Stanford football schedule predictions and early game-by-game preview for 2016. Projecting how the Cardinal will do this year.
The defending Pac-12 champion and Rose Bowl winner has to undergo a rebuild. Will the schedule be decent enough to do it all again? Check out the preseason predictions for every game.
Sept. 2 vs. Kansas State
The Cardinal will have all the hype coming into the season, and no one will think Kansas State has much of a shot on the road. However, the Wildcats have a terrific defense and could out-Stanford, Stanford on offense. Christian McCaffrey won’t go off, but the Cardinal offense will struggle to come up with a better win than the team will get credit for.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 23, Kansas State 20
Sept. 17 vs. USC
The week off before facing the Trojans won’t help. It would’ve been nicer to get an extra game out of the way, but that’s not going to happen. Even so, the defense will come up with a gem at home against the terrific USC offense. The Trojans will make the mistakes the Cardinal won’t.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 27, USC 17
Sept. 24 at UCLA
The win over USC will get everyone thinking about another Pac-12 title. UCLA will bring that to a screeching halt. The Bruins will put it all together for a week and look like the team their fans have been waiting for – and Stanford won’t have the firepower in place quite yet.
Preseason Prediction: UCLA 35, Stanford 20
Sept. 30 at Washington
The Huskies will be looking to make their big statement, but Stanford will be the exact right time to come up with something terrific. Coming off the loss at UCLA, the Cardinal will be razor sharp while the Huskies will make a few too many key errors.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 26, Washington 20
Oct. 8 vs. Washington State
The Cougars won’t have the ball enough. Stanford will take the air out of the ball and keep Wazzu off the field just enough to overcome a few big pass plays to keep it interesting.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 34, Washington State 20
Oct. 15 at Notre Dame
The Cardinal cost Notre Dame a playoff spot last season, but it’s not exactly going to be too much about revenge in the middle of the year. The Irish get a week off after this, and it’s their first game at home in weeks – they’ll outrun the running team.
Preseason Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Stanford 23
Oct. 22 vs. Colorado
Coming off the Notre Dame loss, the Cardinal will come up with a repeat of last year when they rolled in Boulder 42-10. Since Colorado joined the Pac-12, Stanford is 3-0 in the series by a combined score of 138-17.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 40, Colorado 13
Oct. 29 at Arizona
Stanford will be back on track again in the Pac-12 with three straight conference wins, and then the Arizona offense will have it all figured out at home. Stanford won’t get its doors blown off, but there are times when the Wildcat offensive thing just works – this will be it.
Preseason Prediction: Arizona 37, Stanford 27
Nov. 5 vs. Oregon State
The Cardinal will get back on track in a surprisingly tough game against the Beavers. Christian McCaffrey will get slowed down, but the midrange passing game will rise up just enough to overcome an uneven all-around game.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 23, Oregon State 17
Nov. 12 at Oregon
The Duck flash will come though getting out to a big early lead, but Stanford will slowly get back into the game with several tough stops and a few grinding scoring drives. Oregon will hang on, but it’ll have to battle to the end.
Preseason Prediction: Oregon 37, Stanford 31
Nov. 19 at California
It’s been Stanford’s series over the last six years, and it’ll make it seven in a row by blasting away up front and getting a huge day from Christian McCaffrey. The Cal offense won’t be able to get into a groove.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 34, California 23
Nov. 26 vs. Rice
Last year Stanford finished up the regular season with a huge date against Notre Dame that had a massive influence on the College Football Playoff chase. This year’s finale against Rice – not so much.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 41, Rice 20
2016 Prediction: 8-4
2016 Pac-12 Prediction: 6-3