The past 10 meetings between Stanford and USC have been some of the best games in the conference those years. As we prepare for another battle, we talked to Charlie Foy of Rule of Tree to get more insight about the Cardinal.
1) Stanford has become one of the premier programs in the nation however they haven’t reached that next step yet? How can they get to the CFB Playoff and whats been the problem in recent years?
Stanford has pretty much dominated since 2010 and has come very, very close to making the National Championship or CFB Playoff. Every year, Stanford seems to lose one fluke game, ruining their national title hopes. For example, they lost last year versus Northwestern, lost to Washington in 2012, and Utah in 2013 all early in the year. Stanford can’t start the year slow again and needs to start finding rhythm early so that they dominate starting at the beginning of the season.
2) This is scary to think about but can Christian McCaffrey be better than last year?
I definitely think Christian McCaffrey will be better this year. I don’t think he’ll break his own record for all purpose yards because he’ll probably get less touches, but he could come very close. He’s a little bit bigger, faster, and more experienced, but most importantly, he has fire after losing the Heisman. His best game last year was against Iowa, following his Heisman loss. He’s more motivated than ever; Christian McCaffrey will be better in 2016.
3) Tell me about Ryan Burns. Is he better than Kevin Hogan?
Kevin Hogan was a fantastic quarterback for Stanford and will be very hard to replace. He won Stanford two Rose Bowls and was a four year starter. Ryan Burns could be better eventually, but he definitely isn’t at the moment; he simply lacks the experience. Ryan Burns looked outstanding in the first half versus Kansas State but struggled in the second. Ryan Burns is a solid quarterback, but he is not better than Kevin Hogan.
4) Defense lost some pieces but they reload, who are some names to watch out for?
Stanford’s defense is better than last year. Yes, they lost Blake Martinez, but they were also very young last year. This year, Stanford’s defense is more experience and is led by defensive end Solomon Thomas and outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi. Thomas is a budding young star while Kalambayi brings the experience. Quenton Meeks led the team last year in interceptions as a freshman. Alijah Holder returns after a promising redshirt freshman year. Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder are just two names in a deep secondary.
5) X-factor and prediction.
Stanford will need to take pressure off of Christian McCaffrey. Bryce Love and Ryan Burns will both be that solution. Love didn’t play versus Kansas State, but he is expected to be ready against USC. Love shined in the spring game and gives Stanford a dynamic playmaker. USC will focus a lot of attention on Christian McCaffery after last year’s PAC 12 Championship, and Love will need to step up. Burns will face a tough secondary for the first time, and he’ll need to avoid making turnovers. Predicition: Stanford leads the entire game but doesn’t dominate USC. Stanford wins 24-17.
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