This could be the year Stanford makes a run at the BCS title game. They have continuity at head coach and quarterback in David Shaw and Kevin Hogan and 15 starters returning a 2012 team that went 12-2 and won the Rose Bowl. They are arguably the best team in the Pac-12, but their road to the BCS could get treacherous. Let's take a look at their schedule and see how it breaks down.
2013 Stanford schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
The two biggest games of the season are clearly Oregon and Notre Dame, and both of them have to come to The Farm. Stanford isn't known for having the biggest home field advantage in the world, but it's still a clearly superior option to playing the Ducks in Autzen or the Irish in South Bend. The Cardinal split these two games last year, but both were decided in overtime. Both games should figure prominently in the national title picture once again.
The Cardinal avoid back-to-back road trips in 2013, but still face difficult tests when they make trips to Corvallis and Los Angeles to play the Beavers and Trojans. Those aren't the only difficult games for Stanford, though, as the middle portion of the season includes zero gimmes. Washington, Utah and UCLA are all capable of springing an upset if the Cardinal get caught sleeping.
Stanford's evolution into one of the top football programs in the country has been nothing short of amazing. Going undefeated is extremely difficult, though, and the Cardinal will probably drop a game at some point. However, this team is a safe bet to reach double-digit wins and are a pretty safe bet to win the Pac-12 once again.