The Stanford Cardinal continue their campaign for a Pac-12 title Saturday when they take on the fledgling Colorado Buffaloes on the road.
The Cardinal sit at 6-2 after their first eight games in the post-Andrew Luck era, and could easily be 8-0 if they had a few breaks go their way against Washington and Notre Dame. The Buffaloes, on the other hand, are 1-7 and are fending off the title of Worst Team in the Country.
Nationally, this game doesn't hold much relevance, but it does give the Cardinal the opportunity to get prepared for huge matchups with Oregon State and Oregon in the coming weeks. Coming out with a win and remaining healthy will be key for the Stanford.
Here's a look at all you need to know about this Pac-12 tilt.
When: Saturday, November 3 at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado
Watch: FX (check local listings)
Live Stream: Pac-12 Network
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 51, Spread: Colorado (+28)
It's no surprise that the Buffs are huge underdogs here. Even at home they've given up ridiculous amounts of points and are coming off a 70-14 loss to Oregon. Considering Stanford's offense is a far cry from Oregon's explosive unit, the Cardinal may have a hard time getting this game to hit the over.
Stanford will pick up the win, but it may not cover. Twenty-eight points is a huge spread—even against Colorado—and it can't afford to make any mistakes. The points might be the better option here.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Ty Montgomery, WR, Questionable
Geoff Menken, FB, Out Indefinitely
Cole Underwood, T, Out for Season
Paul Richardson, WR, Out for Season
BCS/Top 25 Implications
The BCS and Top 25 are the furthest thing from the mind of Colorado, as it has no shot of making an appearance in either this season. At 1-7, the average score to a Colorado game is a 28-point loss. They do, however, still have the opportunity to ruin someone else's season.
The Stanford Cardinal are one of the best two-loss teams in the country. Some would argue that they should be a one-loss team if it weren't for a somewhat controversial call when Stanford played Notre Dame.
Fortunately for the Cardinal, a road to the BCS still exists. If they can win out with games against the Buffs, Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA, they'd be in the Pac-12 championship game with a Top 10 ranking. That all starts with beating Colorado this weekend.
Stanford Player to Watch: Stepfan Taylor, RB
As Taylor goes, so goes Stanford. When the stud running back gets going, the offense is a headache for any defensive coordinator.
In losses to Washington and Notre Dame, Taylor was held to under four yards per carry. Washington State came close to upsetting the Cardinal because they were able to bottle Taylor up and force Josh Nunes to throw the ball.
Every time Taylor has had a bad game this season, he's sprung for at least 140 yards and a touchdown in the followup game. He's only 96 yards from his third 1,000-yard rushing campaign, so expect to see him put up a big game.
Colorado Player to Watch: Christian Powell, RB
In an absolutely dreadful season for Colorado, freshman running back Christian Powell may be the only silver lining.
The Buffaloes' offense has been anemic for most of the season, but they may have found their featured back for years to come in Powell. At 6'0", 235 pounds, Powell is a load to bring down and can grind out yardage between the tackles.
For an offense with inconsistent quarterback play, a power running game is huge. Expect the Buffs to turn to Powell early and often in hopes of keeping this game close.
Prediction: Stanford 30, Colorado 7
Despite two heart-breaking losses, Stanford still has too much to play for to lose focus and drop a game like this.
The Buffaloes are simply a mess right now, and there isn't too much they can do to even keep most games competitive in the Pac-12. That being said, Stanford loves the run game and won't be likely to spring for 70 like Oregon did last week.
Taylor should lead the way as the Cardinal win this game comfortably without running up the score.