After two years up at the top rung in college football, the Stanford Cardinal are likely to take a step down. Probably not a BCS appearance in the works for the trees this year, but they’ll still stand tall with a winning season. It all starts with trying to replace Andrew Luck who’s now the franchise QB with the Indianapolis Colts.
They have the Pac-12’s best returning rusher in Stepfan Taylor, so he’ll be the focus of the offense this year; while they break in a new signal caller in either Brett Nottingham or Josh Nunes.
2011 was: a banner year in school history, with a BCS bowl appearance. The Cardinal also produced a number of first round NFL Draft picks including the #1 overall pick in Andrew Luck. But it’s not just replacing the quarterback that’s a challenge, TE Colby Fleener, and OL David DeCastro and Johnathan Martin. That’s four headliners on offense that need to be replaced from an 11 win team.
2012 will go smoothly if: the new signal caller settles in and starts ballin like Spaulding. This school is becoming a TE factory as Zach Ertz is the next in line at that position. There’s a lot of returning starters in the front seven, defensive end Ben Gardner is a stud. The OL has some guys returning, and Ty Montgomery will have to be the go to WR.
2012 will be rough if: Both the passing game an the stop the opponents’ passing game will be question marks this year. The secondary was last year’s weakness, and they need to replace starters in that unit on top of it.
BMOC: all the guys I’ve mentioned thus far and Linbackers Shane Skov and Chase Thomas.
All Name team: OLB Noor Davis, RB Barry Sanders
Bottom Line: They should be way better than .500 as 8-10 wins could happen, but is not guaranteed given the unsettled QB situation. This year is the rebuilding year, so expectations are lower. But the results might not drop off that much. Perhaps. It all depends on the passing game, and how many opponents the Cardinal can stop in the pass happy Pac-12.
Lindy’s- 21, Athlon-21 , Phil Steele- 14 ESPN/USA Today Coaches- 18
All the 77s
#67 Southern Miss
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker
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