Week 1 Stanford Cardinal vs. Rice Owls NCAAF Odds & TV InfoWhen: Saturday, Aug. 26, 10 PM ET Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney TV: ESPN Stream: Watch ESPN Radio: Tunein.com Opening College Football Lines: Stanford -31 (51)
Clear 16°C/60°F Humidity 48% Precipitation % 2% Cloud Cover 9% Wind 11 mph SW Stadium Type N/A Wind Field Impact N/A
Why Bet On Stanford?The Cardinal lost one of the best players in school history in running back and former Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey, but they will be a very good team again. The key will be what happens at quarterback and if Bryce Love can fill McCaffrey’s big shoes as the primary ball carrier.
After a disappointing last season on attack in which Stanford ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in points per game, the Cardinal have made elevating their offensive game a priority during the offseason. Senior Keller Chryst is expected to start under center. After taking the lion’s share of the starting position at the end of last year, Chryst helped steer the Cardinal to a five-game winning streak to close out the regular season and showed progress and glimpses of potential down the stretch.
STANFORD CARDINAL TEAM STATISTICSOffensive total yards 367.08 Current Offensive rush yards 208.38 Offensive passing yards 158.691 Average Score For 26.31 Defensive total yards 368.08 Current Defensive rush yards 144.46 Defensive passing yards 223.62 Average Score Against 20.38
Defensively, the centerpiece of the front seven is outside linebacker Joey Alfieri, who is one of the most versatile defenders the Cardinal have had in years. He posted 5.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss last year. The defensive front must be retooled after Solomon Thomas’ departure.
Consequently, Harrison Phillips is the anchor, but a second playmaker must emerge. Led by cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder and safety Justin Reid, Stanford’s secondary should be the best in the Pac-12 and one of the top units in the country.
Thus, Stanford will have a bye week between its season opener and its conference opener (USC on Sept. 9). The game against the Trojans will start a span of 11 games in 12 weeks, a stretch that could extend to 12 games in 13 weeks if the Cardinal qualify for the Pac-12 championship game Dec. 1.
Why Bet On Rice?This was to be held at Rice but ESPN coughed up some money to move it to Australia and up a week. California and Hawaii drew 61,247 fans to ANZ Stadium last year, and while there are less seats available at Allianz (approx. 45,000), it was deemed an appropriate location.
In addition, after going 3-9 in 2016, Coach David Bailiff decided a change was needed on defense, as he brought in a new coordinator who will replace the head coach’s customary 4-2-5 scheme. Brian Stewart worked to transition to a 3-4 defense this offseason after the Owls allowed 504.5 yards per game last year, which ranked 123rd out of 128 teams in Division I.
On the other hand, linebackers Emmanuel Ellerbee (118) and Alex Lyons (91) combined for 209 tackles last year, the most by a pair at Rice since Larry Izzo (122) and Jay Lamy combined for 219 in 1995 and rank as the seventh best effort since 1975.
RICE OWLS TEAM STATISTICSOffensive total yards 384.58 Current Offensive rush yards 169.67 Offensive passing yards 214.92 Average Score For 25.25 Defensive total yards 504.50 Current Defensive rush yards 216.83 Defensive passing yards 287.67 Average Score Against 37.33
Rice will be led by freshman quarterback Sam Glaesmann, who won the role in preseason ahead of John Tyler Granato and Jackson Tyner. Glaesmann hasn’t taken a live snap since he suited up for his Waco high school team two years back. He is the first redshirt freshman to open the season as the Owls’ starting quarterback since 2010.
Moreover, Glaesmann will have the benefit of working behind an experienced offensive line. All five starters are either juniors or seniors and have a combined 92 starts in their careers. Senior center Trey Martin and junior tackle Calvin Anderson were both named to preseason all-conference teams.
Furthemore, Rice closed last season with a 41-17 loss at No. 24 Stanford. McCaffrey wound up with 271 all-purpose yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception and a 19-yard touchdown run. It was his 19th career 100-yard rushinrg game and fifth 200-yard effort. The Cardinal finished with 373 rushing yards, including a 62-yard touchdown dash by Chryst and a 50-yard scoring run by Love. Rice still leads the all-time series 3-2.