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Stanford Cardinal 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

Stanford Cardinal 2016 Preview

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The Stanford Cardinal finished 12-2 last season and beat Iowa in the Rose Bowl by a score of 45-16.

Overview: David Shaw and the Stanford Cardinal will look for their 6th double digit win total in the last 7 years. Stanford will have to fill the void at quarterback and handle a difficult schedule in order to get back to the PAC-12 Championship. Stanford does have one of the best players in the nation in Christian McCaffrey, who will have to lead the Cardinal offense in 2016.

Stanford Cardinal 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Mike Bloomgren and the Stanford offense will look to use the explosiveness of Christian McCaffrey replace their star quarterback, Kevin Hogan, who went to the NFL. The Stanford offense averaged 37.8 points per game with 223.7 rushing yards and 211.8 passing yards per game in 2015. The new quarterback for the Cardinal is expected to be Keller Chryst, who served as the backup last year and only played in a handful of plays. McCaffrey led Stanford in rushing (2,019 yards and 8 touchdowns) and receiving (645 yards and 5 touchdowns) in 2015. McCaffrey will be the biggest part of the Stanford offense this season and will look to make a run at the Heisman Trophy. Michael Rector, starting receiver, will also be returning this year, after totaling 559 yards and 7 touchdowns last year. Stanford will be returning 2 starters on the offensive line and will need to piece together a new line in order to protect the new quarterback.

Defense: Lance Anderson and the Stanford defense look to have another strong squad this year. Last season, Stanford gave up 22.6 points per game with 139.9 rushing yards and 228.4 passing yards per game. Dallas Lloyd returns at safety, after having 55 tackles and 1 interception last season. The secondary should be in good hands, with four players coming back that played considerable time last season. Solomon Thomas will return as the best defensive linemen for Stanford, after totaling 39 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 10.5 tackles for loss. Stanford has to replace some production at linebacker, but will turn to Kevin Palma (44 tackles and 1 sack) and Peter Kalambayi (52 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks) to anchor the linebacker position.

Special Teams: Conrad Ukropina will be the field goal kicker, after going 18-20 last season. Stanford will have to replace their punter this season. McCaffrey has the return game locked up, as he is one of the most explosive return men in the country.

Outlook: Stanford should have another solid team this season. McCaffrey will allow this offense the ability to score at any time, which will make any defense nervous. McCaffrey should also allow the new quarterback to feel less pressure in the first few games. The Stanford defense should be good once again this season and I expect them to have a good chance at winning the PAC-12 North.

Schedule:

Sep. 2 Kansas State

Sep. 17 USC

Sep. 24 at UCLA

Sep. 30 at Washington

Oct. 8 Washington State

Oct. 15 at Notre Dame

Oct. 22 Colorado

Oct. 29 at Arizona

Nov. 5 Oregon State

Nov. 12 at Oregon

Nov. 19 at California

Nov. 26 Rice

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