Remember our vow to call out national sports sources that don’t give Stanford and its athletes their proper due? Well, today that vow forces us to call your attention to Sports Illustrated‘s Stewart Mandel. In his preseason PAC-10 Conference Report on SI.com, Mandel predicts that Cardinal football will go 7-5 overall and just 5-4 in the PAC-10 this season. That record puts the Card at 5th in the conference (behind Washington, USC, Arizona, Oregon State, and favorite Oregon) and barely in position to play in a bowl game.
It may have been forgivable (albeit questionable) for Mandel to put Oregon or Oregon State above Stanford. Arizona is the chic BCS pick out of the PAC-10 this year, but Nick Foles simply isn’t the same caliber quarterback as Andrew Luck, and the Arizona defense is shaky at best.
Tons of sportswriters are still in bed with Southern California, but they seem to forget that the Trojans played in the Emerald Bowl last year, lost their head coach, replaced him with a schmuck who is disliked by his own mother, can’t play in any bowl this year or next, and reek of a program on the downswing. And Washington? Other than gunslinger and exceptional NFL prospect Jake Locker, the Huskies are above average at best, and realistically mediocre.
To add insult to injury (well, more like insult to insult in this case), Mandel wrote the following of the Arizona-Stanford game on November 6th, which he labels a Key Conference Game: “If the [Arizona] Wildcats hope to get over the hump and contend for a title, they need to start winning road games like this.” Reading between the lines: don’t screw up, Wildcats. [Read our game-by-game predictions for the 2010 season here.] Sure, Mandel chose Andrew Luck as the magazine’s preseason all-PAC-10 quarterback, and chose a couple of Cardinal offensive linemen to protect Luck on that hypothetical squad. But honestly, Stewart, please pay a little more attention to the Cardinal.