The Stanford Cardinal played half of a normal college football regular season in 2020 and finished with a 4-2 record. Plenty of players across the country are taking advantage of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility, but Stanford will replace a ton of talent at key positions especially on offense heading into 2021.
This program fell off to a four-win team in 2019, and it’s impossible to know what mattered in the 2020 version of the Pac-12. As we get closer to the first kickoff of the season, it’s not too clear what the identity is of the Stanford program. But for 2021 the Cardinal have very low expectations, and a .500 record with a bowl game would likely be considered a success for this group.
2020 Season Review
- 4-2 (2nd in Pac-12 North)
- Lost first two games, won the final four to end the season
2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 41
ESPN Returning Production: 55% overall (111st): 45% offense (122nd), 65% defense (81st)
Returning Talent Index: Negative, 12th in Pac-12
Returning starters: 6/11 offense, 8/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools
Quarterback: Jack West (Senior)
The quarterback battle between Jack West and Tanner McKee has not been settled prior to the start of fall camp. We’ll give the early edge to West, but neither options have a ton of college football experience. Over the last three years, West has 56 pass attempts, and McKee threw seven passes last season as a freshman. The Cardinal lost some very talented pass catchers, and we’ll see who can step up to help whoever lines up at quarterback.
Offense (non-QB): RB Austin Jones (Junior)
Austin Jones and the Stanford rushing attack should be a strength of this offense in 2021. In just six games last year, he rushed for 550 yards with nine touchdowns. He also made a difference as a pass catcher with 21 receptions for 156 yards. His backup Nathaniel Peat rushed for seven yards per carry, so the running game should be set up for success once again if the passing game can keep defenses honest.
Defense: DE Thomas Booker (Senior)
Stanford’s defense was an issue last season, especially at stopping the run. The Cardinal will bring back Thomas Booker, who was a second team all-conference selection last season. He finished with 21 tackles including three for loss with one sack with two passes defended and a fumble recovery in six games. Stanford probably isn’t going to be very good on defense, but Booker will not be the issue.
Team Stats Projections
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
To win national title: +75000
To win Pac-12: +3000
Win total: 4 (Over -113, Under -113)
2020 Against The Spread: 3-2-1
2020 Point Total: Over 3-2-1
2021 Stanford Schedule
2021 Stanford Football Schedule
|Saturday, Sep. 4||Kansas State at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX||12:00pm/FS1||SU +2/52.5|
|Saturday, Sep. 11||at USC||10:30pm/Fox||SU +14.5|
|Saturday, Sep. 18||at Vanderbilt||8:00pm/ESPNU||N/A|
|Saturday, Sep. 25||UCLA||TBA||SU +6.5|
|Saturday, Oct. 2||Oregon||TBA||N/A|
|Friday, Oct. 8||at Arizona State||10:30pm/ESPN||N/A|
|Saturday, Oct. 16||at Washington State||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Oct. 23||OPEN||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Oct. 30||Washington||TBA||N/A|
|Friday, Nov. 5||Utah||10:30pm/FS1||N/A|
|Saturday, Nov. 13||at Oregon State||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Nov. 20||California||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Nov. 27||Notre Dame||TBA||SU +10|