PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Win streaks don’t mean much to the Stanford Cardinal (4-0, 2-0). Even if they have the nation’s longest win streak and are creeping up on the longest win streak in school history. The Cardinal are looking to keep both of those streaks alive. Plus another. Colorado (1-4, 0-1) has lost 20 straight games out of state. The Buffs are still looking for their first Pac-12 win since joining the conference this year. Read on, and you’ll see why this is not the week.
Prediction: Stanford 38, Colorado 10
Why they’ll win: Adjustments. Colorado, despite its record, is one of the best teams in the country at getting after the quarterback. They will throw a lot of different looks at Stanford’s steadily-improving offensive line. And they might get to Andrew Luck once or twice -- or at least rattle him. But coach David Shaw and Co. have been fantastic at making adjustments on the fly. Similar to the Duke game, when the Blue Devils threw a lot of different blitzes that the Cardinal weren’t ready for, Colorado is likely to trip up Stanford a couple of times. But like a batter seeing a pitcher the first time through the lineup, they’ll make the necessary adjustments and ultimately the win.
In the spotlight: Chris Owusu and Griff Whalen should be prepared to have big games. If the Colorado defensive scheme does penetrate the line, then Stanford’s tight ends will probably have to spend more time in protection and less time catching passes. If that happens, Luck will have to lean on his wide receivers. Owusu has proven to be explosive at times and Whalen quietly had a nice game against UCLA. This could be their week to shine. Also keep an eye on fullback Ryan Hewitt, who is having a very nice season catching the ball out of the backfield. He could be a primary hot read for Luck if things get dicey.
Out on a limb: I hit on my out-on-a-limb prediction against Arizona with Stepfan Taylor getting his first 100-yard game of the season. But whiffed last week on the special teams touchdown prediction. This week I’ll throw another dart and see if it sticks -- no sacks for Colorado. Luck has been elusive enough this year and has started to scramble a little more than he did in the first few games. The offensive line -- while still not near last year’s level -- has been very good the past couple of weeks and show no signs of slowing down.