After Friday’s result, panic and disbelief were the dominant emotions among Stanford fans, with many resorting to apocalyptic predictions of pain and doom.
Saturday, however, should have tempered those emotions a bit. Although Stanford struggled, so did a lot of teams, and at least, unlike its cross-Bay rivals, it won. I’m still more cautious about the season than I was before Friday, but I don’t think the season is headed towards imminent disaster yet. After all, if Stanford simply duplicates its approach to the first quarter to the rest of the game, it wins handily and we’re all happy.
With that in mind, here’s how I assess the rest of the season:
San Jose State: 1 (+.01 relative to last week)
Duke: 85 percent (-10 percent). Duke won against Florida International in Miami handily as far as the scoreboard goes, although they gave up 500 yards and were outgained yardage-wise. The bookies have faith in the home team, favoring us by 14 and -531 money line. I came up with 85 percent before I saw the betting lines, which coincidentally imply us winning…84.22 percent of the time.
SC: 15 percent (-20 percent). The secondary—the safeties in particular—looked weak. Not what you want versus SC. With the depleted defensive line of SC, you’d think running the ball at them would be a prosperous strategy for the Cardinal, except run blocking was terrible. Hence the dramatically dropped outs. If better execution materializes against Duke, perhaps I’ll gain more confidence.
@UW: 60% (-5 percent). UW did not exactly overwhelm versus San Diego State. Their defense looked better, but not that much better, to be honest. Meanwhile their offensive line continued the mediocrity from last year; if the Stanford front 7 can attack in the way it’s accustomed to, the Husky offense could have a short, nasty, brutish night.
UA: 90 percent (no change). Arizona struggled with Toledo, getting to overtime with the MAC team.
ND: 40 percent (-15 percent). In general, the Irish played quite well against Navy, but their secondary was picked apart—by an option team, mind you. Nevertheless, the drop in optimism here reflects Stanford’s mediocrity in the first game.
@California: 70 percent (+5 percent). Lost to Nevada, looked poorly coached while doing it. Don’t think I need to elaborate on this one.
WSU: 80 percent (+5 percent). Got blown out by a pretty good BYU team, but just looked like the team needed more time under Leach.
@CU: 90 percent (+10 percent). Lost to Colorado State. Don’t think I need to elaborate here.
OSU: 65 percent (-10 percent). OSU did nothing because of Hurricane Irene, so this just reflects unease with Stanford.
@UO: 5 percent (-20 percent). Looked terrifying against Arkansas State. Marcus Mariota, the new QB, looks like the actual version of the theoretical Duck QB that I’ve always been worried they’d get—a big, athletic QB who can run and sling the ball with high proficiency. Cam Newton, basically.
@UCLA: 65 percent (-5 percent). People have been perhaps a bit too excited about the Mora era’s debut. The offense looked better, but come on folks: it was against Rice. Rice, guys. Meanwhile, their defense looking highly porous and their special teams being gaffe-prone is less than reassuring. Let’s see what happens against Nebraska before a turnaround is proclaimed from the rooftops.
=7.65 wins (delta: -.64 wins). Things are still volatile because of the early season. I hope that with personnel returning imminently, we’ll be back into the 8+ projected wins in next week’s reassessment.