The #21 Stanford Cardinal (0-0) will visit the Northwestern Wildcats (0-0) on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. The game will televise at 12 pm ET on ESPN. The current odds list Stanford as a 12-point favorite with the over/under set at 47.5.
Senior quarterback Kevin Hogan will return to the team this year in hopes of a better season then last year where the team went just 8-5. He will bring experience with him this year and will look to get the running game more involved. Christian McCaffrey returns as running back and will look to improve on a very disappointing 2014. The biggest problem that Stanford will face with is on defense. They lost their entire starting defensive line and secondary. Last year, Stanford’s defense held opponents to under 17 points per game.
Justin Jackson will return as running back for the Wildcats after a very good freshman year where he managed to rush for over 1100 yards and added 10 touchdowns. Christian Jones will return as wide receiver after missing 2014 with a torn ACL. It appears as though Clayton Thorson will be the starting quarterback after beating out senior Zack Oliver and sophomore Matt Alviti for the starting position. Northwestern will rely heavy on the running game where they will hope Jackson can have another repeat performance.
My Pick: Stanford -12
Stanford will return this year with a solid offense. Again, the big question mark is on their defense and how they will perform throughout the season. Northwestern has a weak quarterback, or at least an unknown, and will rely on the running game to get them through. If Stanford can get out to an early lead, Northwestern will be forced to throw the ball more and that could be a recipe for disaster.