No. 10 Stanford

This is a leap of faith. Yes, running back Christian McCaffrey is returning with enough talent to win the Heisman Trophy, Yes, there are stars and talent in lots of other parts of the roster, which is one of the reasons why the Cardinal have been Pac-12 contenders for three of the past four seasons.

It is also the reason why a roster with only 9 starters returning has not been labeled a rebuilding project. Still, when you have to rebuild your offensive line and replace your QB, you have to wonder if even the talents of McCaffrey are enough.

And then there is the schedule. Kansas State, USC, at UCLA, at Washington. Catch your breath with a home game against Washington State and hit the road for game at Notre Dame. Ouch. [membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Cardinal coach David Shaw has earned his stripes the past few seasons in typical low key style. Shaw might have to do some coaching and motivating this season if the road gets bumpy.

Having said all of that, I'm guessing that the Cardinal will come out of the first month with only one loss enroute to a double digit win total.

And that should put them right at No. 10.

The countdown thus far: No. 16 Pepper Hamilton (Baylor), No. 15 Georgia, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 13 Miami, No. 12Houston, No. 11Ohio State[/membership]