After that thrilling 22-13 victory over UCLA -- a game which was certainly much closer than the final score would indicate -- it feels like Stanford may be on track to finally clear the hurdle of playing for a national championship.
So we'll do it. We'll take the plunge. We'll project the Cardinal into the College Football Playoff.
Is that a premature call with such a rugged schedule still awaiting Stanford? Of course it is! But these are bowl projections -- and that's why they're fun.
The Cardinal's comeback win felt a lot like the type of games that they had lost in recent years -- the tough, low-scoring defeats marred by missed opportunities that generally relegated them to the Rose Bowl. Pasadena, of course, has not been a bad consolation prize. But the fact that Stanford actually pulled out one of these slogs -- a game that looked to be heading down the same disastrous path as their season opener at Northwestern last year -- puts the Cardinal on a sky-high trajectory.
Of course, the complexion at the top of these projections may change as soon as next Friday night, when Stanford visits Washington for the biggest Pac-12 game of the young season so far. But Stanford, the defending champ, is top dog for now.
Also: Welcome to the bowl projections, Colorado. That 41-38 win at Oregon puts the Buffs back into this picture, and it's been a long time coming.
We're back to 10 projected bowl teams for the Pac-12. The bet here is that many will again reach that six-win plateau.
College Football Playoff semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Stanford
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: Washington
Valero Alamo Bowl: UCLA
Holiday Bowl: Utah
Foster Farms Bowl: Arizona State
Hyundai Sun Bowl: Colorado
Las Vegas: Oregon