The Cardinal lost the most games in a season under head coach David Shaw in 2013… three. It has been an incredible run the past three years with Shaw at the helm and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon as the Cardinal continues to reel in quality recruiting classes. In 2014, the Cardinal look to win their third straight Pac-12 Championship, a feat that has never been done in Palo Alto. They do lose star running back Tyler Gaffney who accounted for 21 touchdowns in 2013 but the replacement, Barry Sanders Jr, comes from a pretty good pedigree of running back talent. Running the offense will again be junior quarterback Kevin Hogan who completed over sixty percent of his passes in 2013 for over 2600 yards and 20 touchdowns. Hogan also gets his top five wide receiver targets from 2013 including Ty Montgomery who caught 10 touchdown passes and
also averaged over 30 yards per kick return. Defensively, the Cardinal has to replace defensive leader Shayne Skov (109 tackles in 2013) but do return senior middle linebacker AJ Tarpley who was second on the team in tackles with 93. One thing I noticed when looking at their defensive starters and the two-deep is that there are only juniors and seniors which will pay dividends with 1st year defensive coordinator Lance Anderson.
Stanford doesn’t get much time in the 2014 season before their first tough game as the Trojans of USC visit the Farm on September 6th. Last November the Cardinal gave up a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining against the Trojans and fell out of the National Championship hunt. Im sure that feeling is still lodged in the memories of the Stanford players. Tough back-to-back road games follow with road games at Washington and Notre Dame before a home date with an improving Washington State Cougar squad. The month of November is book ended by the two toughest games on the schedule as Stanford opens the month with a road game against the Ducks in Eugene and then a road game in the Rose Bowl against UCLA to close out November and the regular season.
Stanford is one of the best run college football programs in the nation and their momentum as a program is unrivaled but losses in the backfield and on the offensive line may put the pressure this season squarely on the defense which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the Cardinal defense has only allowed more than 20 points per game once in the last four seasons. If the Cardinal wish to win their third consecutive Pac-12 crown (something Stanford has never done), they will need production from the running back position to keep their play action offense balanced. You take those questions along with four legitimately tough road games and the 2014 season may be the toughest yet for the Cardinal.
Stay logged on to Sowegalive.com for Team #16 on Friday and tune in to the Southern Football Report every Saturday from 10am-Noon starting on August 23rd! Here is a hint for Team #16: This team’s stadium is named after a former Union Army training center during the Civil War.
#16 – ???????????
#17 – Stanford Cardinal
#18 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#19 – Florida Gators
#20 – Texas Longhorns
#21 – Iowa Hawkeyes
#22 – Arizona Wildcats
#23 – Boise State Broncos
#24 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Michigan Wolverines