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Football predictions: Stanford vs. Washington
Stanford has only reached the red zone five times this year, making it dead last among 128 FBS teams. Can the Cardinal offense step up the way it did on the final drive against UCLA to put points on the board at Washington? (SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily)

Football predictions: Stanford vs. Washington

Congratulations to Ivana Hong from Menlo Park, California, the winner of last week’s Stanford Daily Football Predictions Challenge, presented by Chef Chu’s.

No. 7 Stanford (3-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at Washington (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) 

Vihan Lakshman: Washington 24, Stanford 19

The Cardinal will be against the ropes for much of this fight. Playing in the absurdly loud confines of a sellout Husky Stadium crowd without its two starting corners, starting fullback and a top receiver – not to mention the questionable statuses of Greg Taboada and Brandon Fanaika – Stanford will face a slew of challenging match-ups all over the field. Alameen Murphy and Terrence Alexander are extremely solid starting corners, but staying in front of Huskies receiver John Ross, whom David Shaw called the fastest opposing receiver in the conference, will be quite the challenge for 60 minutes.

Washington also loves their slot receivers and tight ends and look equipped to take advantage of Stanford’s coverage issues amongst their linebackers and safeties. On the other side, the Huskies defense is downright nasty, especially in the secondary, who can hold their own and allow the UW front to concentrate on stopping the Cardinal rushing attack. And, as the cherry on top, Washington still has Chris Petersen, whose reputation coaching in big games speaks for itself. Stanford will be in this game to the very end, but the combination of injuries and a cold, hostile road environment will be too much to overcome Friday night.

Andrew Mather: Washington 17, Stanford 16

I’m honestly not picking a Stanford loss here because I think Washington is the better team. The Huskies have done nowhere near enough to earn a top-10 ranking this season, and Arizona showed last week that they aren’t invincible defensively. Instead, my prediction comes from my legitimate concern about the state of the Stanford offense. Before the game-winning drive last Saturday, Ryan Burns seemed like he could hardly hit an 18-wheeler from the pocket at times, and UCLA’s front seven demonstrated that the battle in the trenches may not be as one sided as the first two games led me to believe.

I don’t expect either team to run away with this game, but I suppose I’m worried about the odds finally catching up to Stanford in contests that come down to the wire. Ever since Boise State executed its infamous statue of liberty play to win the Fiesta Bowl in 2007, Chris Peterson’s teams have always shown that they can finish close games, and quite frankly I’m going to feel a whole lot less comfortable than I was last weekend if the Cardinal find themselves within a possession of the Huskies late in the fourth quarter. It’s been a pretty long time since Stanford last lost to the Huskies, but I would not be shocked if something like that nerve-racking 2012 upset plays out this weekend in Seattle. Washington scores late and stops a last second Cardinal comeback effort to take the lead in the Pac-12 North.

Do-Hyoung Park: Stanford 15, Washington 10

So let me get this straight: Both guys above me expect the Washington offense to have more success against Stanford’s defense than UCLA? I don’t buy it. I won’t believe that Washington’s offense is for real until I see it take on an actual defense (no offense to Rutgers/Idaho/Portland State/Arizona), and even without Alijah Holder and Quenton Meeks, Stanford has two experienced corners in Alameen Murphy and Terrence Alexander. Do I expect Jake Browning to be able to do what Josh Rosen couldn’t do? Nope. Remember that this defense has allowed three touchdowns in three games. I’ll admit that I’m very worried about the offense, but I think the Cardinal will mix things up with more designed runs for Ryan Burns and misdirection plays with McCaffrey and Love to keep the fierce Washington defense guessing. The offense won’t move the ball all too well, but it’ll do enough, bolstered by at least one big return on special teams.

By the way, did you know that Stanford has only reached the red zone five times this season, dead last among all 128 teams in the FBS? They’ve relied on the big play to score points, and you can bet this Washington secondary isn’t giving up big plays. I’ll say the inability for the offense to finish drives will continue, but Conrad Ukropina will kick five field goals to push the Cardinal to an ugly win that’s going to make you want to take a shower to rinse yourself of the memories.

Have your own predictions? Submit them in this week’s Stanford Daily Football Predictions Challenge for a chance to win a $50 Chef Chu’s gift card and be featured in the next football predictions article:

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