Stanford Betting Odds Preview
As last season progressed the Oregon Ducks became huge favorites to win the Pac-12 North and go to the BCS title game. But the Stanford Cardinal had other ideas. And following an upset victory in Eugene, a conference championship game win over UCLA, and a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, the Cardinal stood as the top program in one of the top conferences in college football, the Pac-12. Now the trick for Stanford is to do it all again.
Stanford had 13 starters back last year, but none of them were named Andrew Luck, which makes what the Cardinal accomplished all that more impressive. Stanford struggled just a bit for the first month or so, though; they actually got out-gained in a 20-17 win over San Jose State, and after “upsetting” USC they blew a late lead and lost at Washington. The Cardinal then needed overtime to beat Arizona, then couldn't score an offensive touchdown in a 20-13 overtime loss at Notre Dame. But then things started to click, and Stanford won out, beating four ranked teams in a row, including No. 1 Oregon in Eugene and UCLA back-to-back, to win the Pac-12 title.
The Cardinal then out-gutted a very similar Wisconsin team 20-14 for their first Rose Bowl victory since they were still called the Indians back in 1972. So Stanford finished 12-2 overall, 9-1 in Pac-12 play, and 7-5-2 ATS, thanks in part to a +9 turnover ratio. This year the Farmers return 14 starters; six are back on offense, led by QB Kevin Hogan and four along the offensive line, and eight are back on what should once again be the best defense in the league. But Stanford will have to replace 1,500-yard rusher Stepfan Taylor and last year's top four pass catchers. The Cardinal open this season with non-conference games against San Jose State and Army, then begin defense of their Pac-12 championship with a home game against a dangerous Arizona State squad.
Stanford's toughest stretch comes a little later on, when it hosts UCLA, then visits Oregon State, then, in the game that might decide the North Division, hosts Oregon on a Thursday night. That's followed by a road game at USC, and they later end the season with a revenge bout with Notre Dame, this time at home. The key difference this season between Stanford and Oregon, as far as winning the North goes, might be that while the Cardinal has to play both Southern Cal and ASU, the Ducks miss both.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11
Oregon State +1050
Arizona State +1100
Washington State +6000