Week 10 – Stanford at Colorado

Posted Nov 2, 2012

Week 10 Fearless Predictions - Stanford at Colorado

Stanford (6-2) at Colorado (1-7) Nov. 3, 2:00, FX

Here's The Deal: Stanford is searching for a long-term solution at quarterback … still.

No one expected life after Andrew Luck to be simple, but the Cardinal was hoping for more than it's gotten at the position up to this point. Josh Nunes remains the tenuous starter, but David Shaw plans to experiment more with rookie Kevin Hogan, while keeping an open mind at the position going forward. Stanford has been feeble on offense for much of the year, and is hoping to use this week as an audition before beginning a three-game stretch run that'll determine its fate in the Pac-12 North race.

Colorado head coach Jon Embree is digging deep for motivational ammunition as his team continues to struggle on the field. For the second straight year, his Buffaloes are 1-7 and about to spend November laying the groundwork for another long and frustrating offseason. The Buffs aren't just losing; they've been bombarded by a combined score of 120-20 over the last two weeks.

Why Stanford Might Win: Not a whole lot is going well for this week's host. In other words, the Cardinal can choose its path to win No. 7.

Stanford should have more success on offense, facing one of the worst defenses in the country. However, this remains a problem that's built around its D. The Cardinal has had one bad defensive effort all year, the Oct. 6 win over Arizona. In the other seven games, it failed to yield more than 17 points in regulation. It's no lower than third nationally in run defense, sacks and tackles for loss, spearheaded by an elite front wall of talent. The D-line has great size and power, while linebackers Trent Murphy, Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas will pressure the passer and prevent plays from getting beyond the second level.

Why Colorado Might Win: After bowing to the speed of Oregon's and USC's playmakers, the Buffs are just thrilled to be hosting the more methodical Cardinal.

Stanford is tinkering behind center because it's now 90th nationally in total offense, and laboring to sustain drives. For the first time in weeks, Colorado won't need to score 50 to be competitive. While the Buffs are certainly not the Cardinal, it, too, boasts talented veterans on the first and second lines of the D. Ends Chidera Uzo-Diribe and Will Pericak form a speed-strength combo, respectively. And linebackers Doug Rippy, Derrick Webb and Jon Major are more talented than this year's numbers might indicate.

What To Watch Out For: So who is Hogan, and why is he making so many headlines?

Hogan is a 6-4, 225-pounder from clear across the country in McLean, Va., who has been used in four of the past five games in a shotgun formation in which he either hands the ball off or scrambles. Shaw says he'd like to use the redshirt freshman on at least a dozen plays so that his athleticism can be better accentuated. Hogan has been quickly narrowing the divide on Nunes in practice, creating a quarterback situation that bears a close watch in Boulder this Saturday.

What Will Happen: Stanford looked vulnerable and ripe for the picking last week against Washington State. Colorado just isn't good enough to take advantage of the situation this week.

The Buffs might be a Pac-12 team, but they're not playing like one in 2012. The Cardinal will bully them on both sides of the ball, powering the ball on the ground with RB Stepfan Taylor, and owning the line of scrimmage on defense. Stanford has been unable to run circles around many opponents this fall, but plummeting Colorado will be an exception.

CFN Prediction: Stanford 42 … Colorado 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Stanford -28 O/U: 51
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Man With The Iron Fists, 1 – Election coverage until Tuesday morning): 2