Stanford Cardinal – 2012
No one in the PAC12 has made a talent improvement like Stanford over the last 5 years. After 4 out of 5 classes in the 40s and 50s, the Cardinal has rocketed to elite talent status above the BCS Berth line (21 of last 22 team in BCS NCG have been above it). With all the talent lost to graduations, Stanford is still a very dangerous team in 2012 and very underrated. This is a team on a path to potential greatness on a national level and is poised to challenge Oregon and USC at every level in the coming years.
Wow! What more can you say after Harbaugh leaves and the Cardinal do only what USC has done this decade and pop off a top 5 recruiting class. This is just 4 years after going #50, #57 and #47. They are getting to the point of reloading and where returning starter numbers become meaningless. You are entering a new world Stanford fan. One where expectations are exceedingly high. One that hold few upsets excepts loses. It is the paradox of the elite in that every game win is expected and the only upsets are loses.
While Coach Shaw was a +2 game coach in 2011, I would like to see what he does with the new talent and without a professional QB. While Luck and luck may have contributed to a great 2011, it shows me he has their attention and buy-in for his program. Expect the Cardinal to win one in which they were a clear Vegas/public underdog.
The most valuable and underrated part of the Stanford returning starters is both kickers. This will make a huge difference especially with their tight schedule and limited experience on offense.
2012 Schedule Breakdown
On paper and in the CFBMatrix talent profiles, this is a 9-3 team. However, the schedule really goes against Stanford this year. At Washington, at Cal, at Notre Dame, at Oregon and at UCLA are all potential and likely loses. On the plus side the Irish have been horrid at home and Stanford has a talent advantage over Cal, UCLA and UW. It’s the location of the game that pushes them to predicted loses to all but Cal. Anything better than the 2-3 expectations from that group is a super effort.
Stanford travels to Seattle after the bye. In a game in which they have more talent, it is the venue that tips the pick to the Huskies. Win or lose, the next week hosting Arizona is a nice trap game with Notre Dame looming the following week.. 1-2 is expected in this stretch to make the Cardinal 3-3. Anything above it would be solid coaching effect in the CFBMatrix.
It’s winning time after week 6. I see the Cardinal reeling off 4 straight starting with The Big Game (wth playing that in October?). None of those 4 should be trouble. If there is, one of the veteran kickers will save the game. At Oregon. Nope. Loss. Too tough. At home got a chance and I’ll take Stanford right now for 2013. Finish with the Bruins in a real coin flip on the road. This may be the best pick to go against the Matrix selections for Stanford 2012. 7-5 on schedule adjusted talent and 8-4 with coach effect. Maybe sneak into the top 25 and get picked to play Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl or dumped into El Paso in December.
- Dave Bartoo, The CFBMatrix & your Anti-Homer Follow @cfbmatrix firstname.lastname@example.org
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|SOS Rank||SPG Rank||SOS #||SPG #|
|Total SO S/SPG||3||9||37.2||22.2|
SPG = Schedule Power Gap is SOS minus the FARR ranking of the team. The smaller the SPG # the more likely the team is to win more games with average coaching versus teams with larger SPGs.