Stanford Looks to Start Season Strong Against Kansas StateBy David A.
On Friday, Week 1 of the 2016 college football regular season continues when the Kansas State Wildcats visit the No. 7 ranked Stanford Cardinal. The current line on top sportsbooks has Stanford favored by 14 points with the over/under point total sitting on 48.5.
After a loss to open the season last year that was very costly, Stanford looks to avoid the same misstep to open this season. Christian McCaffrey, the junior running back for Stanford returns to lead the offense that won both the Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl game but missed the College Football Playoff.
This game will have two quarterbacks that have yet to prove themselves. Ryan Burns a senior will start for Stanford, while Jesse Ertz a junior will be the starting signal caller for Kansas State. Ertz started the opener last season for the Wildcats, but suffered a knee injury that ended his season.
However, most eyes will be focused on last season’s Heisman Trophy runner up McCaffrey. He broke the all-purpose yards record for one season that was held by Barry Sanders with 3,864 yards last season. His workload should be similar this season.
Ertz has not thrown a pass during a football game at the college level but was given the start over Alex Delton and Joe Hubener, but all three might see playing time on Friday. The K-State receivers are inexperienced but Bryon Pringle is a junior college transfer who should lead that group.
The Wildcats defense gave up 452 yards and over 31 points per game during last season.
Burns is a senior signal caller who stands 6-foot-5 but has thrown just one pass in college. He replaced Kevin Hogan who was drafted into the NFL this past spring.
Burns, besides McCaffrey, will have help offensively from wide receivers Trenton Irwin and Michael Rector and Dalton Schultz the starting tight end.
Stanford’s defense forced only 14 turnovers all of last season. However, it returns six of its starters, including Solomon Thomas a junior defensive end who recorded 10.5 tackles for a loss a season ago.
Since 2008, the Cardinal at home is 46-6.
Stanford is a perfect 15-0 over its last 15 games played at home versus non-Pac-12 opponents.
Prediction: Stanford has a new quarterback, but the best all around offensive player in Christian McCaffrey. .Lean here toward the Cardinal to cover.