5-6 overall, 4-4 conference, 6th Pac-10
Against the spread
7-3 (3-2 home, 4-1 away, 5-3 grass)
5-5 (3-2 home, 2-3 away, 5-3 grass)
+.36 per game
2005 Season Summary
Since head coach Tyrone Willingham departed for Notre Dame following a 2001 season in which they went 9-3 straight up and 7-5 against the spread, the Stanford Cardinal had posted three consecutive four-win seasons under Buddy Teevens, who was gassed after the 2004 season in which the Cardinal went 4-7 straight up and 6-5 against the spread.
Collapsed down the stretch
Teevens’ final Cardinal team started out 3-1 both straight up and against the spread and, after splitting their next two games, had hopes of securing a bowl berth. Stanford collapsed down the stretch, however, going 0-5 straight up and 1-4 against the spread as they failed to gain that bowl berth and secure Teevens’ job.
A proven program builder
Teevens was replaced by Walt Harris, who turned around the Pittsburgh Panthers and led them to a BCS bowl berth in his final season, before departing due to conflicts with the Pitt administration.
Harris was a proven program builder as he inherited a perennial loser at Pitt and had them bowling regularly in a short amount of time. Harris was a Bill Walsh disciple as well as a reputed quarterback tutor, which sold well at the school in which Walsh served twice as head coach and was still a Godfather figure at.
Catastrophe struck early
The Harris era began innocently enough at rebuilding Navy, as the Cardinal won a 41-38 decision as a 3.5-point chalk, narrowly missing a cover in their first game.
The following week in Harris’ home debut against 1-AA California-Davis, in a game that was not even on the betting boards, Stanford was totally humiliated with a 17-20 loss as catastrophe struck early on “The Farm.” Harris issued a public apology after the defeat, which did serve the purpose of eventually making Stanford a tremendous value against the college football betting boards.
In their next game against Oregon, Stanford was a 6-point home dog and was blown out 20-44 to reach rock bottom at 1-2 straight up, 0-3 against the spread, and that notorious loss to UC-Davis still fresh on the minds of gamblers everywhere.
Bargain lover’s delight
It admittedly took a lot of nerve for a gambler to expose his bankroll to the risk of a wager on Stanford but the oddsmakers, fully aware of how the Cardinal was totally discredited, begged gamblers to take them with a bargain lover’s delight type pointspreads.
At struggling Washington State, as ridiculous 14.5-point dogs, Stanford scored a 24-21 “upset” win and cover. They followed that up with a 20-16 win at Arizona as 5.5-point dogs to all of a sudden stand at 3-2 straight up and 2-2-1 against the spread.
The Cardinal remained an excellent value
Stanford scored their third consecutive win and cover at home in their next game against free-falling Arizona State, 45-35 as incredible 11.5-point dogs as the Cardinal remained an excellent value. At home the next week against undefeated UCLA as 7-point dogs, the Cardinal got the cash again in a tough 27-30 loss.
Valued finally peaked
At undefeated and defending national champion USC the following week, Stanford was a whopping 34-point dog and came within the number in a 21-51 loss. Their value finally peaked the following week at Oregon State where, as 7-point dogs, they scored a 20-17 win to stand at 5-4 straight up and 6-2-1 against the spread with all 6 covers coming consecutively. Needing just one win in their final two home games to bowl, the Cardinal lost to archrival Cal 3-27 as 4.5-point dog and then fell to Notre Dame 31-38 as 15.5-point dogs to end with 7 covers in their final 8 games.