Stanford Cardinal: Breaking Down the 2015 Schedule


Like every other NCAA team, David Shaw and the Stanford Cardinal are preparing for the 2015 college football season which kicks off this week — and they are looking to make a splash in a crowded Pac-12 conference.

The 2014 season ended in a successful, albeit lackluster Foster Farms Bowl win against Maryland at Levi’s Stadium for Stanford. But this season seems to be holding quite a bit more promise of success. Team captain and returning senior quarterback Kevin Hogan is poised to lead the team to another good season.

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  • In 2014, the Cardinal went 8-5, but only 5-4 against Pac-12 opponents. They looked mighty and dominant against the likes of UC Davis, Army, and Maryland. Yet, they struggled to pull ahead and finish strong against conference foes USC, Utah, and Oregon.

    It certainly won’t be easy to win a Pac-12 title, considering the talent the team has lost from the last time we saw the Cardinal take the field. Standout receiver Ty Montgomery will see playing time with the Green Bay Packers this year after being drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. And All-American offensive lineman Andrus Peat was taken in the first round of the draft, going to the New Orleans Saints early on.

    Stanford looked to be down another standout receiver recently when Coach Shaw suspended returning receiver Michael Rector. But that suspension ended up only being a week and no reason has been given, leading to the assumption that all has been rectified among the team.

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    The bigger challenge on the road to a conference title however, is simply the talent level of all other teams in the Pac-12. USC is being picked by just about every national writer to win the Pac-12 title, and several big-name ESPN analysts have tabbed Arizona State to go far as well.

    UCLA, and Oregon have both generated buzz of their own, with new and dynamic quarterbacks for both teams.

    Overall, the Cardinal currently have five opponents ranked in the first AP Top-25 Poll — including two ranked in the top ten. Thankfully, one team that Stanford will miss this season is Arizona State, who looked dominant last season against the Cardinal in Tempe.

    A visit to #8 USC early (Week 3) will certainly be a huge test for a steady Stanford team looking to prove itself. By all accounts, this will be the toughest game of the year for the Cardinal, as USC is looking poised for a big year, and has gotten the best of Stanford the last two years.

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  • Evenf Stanford can get good performances on both sides of the football, and is able to upset USC, they still have more work to do in 2015. After facing tough tests in #22 Arizona and #13 UCLA in October, they have a lot of traveling to do in early November, going from Washington State to Colorado in back-to-back weeks.

    To close the season, Stanford gets three challenging games in a row. #7 Oregon comes to town toting a new quarterback in transfer student Vernon Adams, and a revamped defensive unit. While Oregon defeated Stanford handily in 2014, Stanford has long been a thorn in the side of the Ducks — especially down on The Farm.

    The next week, the team hosts every Cardinal fan’s favorite team, the Cal Bears. The Bears are looking like a much more complete team this year, and still have star quarterback Jared Goff.

    Goff leads the Bears down the field in a hurry, scoring heaps of points with their Bear-Raid style of play, and will likely be drafted early in the 2016 NFL Draft. Though Stanford will likely be the favorite, in this classic rivalry anything that can happen will happen.

    To close the regular season, Stanford welcomes #11 Notre Dame to Palo Alto. Notre Dame is without their old quarterback, Everett Golson, who transferred to Florida State, but are still a fierce team to reckon with. Stanford did well to hold their own against Notre Dame last year, with Golson somehow finding a man for the game winning touchdown on fourth down with only a minute left.

    The Pac-12 North may not be all that competitive beyond Oregon, but all the match ups with powerful teams from the Pac-12 South will add up to be a tremendous challenge for Hogan and company. If the team wants to make it to the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium, they will have to knock down some serious competition along the way.

    Next: Coach Shaw Vehemently Opposed To Early Signing Period