturday, October 17, Washington State Cougars
Week 8: Saturday, October 24, at Oregon Ducks
Week 9: Friday, October 30, Oregon State Beavers
Week 10: Saturday, November 7, at Washington Huskies
Week 11: Saturday, November 14, Colorado Buffaloes
Week 12: Saturday, November 21, at California Golden Bears
Week 13: Saturday, November 28, BYU Cougars
2020 Stanford Cardinal Regular Season Preview
If Stanford is to reclaim its status as a stout ground control team, they must begin with a rebuilt offensive line that was injury decimated for 2019. The quarterback position is also up in the air after K.J. Costello transferred to Mississippi State after missing last year due to injury. Star tackle Walter Little was out as well but is expected to be back in top form to anchor the offensive line. As for the staring quarterback there are three capable candidates the Shaw will choose from led by Davis Mills along with Jack West and Tanner McKee.
Mills is a senior that played eight games last year and posted a passer rating of 144.8 with 1960 yards. His touchdown to interception ratio was 11/5. It was the first serious playing time that Mills had gotten while at Stanford and he showed well with little support from the offensive line and running game.
Junior wide receiver Simi Fehoko is a gamebreaker. He averaged 23.6 yards per catch with 24 receptions, 556 yards, and six touchdowns.
Austin Jones impressed as a freshman running back as he averaged 5.0 yards per carry with 227 yards and one touchdown in 2019. Jones is slated to become the feature back for this season.
If the running game can become reliable again the rest should fall into place for Stanford, Mills, and the defense. Indeed, the helpless offense hung the tired defense out to dry. Improved Oregon and normally tough Washington should finish ahead of the Cardinal in the Pac-12 North. But a return to a bowl game is likely for Stanford.
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