2019 Stanford Cardinal Team Preview

The Cardinal have been incredibly consistent under David Shaw, winning at least eight games every year with him at the helm

YearrecordP-12 recordfinal ap rank
201111-28-1#7
201212-28-1 (conf Champs)#7
201311-37-2 (conf champs)#11
20148-55-4#27
201512-28-1 (conf champs)#3
201610-36-3#12
20179-57-2 (div champs)#20
20189-46-3#27

That’s a remarkable amount of success for a program without a rich football culture, but it should be noted that things have been sliding since 2015.

KJ Costello returns at quarterback, though he loses Bryce Love, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Kaden Smith among others. The defense could improve, but will it be enough to stop the slide?

Offense

KJ Costello was great in 2018, averaging 8.6 yards a throw, completing 65 percent of his passes, and throwing nearly three times as many touchdowns as picks. He’s back for 2019 but loses his top three pass-catchers and trusted running back Bryce Love.

Replacing Love at RB could be one of three guys who each brought in between 100 and 350 yards last year as backups, none were particularly impressive but senior Cameron Scarlett was good in goal-line situations.

Costello does get TE Colby Parkinson (16.7 YPC, seven touchdowns) and deep threat Osiris St. Brown (25.5 YPC!) back, and redshirt freshman Simi Fehoko could step into a bigger role. On the line, three starters are gone but they do have a very highly touted guy at tackle in Forest Sarell, who is likely to fill in for one of the holes. I think the offense takes a step back.

Defense

Just five starters are back but David Shaw has done a pretty good job recruiting given the obvious limitations. The D will be young this year but will be led by an absolute stud at corner in sophomore Paulson Adebo (20 PBUs, four INTs, 2nd Team All-American as a freshman).

The rest of the secondary looks solid and the D-Line looks very good too with two starters back and a pair of highly touted ends itching to get the open spot in Thomas Booker and Ryan Johnson.

The major source of worry is at linebacker where three of four starters are gone, but Curtis Robinson at the ILB spot intrigues me as a former high four-star prospect. The defense may hold steady or even improve despite the losses thanks to some much-needed talent infusion the over the past few recruiting cycles.

2019 Outlook

The schedule is absolutely brutal with UCF, Northwestern, and Notre Dame in non-conference play, but if they can get things figured out by the start of conference season, Stanford hosts both Oregon and Washington and could establish head-to-head tiebreakers on their two most likely North division challengers. All signs point to another top-25 year.

Schedule

DateOpponentopp. rankProj. Margin
31-AugNorthwestern406.1
7-Sepat USC23-3.2
14-Sepat UCF22-3.3
21-SepOregon171.1
28-Sepat Oregon State1018.8
5-OctWashington15-0.2
17-OctUCLA496.6
26-OctArizona476.5
9-Novat Colorado633.1
16-Novat Washington State410.2
23-NovCalifornia567.9
30-NovNotre Dame10-3.3

Average Projected Record: 7.0 wins, 5.0 losses (5.5 wins, 3.5 losses)