The Stanford Cardinal (1- 11 overall, 1- 8 PAC-10) team last played in a bowl game in 2001, when they were beaten by Georgia Tech 14- 24 in the Seattle Bowl. That year they were 9- 2. During the past five seasons, they've tallied 16 wins and 40 loses with last season's 1- 11 mark their worst. After finishing last in the PAC- 10, Jim Harbaugh, former NFL QB, has been hired to turn things around.
The Cardinal offense scored an average of only 10.6 PPG, earning a national ranking of 118th. T.C. Ostrander (47.6% COMP, 918 YDs, 3 TDs, 5 INTs), a fifth-year senior, becomes a starter for the first time. Look for Harbaugh to utilize an up-tempo, West Coast offense. Stanford has a trio of receivers in seniors Mark Bradford and Evan Moore and sophomore Richard Sherman. If used properly, the three can become a true threat in the conference. Junior LT Allen Smith is the foundation of the frontline. Hopefully, they can step-up more than they did in 2006. The line gave up 50 sacks in 2006. The running game needs both junior Anthony Kimble and sophomore Toby Gerhart to contribute.
The Stanford "D" gave up 31.4 PPG, giving up a whopping 210.5 YPG (ranked 117th ). Pass coverage was much better, with the Cardinal team ranking 23rd in the nation. Scot Shafer is the new defensive coordinator and he'll institute a new, more aggressive 4- 3 configuration. The defensive line has four returning starters and some competition from the new guys. Clinton Snyder and Brian Bulcke will try to assume leadership roles in the LB unit. Corner Wopamo Osaiosai brings playmaking skill and versatility to the field in a sound secondary.
The Stanford Cardinal team will not be rebuilt overnight, but Harbaugh may be the harbinger of good things to come.
The Consensus on Stanford
Stanford is going to be better, but not better enough to win a Pac Ten game next season unless someone experiences a complete meltdown like the Huskies did last season. UW should have no problem with these guys if they stay healthy at QB. Keep an eye out for these guys though, Harbaugh will get the rebuilding job done over time.