Stanford Football: Cardinal’s 10-year bowl streak is in serious trouble

Stanford Football (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Stanford Football (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Stanford football’s 10-year bowl streak is in some serious trouble after Saturday’s devastating 16-13 conference loss to the Colorado Buffaloes.

The Stanford football program has been the model of consistency in college football over the past decade. Few schools have managed to find as much consistent success as the Cardinal have in these past 10 years.

However, that continued success may be coming to an abrupt end.

Stanford entered the 2019 season expecting some regression after graduating a ton of top talent in the offseason. However, few could have expected a season like this.

The Cardinal have been marred by injury after injury combined with inconsistent play on defense to go along with a struggling offense. And after nine games, they sit at just 4-5 needing a strong finish to salvage a bowl game.

Stanford’s bowling steak is one of the most impressive in the FBS as the Cardinal have qualified for a bowl game in each of the past 10 seasons dating all the way back to Jim Harbaugh‘s second year in Palo Alto.

In fact, Stanford hasn’t finished with fewer than eight wins since that 2009 season. But that streak will almost assuredly come to an end this year.

While it’s feasibly possible for the Cardinal to win eight games, that would require them to win out, qualify for a bowl game, and then win said bowl game. Certainly not an easy task — especially when looking at their upcoming schedule.

Stanford needs to win two of their final three games to earn that illustrious six-win total to qualify for a bowl game. They’ll travel up north to face Washington State next week before returning home to take on rivals Cal and Notre Dame in the final two weeks.

There’s a very good chance that the Cardinal are considered underdogs in all three meetings.

Their most favorable matchup will come this week against Washington State. The Cougars are 4-5 on the year — much like the Cardinal — but host a dreadful conference record of just 1-5 as compared to Stanford’s 3-4.

That said, Washington State played No. 6 ranked Oregon tough losing by just two points two weeks ago and blew out Colorado 41-10 the week prior. Stanford only managed 13 points against a porous Colorado defense.

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But if they are to keep their bowl hopes alive, that remains a must-win game.

Outside of that, their best chance at another victory will likely come against their Bay Area rivals in Cal. Stanford has historically dominated this rivalry but the Bears have surprised many this season.

And although they too have dealt with injuries at the quarterback position, their 5-4 record could see them qualify for a bowl game for just the third time in eight years. Cal’s likely the better team, but anything could happen in rivalry games.

If all else fails and Stanford is still searching for that sixth victory entering their final game, they better be saying their prayers that they could manage to defeat a 7-2 Notre Dame team currently ranked No. 16 in the nation.

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While not the national title contenders that many believed they could be this season, Notre Dame is still one of the toughest matchups on Stanford’s schedule and escaping with a victory should prove very challenging.

There’s still hope that Stanford could keep the streak alive, but the odds don’t seem to be in their favor. Taking care of business next week against Washington State is the first step, but they’ll still need a little more help to finish the job.

It will be on quarterback K.J. Costello and the offense to find the magic that they had a week ago against Arizona and take the pressure off the defense these next few weeks.

Next. Stanford football: 15 greatest quarterbacks in Cardinal history. dark

We’ve seen Stanford play some good football this season, but it’s going to take all hands on deck to keep the Stanford football bowl streak alive.