After Rose Bowl victory, Stanford enters season with expectations soaring

The smart kids are not sneaking up on anybody this season.

Since Stanford first fielded a football team in 1892, never have the Cardinal carried so much momentum. The defending Pac-12 champions and Rose Bowl winners return almost everybody from a dominant defense, an intriguing quarterback who is undefeated as a starter and the conference's twice reigning coach of the year.

Once thought out of reach for a prestigious academic university, Stanford has risen to a national title contender that everybody is taking seriously now.

Stanford has made a BCS bowl game the last three seasons. And after coming up one win short of a possible berth in the BCS championship game each time, the Cardinal believe this could finally be their year to win it all.