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USC Trojans

College Football

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Stanford had a good 2017, but couldn’t take that next step against better teams and fell to a 9-5 record after basically giving away the Alamo Bowl to TCU. The Cardinal would like to change things in 2018, mainly the part about losing to USC twice. With enough talent offensively, that should be possible, but with a surprisingly subpar defense for Stanford’s standards, it won’t be easy. The spring odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook had the Cardinal slated with an over/under of eight wins with +4600 odds to win the National Championship.

Bryce Love (1,973 yards, 17 TDs) has the second-best odds to win the Heisman at +900 and is everything to this offense. As long as he doesn’t deal with a nagging ankle injury all year, better numbers can be expected with Cameron SCarlett (8 TDs) getting plenty of work, as well. With one starter gone on the line and K.J. Costello (+6000 for Heisman) fully healthy after injuring his hip, there’s no reason this offense can’t improve on its 32 points per Game. Costello completed less than 60 percent of his passes, but those numbers should look better, working with all of the same receivers in JJ Arcega-Whiteside (720 yards, 6 TDs) and Trenton Irwin (40 receptions) to go with tight end Kaden Smith (5 TDs). Maybe the biggest change in the offense is coordinator Tavita Pritchard, but even then, not much is expected to change after he spent the last few years as the QBs and WRs coach.

Defense is the main area of concern for the Cardinal after allowing 170 rushing yards per Game, a poor rate for an annually stout front. There’s a lack of high-end talent on the line, which could lead to more problems unless a veteran like Dylan Jackson or freshman Dalyn Wade-Perry can take big steps. The good news is that the back end is more set in stone with Bobby Okereke leading the way at linebacker and numerous bodies in the secondary from senior corners Alijah Holder and Alameen Murphy to freshman Paulson Adebo, who came up big and made a name for himself in the spring. This defense may have issues again, but it’s still going to be a stout unit that can hold down weaker teams.

Making another Pac-12 title Game won’t be easy for Stanford, mostly due to Schedule. Trips to Oregon and Washington are the main worries with a Game at Notre Dame also in the middle of the slate. Beating USC in the second Game of the season would go a long way, especially with revenge on its mind. To make another title Game the Cardinal can’t slip up against teams like Cal and UCLA late in the season because it’s not like they ran away from either of those teams in home Games last year. Their over/under opened lower than expected due to Schedule, but there’s reason to believe the Cardinal can top that number. If Costello improves with almost all of the same pieces around him (mainly Love) and the defense stays relevant, this team will again be one of the best in the Pac-12 and that’s what David Shaw has continually done. 


2018 Stanford Cardinal Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. San Diego State

Sept. 8 vs. USC

Sept. 15 vs. UC Davis

Sept. 22 at Oregon

Sept. 29 at Notre Dame

Oct. 6 vs. Utah

Oct. 18 at Arizona State

Oct. 27 vs. Washington State

Nov. 3 at Washington

Nov. 10 vs. Oregon State

Nov. 17 at California

Nov. 24 at UCLA

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