16) Stanford Cardinal
Key Player: RB Bryce Love
Mr. McCaffrey is gone and while the QB spot is vital, the Cardinal offense relies heavily on its backs. There has not been a huge committee approach lately, so Love will have to take it up a notch. As a reserve the last two seasons, Love has been phenomenal with a tremendous burst of speed. Staying healthy, taking care of the ball and simply moving the chains will be enough for this team to win thanks to a premier defense that returns eight starters.
Key Stat: David Shaw is only eight wins shy of becoming the school’s all-time leader. Five of his six seasons at Stanford have been successful ones having won ten or more games in the process. Some may question his in-game coaching ability, but their ability to dominate the trenches has allowed them to keep it simple, stupid. Shaw is a proven winner.
Key Game: 11/10 Washington
The blowout loss on a dreadful Thursday night last year was unforgettable just watching. I can only imagine what it felt for the Cardinal, so expect a revenge atmosphere that Stanford will be waiting for all season long. There are a handful of other tough games for them, but this is the one that should decide a double digit season and potentially a spot in the Pac-12 title game.