Round one is over. Round two begins. The Cardinal kick off the second half of the season against their first ranked opponent of the season. No. 25 Washington presents a little more pop on offense than the Cardinal have seen this season, but recent history suggests it's nothing the Cardinal coaching staff and players won't be able to adjust to. And let's face it, you always have to win your homecoming game (except if you are Washington State. Good call scheduling Stanford). Defense will be the difference in this one as Stanford stretches the nation's longest winning streak to 15.
Prediction: Stanford 42, Washington 17
Why they'll win: Pass rush, pass rush and more pass rush. Good teams get to the quarterback and protect their own. Stanford is the best in the country at protecting their guy and one of the best in the nation at getting to the other guy. That's key No. 1. Key No. 2, as previously mentioned, this is homecoming and it's a sold out crowd. Several key alums are scheduled to make an appearance, a few members of the 49ers coaching staff (coach David Shaw wouldn't reveal which ones) will be making an appearance. Plus there are a lot of eyes on this game. They'll never admit it publicly, but the Cardinal have to be dying to show people what they can do.
In the spotlight: Who else? The tight ends. They showed last week that they can carry this team on their broad, tall backs. The triplet of Coby Fleener, Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz have been playfully dubbed "The Tree Amigos" by their teammates and are Stanford's premier offensive weapon. Running back Stepfan Taylor is the reliable car that never breaks down. These three are the sports cars that go cruising past you and all you can do is watch. Look for another big game out of the big three.
Out on a limb: The streak will continue, but which one?
The win streak? Yes.
The 12 straight games of yielding 20 points or less? Yes.
A first quarter shutout? Yes.
A 10th straight game of winning by 25 or more? Well, sticking with my prediction, then yes.
Guess I'll rephrase. The streaks will continue.