NCAA Football Stanford Cardinal

5 Reasons Why the Stanford Cardinal Should Be No. 1

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5 Factors That Could Lead to a No. 1 Ranking for Stanford

Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports

Any team in the top-five of the top-25 rankings has a case as to why they should be No. 1. Each one has different factors that could make them a potential No. 1 team, but they all have the same goal: make it to and win the National Championship. The Stanford Cardinal is one of those teams, as they are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation.

They will face a test this week against the No. 15 ranked, undefeated Pac-12 foe Washington Huskies. Stanford was upset by the Huskies last season and they are determined to get the win over them this year. The Huskies are not the only ranked team they will face. Stanford already beat a good Arizona State Sun Devils team that was ranked No. 23 at the time, and they will still have to face the likes of the No. 2 Oregon Ducks and a No. 12 ranked UCLA Bruins team this season. They cannot ignore the unranked Pac-12 teams though, especially those that they play on the road like the Oregon State Beavers. Anything can happen, but they will be successful if they are as good as their record suggests.

Stanford has a good case for the top spot in the rankings, including their incredibly explosive offense. That is not the only factor in Stanford’s case for No. 1, though it is a large part of it. Quarterback Kevin Hogan and his diversity are a big reason for the explosive offense and the potential success Stanford could have this season. Here are the top five reasons why Stanford should be ranked No. 1.

Jenna Aquino is a Big 10 Football writer for Follow her on Twitter, “Like” her on Facebook, or add her to your network on Google.

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No. 5 Pac-12 Success

Scott Olmos - USA Today Sports

The loss to the Huskies early last season was the only conference loss in two years for Stanford. The Pac-12 has some of the best teams in college football. The conference currently has five teams in the top 25, including two in the top five. Oregon is No. 2 and Stanford is No. 5. Getting big wins over conference teams could help them reach the No. 1 spot, and a win over Oregon on November 7 wouldn’t hurt either.

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No. 4 A More Mature Defense

Steven Bisig - USA Today Sports

Their defense has greatly improved since it crumbled against the Huskies last year. They have virtually dominated opposing teams since and haven’t broken down late like they had a habit of doing last season. What’s the reason for this? Coach David Shaw thinks it’s because they are “older, wiser at different positions. The same guys are better than they were a year ago. Just older and a year wiser, hopefully”. Stanford could potentially have the best defense in the conference, as they had in the past, though this season they have allowed 343 yards and 19.5 points per game.

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No. 3 Running Attack

Danny Wild - USA Today Sports

Senior running back Tyler Gaffney and Hogan are a good combination for the running game. Teams that have a diverse quarterback like Hogan have advantages over those that don’t have one. Stanford’s offense is more run-based anyway, though the pass has become more important recently. Gaffney has rushed the ball 72 times for 377 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. Hogan has 19 rushing attempts for 111 yards and no touchdowns.

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No. 2 Quarterback Kevin Hogan

Steven Bisig - USA Today Sports

He has thrown an interception in each of the last three games for Stanford, but has an average of 63 percent in completion percentage, has thrown for no less than 150 yards in every game so far this season and has thrown for 10 touchdowns. Oh, and his quarterback rating has him ranked fifth nationally. Hogan is ranked 11th nationally in passing efficiency, which leads all Pac-12 quarterbacks. He is not afraid to run with the ball either. Hogan has 103 yards rushing and is the team’s third-leading rusher. Stanford coach Shaw said that Hogan’s mobility allows them to be a “much more diverse offense”.

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No. 1 Offense

Robert Stanton - USA Today Sports

Yes, this could be considered one in the same with the previous slide. Hogan has been an important part of their offense, but it isn’t all about the pass, especially since the Stanford offense is considered to be more run-based than anything. However, they have started to put more emphasis on the wide receivers and their passing attack. Stanford is currently averaging more than 41 points per game. They must be doing something right.