Home Team Stanford to Cover vs. Army NCAA Football

Willie Bee

Thursday, September 11, 2014 3:32 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 3:32 PM UTC

Stanford looks to jump right back into the win column following a tough loss to Southern Cal, and SBR has a preview plus a free college football pick for the matchup with Army.

Army and Stanford used to get together fairly regularly considering their geographical gap on the globe and travel options available beginning with their first meeting in 1929. The Black Knights and Cardinal would collide eight more times between then and 1979, including a 1948 meeting at historic Yankee Stadium and four matchups in the 70s, but it would be 34 years before they met for a 10th time last season at West Point.

Army kept that meeting well inside the 30.5 point spread, and the Cardinal are hoping for a much easier win this Saturday when the Cadets travel west for a recruiting visit at Stanford Stadium.  The boot comes just as the clash between Wyoming and Oregon is finishing up on the Pac-12 Network, or a little past 5 PM (ET), whichever comes first.

This year's battle opened just about where last year's closed on the NCAA football odds, and the spread has since dropped a bit to Stanford -28.5.  Meanwhile, the total has been stagnant since 53 was first put out for bettors to wager.


Cardinal Coming Off Tough Loss To Trojans
Things started well enough for David Shaw and Stanford this year with a 45-0 blanking of UC-Davis in the opener.  The Cardinal raced to a 38-0 halftime lead, allowing Shaw to rest his starters in the second half when a late score by the backups just got the game past the 43.5 point spread Stanford backers were laying.

Defense and special teams controlled that outcome for the most part, and a UC-Davis team that upset Stanford in 2005 was absolutely no match for the Cardinal this time.

Kevin Hogan and the offense did turn it over three times to the Aggies, though that didn't hurt the Cardinal in the end. However,  mistakes last week did end up costing Stanford, in the 13-10 loss to Southern Cal.  Hogan's late fumble trying to drive the Cardinal to at least a tying score was the biggest, but by then they had already shot themselves in the foot with penalties, two drives that ended in missed field goals and another that ended with a fumble after Stanford got inside the Trojans 20.

The loss to USC certainly damages Stanford's Pac-12 title hopes, along with any national championship aspirations after beginning the season ranked 10th by the coaches.  But it doesn't end both dreams, and the good news coming out of the Trojans game was no new injuries for the Cardinal.


Knights Pick Up Win In New Coach's Debut
Army can go 1-11 every year, and as long as that one win comes against Navy, the Black Knights' season has been a success.  Still, nobody's complaining about last week's 47-39 victory over Buffalo in Jeff Monken's head coaching debut at West Point.  Army was running away with the contest early in the final stanza with a 30-point advantage before the Bulls started a mad rally that fell short.

A new coach at West Point hasn't changed a thing as far as the Army offense goes.  The Black Knights are still running the option, though they did complete all seven of their passes against Buffalo along with the 54 rush attempts.

There will be a few clouds over Stanford Stadium come Saturday afternoon, but nothing that will bring rain.  The two o'clock local start should be at the warmest point of the day, the thermometer expected to read 83ºF with a NW blow in the 10-14 mph range.

Stanford's 34-20 win at Army last September, the teams' first meeting in 34 years, knotted this series at 5-5.  The Cardinal fumbled heir opening possession to set up one Knights field goal, then went 3-&-out on the next possession to get off to a slow start.  It'll be huge news if the Cardinal don't take a 6-5 lead after this Saturday, and I'm going to bite the bullet with my free college football pick with a play on the home team.

College Football Pick: Stanford -28. at 5Dimes

Season: 4-5 (-1.5)

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