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Card Tricks

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Card Tricks last won the day on January 6 2016

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  1. Who is the Best Coach in the P12?

    1. Darnold 2. Herbert 3. Falk 4. Rosen 5. Browning 6. Wilkins 7. Huntley 8. Tate 9. Chryst 10. Montez 11. Bowers 12. Garretson
  2. Utah @ USC

    Agree x 1,000,000. With an annual bowl game against the ACC, there's no reason why we can't arrange one against the SEC. Play it at one of the fancy stadiums in Texas and matchup up the #2 team from the Pac-12 versus the #3/4 team from the SEC
  3. Utah @ USC

    Feel free to visit the Stanford/Oregon thread, where I shed some light on the matter. Bottom line- I still believe Washington is the team to beat. Outside of last night's clunker, they've been the model of consistency this year. Their D actually played at the same elite level they've been playing at all season, it was only the offense that let down. The state of Arizona has always presented some weird voodoo #Pac12AfterDark-type woes for them and I think that played some kind of role in last night's upset. Chris Peterson will get his guys back on track and have them ready for the home stretch in November. Not writing off Stanford's chances but I still think Washington is a step above everyone else in the North, even after last night.
  4. A Once-Great Rivalry: Oregon @ Stanford

    Who would have thought that Stanford could find themselves at the top of the Pac-12 North standings after just one weekend? Our pole positioning is a bit of a sham right now seeing as how we have yet to beat any teams with less than two losses. However, this team certainly appears to be improving like many David Shaw-coached teams tend to do over the course of the season. I believed before the season started that we had a lot of upside based on the talent and experience returning. Which is why I was so shocked to see us perform so poorly against USC and SDSU. I still believe this team has some very significant weaknesses (i.e.- poor run D, underwhelming QB play). But after last night, it's pretty clear that the division and the conference as a whole is much more winnable that it looked just a week ago. Bryce Love left the game after just one half with an injury but still managed to pile up 142 rushing yards. It's disappointing to think how many he could have gotten had he stayed healthy. My guess is at least 200. While he still leads the nation in rushing yards by a decided margin, he'll need all the help he can get winning over Heisman voters (many of whom, have already decided Saquon Barkley is their guy). The bye week comes at a good time in the sense that Love won't miss any opportunities to keep racking up yards and should be good to go against Oregon State. But it's going to take some monster games down the stretch against the likes of Wazzu, Washington, and Notre Dame if he has any chance of doing what Gerhart, Luck (x2), and McCaffrey could not. One last observation from yesterday's game: Keller Chryst looked GOOD. The stat line may not impress anyone (181 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) but he delivered the ball with confidence and accuracy all night and converted multiple 3rd and longs. This was the best Chryst has looked all year and that includes the Rice game. A part of me is inclined to write off this performance because Oregon is struggling so badly right now. But their pass defense came into the game ranked in the Top 20 with the #1 overall sack total. Stunningly, despite losing our top two left tackles to injury, we surrendered zero sacks for the 4th straight game. With Chryst delivering the ball with poise and confidence (finally!), this team is starting to bear less and less resemblance to the one that went down against the Trojans and the Aztecs. Keep this up and they may just find themselves in the thick of the Pac-12 race by season's end. I still believe Washington is the team to beat but I'm much more optimistic about our chances than I was a few weeks ago.
  5. A Once-Great Rivalry: Oregon @ Stanford

    Correct. But with Oregon's dramatic fall from grace and Stanford's disappointing performance in 2016, it already feels like eons ago. Don't forget this is a "what have you done for me now" world we now live in. And neither one of these teams has done anything of significance for quite some time.
  6. Doesn't seem like all that long ago that Oregon vs. Stanford used to be the premier matchup in the Pac-12 year in and year out. Say what you will about how weak the rest of the league was at that time, comparatively, but there was just something uniquely special about that era. The era that featured once in a generation players like Andrew Luck and LaMichael James. The era that gave us all those heavyweight fights that often decided the conference, if not the National Championship. The era that now feels squarely in the review mirror with the Washington Huskies now dominating the conference on the same level that Oregon and Stanford once did. I actually have no problem with Washington returning to an elite level. Things were getting a bit... stale atop the Pac-12 North with the minimal resistance we were fielding from our division rivals. Washington entering the fray only adds to the intrigue and makes for a stronger Pac-12. What's unfortunate, however, is that their breakthrough year happened to coincide with our programs taking a sizable step back. All that did was make the task of supplanting us all the more effortless. There was once a time where I believed that any non-Oregon/Stanford team would have to truly earn it in order to take back the division (let alone the conference). But Washington basically sleep walked their way through a very down Pac-12 last season and looks to do the same this year. Wazzu and potentially USC may be able to provide some resistance along the way. But I don't expect either one of them to truly challenge the Huskies in the way that our programs would have been able to just a few short years ago. Just imagine the 2016/17 Huskies squaring off against the 2010/12 Ducks or Cardinal. Now that would have been a helluva game! Instead the best we can hope for at this point is to keep it close late in the 4th quarter. My how times have changed. Fast forward to 2017 where Oregon and Stanford enter their matchup with two losses each (a far cry from the undefeated and/or 1-loss teams that would typically clash in past matchups). From a Stanford perspective, let's start with the biggest storyline: K.J. Costello is no longer the starter. Despite acquitting himself very well in Keller Chryst's absence, Shaw's conservative nature does not permit him to continue riding the hot hand of the talented but inexperienced freshman. Fans had been clamoring for Costello to get his shot after the giant turd Chryst laid on the field against SDSU. And even though it took an injury to Chryst to make that happen, he ignited the offense in a way that we hadn't seen thus far this season (the glorified scrimmage against Rice notwithstanding). However, once Chryst cleared concussion protocol last week, Shaw promoted him back to QB1 without a moment's hesitation and only gave Costello about three offensive series in total before turning the offense back over to Chryst the rest of the way. The quarterback "competition", as it turns out, was a competition in name only. Costello could have put up Mariota-esque numbers the last two weeks and I bet you Shaw would have handed the job back over to Chryst just as quickly. That's just who David Shaw is: mind-numbingly conservative and stubborn as a Peruvian pack mule. Now that I'm done with my quarterback rant, let's dive into some of the other matchups that will invariably play a role in Saturday's outcome. Like the fact that Stanford's defense is just not very good this year. 90th in rushing defense. 100th in passing defense. 101st in total defense. Long story short, this isn't the vintage Lance Anderson wrecking crew we've been so accustomed to year in and year out. In our defense, we've faced a handful of elite passers (Wilkins, Rosen, and Darnold) that may have skewed our pass D numbers a bit. But against the run, we couldn't stop a nose bleed if we tried. Throw in the fact that our best defensive lineman and most experienced linebacker will be out for half of this week's contest and I just don't see how we stand any chance of stopping Oregon's rushing attack. Royce Freeman is a beast and from what I've gathered, your O-line has been quite good if not tops in the Pac-12 this season. In any case, I don't think you'll have too much trouble scoring points on us. Our run defense alone will spot you a good 17-21 points. From there, it's up to Burmeister to do the rest and that's where the real key to the game lies. I'll be interested to see how the new look Duck defense holds up against the Bryce Love Show. The kid's speed is so unreal you'd think he was tailor made for Chip Kelly's offense. But thanks to the alternate universe we live in where the Christian McCaffreys and Bryce Loves of the world go to Stanford instead of Oregon, he's become the only real weapon we can count on to produce for us on a weekly basis. A large part of that, however, is due to the woefully predictable offensive game plans that Shaw dials up. Back in the day, we used to thrive off the misdirection of pre-snap shifts and play action passes. But for whatever reason, Shaw has thrown all that by the wayside in favor of lining up exclusively in the jumbo or shotgun formation. Adding insult to injury, not only do we lack creativity but also any sort of killer instinct. While nursing a 10-point lead late in the 4th quarter against ASU and Utah, Shaw chose to run the ball on EVERY. SINGLE. SNAP. 1st down- run the ball. 2nd down- run it some more. 3rd and long? Heck, let's try pounding the rock and see what happens. The result: a smorgasbord of three and outs that allowed Utah to climb back into the game but held off ASU just long enough to secure the victory. I kid you not, Mike Pence could be announced as the new football coach for Oregon State tomorrow and we'd still have the most conservative head coach in all of college football. Why is this significant? Because against a defensive coordinator that held us to 5 points last season, I'm not sure our offense will be able to hang enough on The Ducks to keep up with the absurd day Royce Freeman is going to have against our run defense. Ultimately what I think this game comes down to is quarterback play. Royce Freeman is going to get his yards and so will Bryce Love. The deciding factor will be which team's signal caller plays the cleaner, more efficient game. If Shaw just had the stones to continue rolling with Costello, I'd feel very good about our chances in this one. Instead, he's less than 24 hours from announcing Chryst as the starter (if you don't believe me, feel free to check out the depth chart for the Oregon game). While Chryst played a steady yet unspectacular game against Utah, he's not the kind of game changer that keeps defensive coordinators up at night. No, that level of torture is reserved exclusively for Stanford fans. Having said that, I trust Chryst's experience and game management skills a lot more than I trust Burmeister's. While I fully expect Burmeister to have a much better day than he did against Wazzu's stingy defense, I think he will struggle to push the ball down the field with all the pass catchers Oregon has injured at the moment. Conversely, I think Oregon will be able to pressure Chryst better than Utah was able to last week. But if Chryst can be somewhat efficient and take advantage of the matchup advantage our TEs hold over Oregon's linebackers, I can see us doing just enough to pull off a close a win at home. Therefore, despite of all Stanford's shortcomings, I believe we possesses a slight advantage over Oregon in this matchup. If Herbert were available, I would not feel that way at all. Unfortunately for the Ducks, however, he's not and in his absence I question whether Royce Freeman, Kani Benoit, and co. will be able to carry the team singlehandedly. If I had to make my pick right now, I'd go with something like 34-30 Stanford. But I'll check back later in the week once I get a better feel for this matchup and make my final prediction then.
  7. CU @ OSU

    Jeez, talk about unnecessary roughness
  8. Stanford @ Utah

    Not sure if anyone noticed but it was just announced today that Chryst will be starting against Utah. Even though I essentially predicted as much earlier in the week, I was starting to get the feeling that perhaps Shaw would stick with Costello in light of the offensive turnaround that's taken place these last two weeks. Silly me to forget that we just have THE MOST obdurate head coach in all of college football. Last time I ever let my guard down like that again. Be that as it may, I meant what I said on Monday- if Chryst gets the start, I'm leaning Utah. Now that it's official, I have no choice but to change my prediction. 27-23o*Utah
  9. Stanford @ Utah

    Amen Wilner's prediction is in btw: Utah covers, Stanford wins. Wilner has accurately predicted every Stanford game so far this season. Hoping he makes it six in a row this week. I have many reasons to not like our chances in this game. Rice Eccles is an absolute snake pit. Kyle Whittingham has David Shaw's number. And Keller Chryst appears to be healthy and ready to start (notice I said start, not contribute ). But I've got a gut feeling we eek out a close one. Two weeks ago, I had this game down as a surefire loss. Heck, before the season started I pegged it as a loss as well. And then two major developments unfolded that I believe will have an equalizing effect in Saturday's game: Utah's quarterback situation got downgraded and Stanford's quarterback situation got upgraded. Chryst will play on Saturday and that leaves room for concern. But as long as Costello gets the start, I feel like we at least stand a chance in this one. And with Bryce Love in the backfield, perhaps more than just a chance. 30-27o*Stanford
  10. Stanford @ Utah

    I get the sense that both teams are quite confident heading into this matchup. Obviously every team should have a certain level of confidence in themselves, regardless of their opponent. But I've read some player quotes this week that suggest both teams feel strongly that they have the upper hand. Should be an interesting one. I know Jon Wilner has been dropping hints that he'll be picking the Utes to win this week but he may just be sandbagging us. While his selection may not count for much, he has accurately picked every Stanford game so far this season (including the spread). I, for one, will be frightened if he ends up picking the Utes. The guy has been on a roll so far. On a separate note, it appears as though Keller Chryst is healthy and will in fact play in some capacity come Saturday night. For anyone that has witnessed him play since the USC game (10/23, 84 yards, and 2 INTs), you know that this is terrible news for Stanford fans. Shaw has spent the majority of the last two weeks defending Chryst, talking up his team captaincy and downplaying his horrendous SDSU performance. Despite being witness to the fact that Costello is the superior quarterback and has been a major spark for the offense, Shaw is instead choosing to go back to Chryst out of stubborn loyalty and has chastised the media for suggesting otherwise. There is speculation that Chryst will likely get the first series or two, followed by Costello for a series or two, at which point Shaw will make his final decision from there. It's a terrible game plan that may very well cost us the Utah game. But seeing as how Shaw refuses to reward Costello for outplaying Chryst in his absence, this appears to be the only way that he'll allow a quarterback switch to take place. It's moments like these where I wish we had Whittingham instead of Shaw. At least Coach Whitt has no reservations identifying who the better quarterback is and making the switch when necessary.
  11. Stanford @ Utah

    The bad news for Utah fans: Huntley and Fitts are out. The good news for Utah fans: Keller Chryst is healthy again. I'm with everyone that's chimed in so far- I have no idea what to expect out of this one. I would have thought Utah -3 would be a pretty reasonable opening line but apparently Vegas felt the exact opposite. Seeing the line jump up to Stanford -6 has me wondering if anyone's actually watched us play this year or they're just looking at the final scores. This is a team with a lot to clean up, particularly on the defensive side of the ball where we miss more tackles than we make. The D-line is weak, our linebackers are hit and miss, and our secondary is allowing an average of 254+ YPG (good for 100th in the country). And that's just the defensive side of the ball. On offense, we've got Bryce Love, which is obviously a really really good thing. But his supporting cast is still somewhat of a work in progress. The O-line has been playing much better in recent weeks, although squaring off against UCLA and ASU's defenses will do that to ya. Our receivers are only so so and we still don't make nearly as much use of our tight ends as we should given the talent there. The quarterback switch to Costello has given the offense a major spark and I personally believe he has the ability to become an elite quarterback in this league if he continues to develop. Only problem is... Shaw has blind loyalty to his incumbent QBs and may deprive Costello of that opportunity with Chryst now healthy again. Ultimately, this could prove to be the deciding factor in the Utah game. With Costello at the helm, I feel like we have a decent shot next weekend. If Shaw opts to go back to Chryst or engages in some sort of time share between the two, however, I'm worried it will stymie the offense and return us to the levels of ineptitude we witnessed against SDSU. I'll be curious to see what the word is on the QB situation as we get closer to Saturday. My guess is Shaw will give Chryst the start, let Costello take over after a series or two, and make his determination from there. I hate the idea of a two quarterback system but if that's the only alternative to handing things back over to Chryst free and clear, then so be it. Utah is a very good team and I expect this will be our biggest test since facing USC. In many respects, we're a better team than we were then. And in many respect, we're just as much of a work in progress. All things being equal, I'm with Utenation here: tight, low scoring defensive battle that will come down to the final minutes. If Shaw allows Costello to make his second consecutive start, I'd lean Stanford. But if Shaw does what I'm worried he'll do and gives Chryst the start (or even a portion of the snaps), I'd lean Utah on this one. I'll save my final score prediction for later in the week.
  12. ASU @ Stanford

    According to the depth chart, he was third string. But seeing as how Burns has pretty much been relegated to running these gimmicky run plays (on the few occasions he's still inserted back into the game), Costello was viewed as the true backup to Keller Chryst. Ever since Chryst's play took a dive against SDSU, fans have been clamoring to get a glimpse of Costello. Talk about divine intervention.
  13. ASU @ Stanford

    Clearly an overreaction to our 58 point output last Saturday. Arizona State's defense is ranked only slightly ahead of UCLA's but Costello will be making his first official start after subbing in for Chryst last weekend. A lot of fans are very high on this kid- I expect this will either be his coming out party or the moment we realize we don't have a single competent QB on the roster.
  14. ASU @ Stanford

    Line opened at -16.5 (now down to 16). Seems a bit high for a team that just knocked off the Ducks and appears to be getting their season back on track.
  15. USC -3.5 at WSU (Full Disclosure: Long)

    I still like my preview more