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Stanford vs. Arizona: Cardinal the easy pick but not against spread

The Stanford Cardinal are predicted to beat the Arizona Wildcats at home, but it might be a closer game than you'd think.

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The No. 18 Stanford Cardinal should be the easy favorite against the Arizona Wildcats this week. Stanford comes off a 17-13 loss to the Washington Huskies and has had a while to rebound in practices since last Thursday's loss.

It helps that the Cardinal is playing at home in Palo Alto, Calif., but the pundits believe the Wildcats will make it more of a game than might be expected.

At ESPN, Kevin Gemmell and Ted Miller both expect the Cardinal to win, but the struggles of Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes and the points that Arizona's offense can put up will make the game competitive. Gemmell predicts a 24-21 victory for David Shaw's team, while Miller sees it going 30-20.

Seven writers at CBS Sports see the Cardinal winning as well, but six of them believe the Wildcats will beat the spread that is 11½ points in Stanford's favor.

Finally, Stewart Mandel at Sports Ilustrated predicts a 27-17 victory for Stanford. While the offensive regression since last season will keep the Cardinal from pulling away, the run game led by Stepfan Taylor and the physical defense will be enough to get them back on the winning track.