Another year, another season of high expectations for the Stanford Cardinal, who are expected to contend for a Pac-12 championship and produce a major Heisman Trophy contender. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


The American-Statesman’s Top 25: No. 8 Stanford

Posted July 23rd, 2016


Sure, it’s just July. But it’s never too early to talk college football. Here’s your daily fix — our eighth annual countdown of the preseason Top 25, as selected by the American-Statesman sports staff. Last season’s four College Football Playoff semifinalists were rated Nos. 3, 6, 13 and 24 on our 2015 list.

Today’s team: No. 8 Stanford (Related coverage: Shaw: Stanford quarterback battle will be about results, not stats)

The Cardinal will contend if … they fill several holes — most notably on the offensive line and at quarterback — while keeping junior running back Christian McCaffrey in contention for the Heisman Trophy.



Coach: David Shaw (sixth year, 54-14)

2015: 12-2, 8-1 in the Pac-12; beat Iowa in the Rose Bowl 45-16

Returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense

The key game: Oct. 15 at Notre Dame

Hello: RB Christian McCaffrey; WR Michael Rector; DB Quenton Meeks

Goodbye: OL Joshua Garnett (San Francisco 49ers); QB Kevin Hogan (Kansas City Chiefs); TE Austin Hooper (Atlanta Falcons)

Spring cleaning: Stanford had five players taken in the NFL Draft, including three — offensive lineman Joshua Garnett (49ers, 1st round), tight end Austin Hooper (Falcons, 3rd) and offensive tackle Kyle Murphy (Packers, 6th) — spent time blocking for running back Christian McCaffrey in 2015. … Stanford’s 2016 recruiting class, was rated 16th best in the country by 247Sports’ composite poll. … Senior defensive back Zach Hoffpauir returns to the secondary after skipping the 2015 season to play baseball in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who finished as the runner-up in last year's Heisman Trophy voting, returns for the Cardinal this season. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who finished as the runner-up in last year’s Heisman Trophy voting, returns for the Cardinal this season. (Harry How/Getty Images)


Passing: Keller Chryst, 5-9-59 yards, 1/0 (2nd)

Rushing: Christian McCaffrey, 337-2,019-8 (1st)

Receiving: RB Christian McCaffrey, 45-645-5 (1st); WR Michael Rector, 34-559-7 (2nd)

Tackles: DB Dallas Lloyd, 55 (3rd)

Sacks: OLB Mike Tyler, 5 (2nd)


Offense: RB Christian McCaffrey (1st team RB, RET)

Defense: None


  • Stanford’s only Heisman Trophy was won by quarterback Jim Plunkett in 1970, but McCaffrey — the second-place finisher in last year’s voting — should contend again this season. McCaffrey set a school record with his 2,019 rushing yards and accounted for the school’s best (243 yards vs. UCLA), sixth-best (207 yards vs. USC) and seventh-best (206 yards vs. Oregon State) rushing performances. Oddly enough, he only had eight rushing touchdowns.
  • Hogan was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, but the four-year starter won’t be forgotten on or off the field (Stanford’s quarterback coaching position has been endowed in his honor). Keller Chryst, a junior, threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game while senior Ryan Burns had two touchdown tosses and 153 yards.
  • Stanford has gone 10-3 at home over the last two seasons, and the toughest of its six home games this year will be against preseason-ranked USC and Washington State. Stanford lost only once at home from 2010-13.

Stanford's 2016 schedule

DateOpponentLast yr's result (if played)
Sept. 2Kansas State
Sept. 17USC*W, 41-31
Sept. 24at UCLA*W, 56-35
Sept. 30at Washington*W, 31-14
Oct. 8Washington State*W, 30-28
Oct. 15at Notre Dame*W, 38-36
Oct. 22Colorado*W, 42-10
Oct. 29at Arizona*W, 55-17
Nov. 5Oregon State*W, 42-24
Nov. 12at Oregon*L, 38-36
Nov. 19at Cal*W, 35-22
Nov. 26Rice
* Pac-12 game

Stanford: The last 5 years

201512-2 / 8-121st / 3rdRose Bowl, W
20148-5 / 5-411th / —Foster Farms Bowl, W
201311-3 / 7-24th / 11thRose Bowl, L
201212-2 / 8-121st / 7thRose Bowl, W
201111-2 / 8-17th / 7thFiesta Bowl, L
Total54-14, 36-95 bowl games (3-2)
Note: Ranks are that year’s preseason/final ranking.



Scoring: 18th (37.8 ppg)

Scoring defense: 32nd (22.6 ppg)

Passing yards: 76th (211.8 ypg)

Rushing yards: 19th (223.7 ypg)


No. 25: Washington State

No. 24: Boise State

No. 23: Louisville

No. 22: Oklahoma State

No. 21: Oregon

No. 20: North Carolina

No. 19: Baylor

No. 18: Iowa

No. 17: Washington

No. 16: Georgia

No. 15: Michigan State

No. 14: USC

No. 13: TCU

No. 12: Ole Miss

No. 11: Houston

No. 10: Notre Dame

No. 9: Tennessee

No. 8: Stanford

No. 7: Coming Sunday. Want a hint? This school just had 12 players taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, including three in the top 10.


5 schools: Pac-12 (8-Stanford, 14-USC, 17-Washington, 21-Oregon, 25-Washington State)

3 schools: Big 12 (13-TCU, 19-Baylor, 22-Oklahoma State); SEC (9-Tennessee, 12-Ole Miss, 16-Georgia)

2 schools: ACC (20-North Carolina, 23-Louisville); Big Ten (15-Michigan State, 18-Iowa)

1 school: AAC (11-Houston); Mountain West (24-Boise State); Independents (10-Notre Dame)