Stanford Cardinal: Breaking Down Their 2013 Schedule


After winning three consecutive Pac-12 championships, the Oregon Ducks fell in overtime to Stanford in 2012. While the Ducks still traveled to the Fiesta Bowl to take on Kansas State, the Cardinal beat out UCLA to become the conference champions for the first time since 1999.

Though Oregon will still be a conference powerhouse and a formidable opponent for Stanford, the Cardinal enter the 2013 season as the team to beat, and have bragging rights as they defend their title.

April 13, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) passes the football during the Cardinal

Looking at Stanford’s 2013 schedule, however, the Cardinal have given themselves a tough road to fight through in order to retain their elite national reputation.

David Shaw’s squad will open up the season against a surprisingly strong San Jose State team. Spartan quarterback David Fales is one of the top NFL prospects at his position, and the Cardinal only beat San Jose State by three points last season, so this should be a good matchup.

A week later, the team will play its first road game when they take on Army in Week 2. Stanford’s potent front seven should overwhelm the Black Knights’ offense, and this should be one of the Cardinal’s easier matchups.

In Week 3, the Cardinal begin a stretch of nine conference games by hosting Arizona State. The Sun Devils will likely be one of the stronger foes in the Pac-12 South with the return of quarterback Taylor Kelly, so this is another game to watch for.

Over the next three weeks, Stanford has to worry about Washington State, Washington and Utah. The Cardinal should enter each of these games as pretty big favorites. Though the Huskies did beat Stanford last season, it was before Kevin Hogan took over at quarterback.

It is in late October that the Cardinal’s schedule really starts to pick up. The squad has to play UCLA, a team that gave them quite a scare in the conference championship game a year ago, at home, followed by a matchup against Oregon State on the road.

These two tough opponents are followed up immediately by the biggest game of the year for Stanford when the Cardinal take on Oregon at home. The Ducks will be hungry to regain their spot atop the Pac-12, and return much of their talent from a year ago. Even without Chip Kelly, this game will be huge, as both teams will likely enter it undefeated.

April 13, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal head coach David Shaw (black polo) leads his team onto the field during the Cardinal

While the schedule lets up a bit, it is still no cakewalk for the rest of the season. The Cardinal have to travel south again to face the dominant receiving corps of USC. The next week, they take on their fierce Pac-12 North rival in Cal, a team that seems to always put up a good fight in big games.

Lastly, the Cardinal continue their tradition of taking on Notre Dame. This year, however, the stakes will be particularly high. Stanford will be looking for revenge after a questionable call on the last play of the 2012 showdown cost Shaw’s team the game, and the Irish appeared in the National Championship game because of it.

Though their schedule is tough, you have to give Stanford credit for going up against so many strong opponents. And while it won’t be an easy road, the Cardinal certainly have the talent both on the field and on the sideline to remain atop the standings, both on a conference and national scale.