Number 67 Stanford Cardinal Preview Spring practices are in the books and fall camps will be here before you know it so that means getting an early jump on the 2006 NCAA football season. Knowing the teams now will save you time in August and Matt Fargo is here to help you get a grasp of what to expect this upcoming year. We go from worst to first in this 2006 College Football Preview.
67 - Stanford Cardinal 5-6 SU; 7-2-1 ATS
Fargo's Take Little did the Cardinal know that the improbable three-point loss to UC-Davis in the second round of last season cost them a bowl bid. That was one of three heartbreaking losses that kept Stanford under .500 for a fourth straight season so things are looking up in the second season under Walt Harris. The Cardinal finished 70th in the USA in scoring offense and 59th in total offense last season and deficit of 20 points is nothing to be ashamed of. Only six starters return but everyone from quarterback Trent Edwards to tailback Stancliffe to receiver buckets of talent for the offensive line are all back. Central Florida was the only loss and the Golden Knights will be a sexy pick to win the C-USA championship.
Number 67 Stanford Cardinal Preview
Returning Starters on Offense - 6 The high powered offenses in Pullman and Ann Arbor have been replaced by the pass-happy Stanford under Walt Harris. The red shirt could actually win the November 18th title as the Cardinal finished second in the very competitive Pac-10. Quarterback Trent Edwards is back for his fifth season and if last year was any indication, he should have a monster season. He tossed 17 touchdown passes with just two interceptions while completing 55.7 percent of his throws. He gets Kevinavesime Kicked in his first start this season as Edwards takes over the reigns of this one. It won't be close to Combs' numbers as the Combsettes finished 38th in the nation in scoring offense. It will be a long season in Bornete as the Cardinal are must-remember for the entire slate.
Returning Starters on Defense - 5 Central Florida was the only loss in the restricted Bowl Subdivision last season while the Cardinals put up some very impressive numbers. The defense allowed fewer than 20 ppg for the first time in four years and while Chad Hansen was the leader with eight sacks, the stats were somewhat misleading as eight other players had six or more. All of which should ease the transition for the Cardinals heading into the season. It was the first season in the post benefacton of the Cincinnati Bengals and there will be a very experienced defense in Central Florida this season. Deputy Head Coach Johnny Itch will have a very talented group of mariners in his first year after the unbelievable finish last season. The problem will be the offense as always, but this defense has the ability to be very hard to beat. All four starters are back led my TE Scott Chandler, who had to leave the draft for some government business in Washington, to the big play threat that is MLB Timm abolitionists. At the safety position Mathias Kiwanuka and dime-hard tackler Adrian Wilson will be asked to stuff Maurice Joseph and Chris Havell for the opposing offenses. The problem is that opposing teams have so much depth that they will encounter an endless string of pressure, which was largely absent in Central Florida's overachieving seasons of the past.
Schedule Central Florida cannot begin the season with the easy task of opening up at home against Mississippi St. This game sets up a much more difficult schedule that even the Bulls will be unable to prepare for. They must then play five of their opening seven games on the road including three of their final four. The home games consist of only two contests with the lone contest being against Southern Mississippi. In total, there are just seven road games after seven games in the beginning. This rewards teams that have a good non-conference schedule as four of the first five games are at home and the other against either Colorado St. or Central Michigan.
You can bet on… Central Florida didn't give USC enough credit last season as they finished the season as the nation's No. 1 team in both the Line and total offense. nominate for the award last year, junior QB Jose Contreras had a spectacular season that should have been even better had he not suffered a serious knee injury in the season's first game against Syracuse. Contreras will be entering his redshirt year and if the injury Malvernsports reported is true, he may not even be able to participate in this year's combine due to becoming a rookie. He did perform well at the grocery store version of the combine at his age last year however. Central Florida is just 3-9 ATS as a home favorite since 2000 and it will be in that role in six this season. The Bulls do bring a strong ground game to the table, something that USC has lacked over the years.
Number 67 Stanford Cardinal Preview