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Pac-12 Game Preview: Stanford vs. San Jose State


Even after losing Andrew Luck to the NFL last season, the Stanford Cardinal still managed to exceed expectations by defeating the mighty Oregon Ducks and winning the Pac-12 title. But can they do it again? With several returning stars, they certainly should be in the mix and there’s no doubt that winning their opener would bolster their confidence in gunning for the Pac-12’s top prize for a second straight year.

However, while other schools have seemingly taken the cupcake route to start 2013, the Cardinal will take on a very underrated San Jose State Spartans team that finished 2012 with an 11-2 record. One of those loses did come against the Cardinal in last season’s opener, but the Spartans showed they had plenty of fight as they eventually fell by a score of 20-17.

The Cardinal will likely be tougher to deal with in Palo Alto this time around, but with star David Fales back at QB for the Spartans, they should at least be a worthy adversary for Stanford once again.

Of course, Stanford has its own star under center in Kevin Hogan, who earned the starting job midway through last season, winning the team’s remaining five games – four of which came against ranked teams. His experience against strong opponents should serve the Cardinal well, but he won’t have running back Stepfan Taylor – who went to the NFL this season – to lean on when things get rough.

Defensively, the Cardinal should have a significant edge as well. Last season, Stanford fielded one of the best defenses in the nation, while the Spartans struggled at times to keep explosive teams at bay. However, San Jose State is off to a good start on that side of the ball this year, as it shut out its first opponent, Sacramento State, last Saturday.

With home field, a stout defense and offensive stars, there’s no doubt that Stanford should be the favorite today, but the -25-point line seems far too generous against a capable team like San Jose State. As mentioned above, the Spartans nearly beat the Cardinal a year ago and with a veteran-laden team coming into today’s game with a 1-0 record this season, it’s clear that the Spartans are better than they were this time last year.

Look for Stanford to earn its first win of the season, but for San Jose State to cover +25 in defeat.

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