What is most likely the final season for #GoStanford as a member of the Pac-12 – it should be accepted into the ACC soon for next season along with California and SMU – begins Friday night with a late-night kickoff at Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors, who do have a game under their belts, opened as 10-point underdogs weeks ago but that number is all the way down to -3. On the moneyline, UH was +310 but is now +130.
The splits are one major book are striking for Friday: 72% of money and 59% of the spread handle on UH as well as 62% of money and 73% of tickets on the moneyline. On the total of 57.5, about 86% of money and handle is on the under.
Hawaii was pretty bad last year under first-year coach Timmy Chang, a former FBS record-setting quarterback at the school as the Rainbow Warriors were 3-10 and most of those losses were by double digits. One of the victories was over FCS school Duquesne.
However, #GoBows did look much improved in Week Zero last Saturday, losing 35-28 at Vanderbilt and easily covering as a 17-point dog. Quarterback Brayden Schager thew for a career-high 351 yards and three touchdowns and directed a pair of fourth quarter scores to pull the Rainbow Warriors (0-1) to within seven but they couldn’t finish the comeback. Three of the Commodores' touchdowns came from a kickoff return for touchdown and two drives starting inside the Hawaii 40. Vandy managed only 297 yards. For a point of comparison, Hawaii lost 63-10 at home to Vanderbilt in Week Zero last year and allowed 601 yards.
Hawaii is now 8-1 against the spread in its past nine games, all as a dog. It is 10-3-1 ATS in last 14 games as home underdog dating back a few years. Not ideal that the players had to do so much traveling back from Nashville in between Week Zero and Week 1, but it is what it is.
Stanford football is nowhere close to what it used to be, which is part of the reason the Big Ten didn’t want it despite being one of the best academic institutions in the world. The Cardinal were 3-9 each of the past two seasons and Coach David Shaw stepped down after 2022. His replacement is Troy Taylor, a very successful offensive-minded coach from Sacramento State. He was a two-time Big Sky Coach of the Year there.
The Cardinal have to replace two-year starting QB Tanner McKee (drafted by Eagles) and it will be either Ashton Daniels or Ari Patu – Taylor isn’t saying which. Patu appeared in four games last year and made his first and only career start his 2021 freshman season in a loss at Oregon State. Daniels appeared in 10 games as a freshman last season.
Can Taylor do anything about the defense? The Cardinal have allowed at least 30 points per game in three straight years. They surrendered only 20.4 ppg over Shaw's first eight seasons (2011-18), 10th best scoring defense in the FBS over that span. One reason Shaw left was the transfer portal and Stanford not allowing players to transfer in because of their academic requirements. That has changed as the team has added a handful of transfers. However, even more players left with the coaching change.
Stanford’s six-game losing streak is No. 2 in the FBS. The Cardinal are 1-8 ATS in their past nine road games.