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Stanford Ranked #24 In Sports Illustrated College Football Preview

Sports Illustrated is unveiling their 2010 college football preview edition tomorrow. The issue will be ranking the Stanford Cardinal 24th in the nation to start the season.

Although the Cardinal lose all-world running back Toby Gerhart, they will be looking to replace his talent with a platoon of three running backs: Stepfan Taylor, Jeremy Stewart and Tyler Gaffney. Taylor finished last season as the team’s third leading running back with 303 yards on 56 carries. The top two rushers were Gerhart and QB Andrew Luck.

Although the team loses Gerhart, I’d imagine many teams in the nation would be happy coming into the 2010 season simply with Luck. The red-shirt sophomore QB threw for 2,575 yards last season with a 56.3% completion percentage and 13 touchdowns, alongside 4 interceptions. Needless to say, while he might not be a Heisman favorite, he’s certainly in the discussion of potential finalists heading into this season.

Of course, every good passing attack needs some semblance of a running game. As offensive coordinator David Shaw told Sports Illustrated, "[W]e don’t want to be one of those teams that just lines up and throws 60 times a game. We want to play tough and physical between the tackles and run the ball.”

The big question throughout the season will be what will we see from the trio of running backs. It’s hard to replace an all-time Stanford RB like Gerhart, but if they can provide even a significant portion of his yards, the Cardinal could make a run at the Pac-10 title in 2010.