since losing two of its first three Games, Stanford has stayed out of the public eye. But since then, the Cardinal haven’t lost and have quietly moved up to No. 18 in the AP Poll. They’ll take on a Washington State team that’s been exposed in recent weeks. At home, the Cougars were -2.5 point favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
At one time a playoff contender, Washington State has been destroyed in its last two road Games falling big to both Cal and Arizona. Back at home, the Cougars will try and turn around their fortunes before back-to-back road trips to Utah and Washington to close the season. Stanford may have won its last five Games, but it hasn’t been pretty and this isn’t the same team as in year’s past. There’s a reason the Cardinal lost to San Diego State a couple months ago. None of their wins have been all that impressive, especially a 15-14 win at Oregon State last week.
The Cardinal suddenly have a bad defense and are allowing close to 400 yards per Game. They haven’t seen an offense as good as Wazzu’s since the USC Game when they lost 42-24. That said, there are some glaring questions for Washington State after LUke Falk was again benched last week against Arizona. Tyler Hilinski may be a fine quarterback, but replacing your starting quarterback is never a good thing, especially when the backup tosses Four interceptions as Hilinski did against Arizona.
The Cougars have become hard to trust because of that quarterback issue and the other glaring problem is a run Game that’s become non-existent. The Cougars have gotten nothing from their backs in recent Games after opening the season with some success. Without a rushing attack, Washington State becomes more one-dimensional than normal and that’s been an issue.
The Cougars don’t have terrible overall defensive numbers, despite getting ran over by both Cal and Arizona. This is still a defense that has kept the offenses of Oregon and Colorado to a combined 10 points in home Games.
The biggest thing for this Game may be the status of Stanford running back Bryce Love, who had to sit last Thursday against Oregon State with a bad ankle. Without him, the offense is clearly not at the same level considering Love is still averaging 10.3 yards per carry on 112 rushes. If he can’t go, the offense is a mess and there will be no reasons to back Stanford. Backup running back Cameron SCarlett is not at the same level and that’s seen in his mediocre 5.0 yards per carry. Without a great running Game, the Cardinal can’t do much because Keller Chryst isn’t going to throw for more than 200 yards. He’s there to simply manage Games and he barely did that against the Beavers, completing 16-of-33 passes for 141 yards.
Falk destroyed Stanford in this Game last year for 357 yards and Four touchdowns, but the big thing was that Washington State limited the Cardinal run Game to 61 yards. If that can happen again, this could be an easy home win for the Cougars. But after last week, how many people will believe that can happen?
The Cardinal are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven following a straight-up win and 2-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Cougars have covered in their last Four home Games and are 7-2 ATS in their last nine following a straight-up loss. In this matchup, Stanford is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings in Pullman.
Our Pick – Stanford +1