4. Stanford Cardinal
2019 Preseason Ranking
AP 25, Coaches 23
Final Record: 4-8
What Went Wrong?
Injuries. Lots and lots of injuries.
2019 was when Stanford was supposed to major player again after taking what seemed like a year off.
It feels like it was 25 years ago, but the 2017 Stanford team played for the Pac-12 title, and the 2015 team won it on the was to the Rose Bowl. From 2009 to 2018, the program had won eight games or more every season, had four Pac-12 Championship appearances, and won ten games or more six times.
The 2019 Cardinal came up with the fewest wins – four – since going 4-8 in 2007. And why? Injuries, more injuries, and even more injuries.
Stanford was beaten up in the opening week win over Northwestern – applying a beating on the defending Big Ten West champion, too – and never recovered.
Why 2020 Will Be Better: Returning Talent
QB KJ Costello left to go play for Mike Leach and Mississippi State, but Jack West and Davis Mills have a little experience, and former super-recruit Tanner McKee will finally join the fun this summer after spending the last few years on a church mission.
Most of the offense is back – including a loaded offensive line that took its lumps throughout last season – and five starters are expected to return on defense.
Why 2020 Will Be Better: Schedule
– 2020 Stanford Football Schedule Analysis
The Pac-12 as a whole should be solid, but the South is still trying to find its footing. The Cardinal don’t have to play Utah or Arizona State from the other division (good) but have to on the road to face Notre Dame, Oregon and Washington (really, really bad).
Getting back to the ten-win mark will be tough, but there are enough winnable games – William & Mary, at Arizona, at UCLA, Colorado, Washington State, Oregon State – to make 2019 look like a strange aberration.