By Jonathan Okanes
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 12:33 pm in off-season stuff.
No. 5: Stanford. Jim Harbaugh has brought the Cardinal back to respectability much faster than most expected, and with a good nucleus of returners, Stanford appears poised to crack the upper half of the conference. The Cardinal went 5-7 last season, notching good wins over Oregon State and Arizona and suffering narrow road losses to Notre Dame, UCLA and Oregon. Toby Gerhart was a revelation at running back and the Cardinal hopes the passing game improves with the introduction of redshirt freshman Andrew Luck at quarterback. Granted, Luck has no college experience, but it is believed he has all the physical tools to excel. Stanford, much like Cal, still needs to find some playmaking receivers. The defense should once again be solid, with Clinton Snyder anchoring the linebacking corps and defensive ends Tom Keiser and Erik Lorig providing a pretty good pass rush tandem. Safety Bo McNally is underrated. The Cardinal also brought in a nationally acclaimed recruiting class, and a few true freshmen could make an impact immediately.