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4. Stanford

Expectations are skyrocketing for last year's Rose Bowl champs. The Cardinal, behind one of the top defenses in the country, are again expected to clash with Oregon for the Pac-12 North title. The defense returns most of the key playmakers from last year's squad that led the nation in sacks per game and was second in tackles for loss per game -- including linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy. Quarterback Kevin Hogan will be asked to do more in his first full season as a starter. The Cardinal have potential but inexperience at wide receiver, and they'll go by committee as they replace running back Stepfan Taylor. Having one of the best offensive lines in the country should help. -- Kevin Gemmell


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