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Stanford Cardinal season preview

8/12/2014

Previewing the 2014 season for the Stanford Cardinal.

2013 record: 11-3, 7-2 in Pac-12; lost to Michigan State 24-20 in the Rose Bowl

Final grade for 2013: A-minus. The Cardinal finished the BCS era as the lone school to appear in BCS bowls the final four years, but would have preferred to have been back-to-back Rose Bowl champions.

Key returnees: QB Kevin Hogan, LT Andrus Peat, WR Ty Montgomery, DE Henry Anderson, LB A.J. Tarpley, S Jordan Richards

Key losses: RB Tyler Gaffney, LG David Yankey, RT Cam Fleming, FB Ryan Hewitt, DE Ben Gardner, LB Shayne Skov, LB Trent Murphy, S Ed Reynolds

Instant impact newcomer: RB Christian McCaffrey

Projected winning percentage (ESPN Stats & Information): .680

Chances to win the conference (ESPN Stats & Information): 6.2 percent

Best-case scenario: 14-0

Worst-case scenario: 7-6

Over-under win total (Bovada): 8.5

Biggest question mark: What kind of impact will losing linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy -- and defensive coordinator Derek Mason -- have on the defense?

Most important game: Nov. 1 at Oregon. Until proved otherwise, this has the appearance of the most important game in the Pac-12.

Upset special: Sept. 27 at Washington. Stanford lost its last game against the Huskies in Seattle and will see a fired-up team looking to break up the Oregon/Stanford stranglehold on the division.

They said it: "It doesn't matter. I don't use it as motivation. I don't get happy or sad about it. It is what it is. I might pick Oregon also. Who knows?" -- Coach David Shaw on Oregon getting picked to win the conference.