Since arriving on campus, you may have heard that Stanford is the defending Rose Bowl Champions. (If you haven’t heard this yet, say that previous sentence aloud and then you will have.) Because the NCAA does this silly thing where it does not adjust to the whims of Stanford’s academic schedule, our team has already played three games before the first day of school. But don’t panic. We’re here to get you caught up with everything you need to know for the rest of the season. Consider this your required reading (ie, Sparknotes) for the 2013 Stanford Football campaign.

Key Players

Kevin Hogan (QB): While our star quarterback may have beaten four ranked teams en route to a Rose Bowl title, Hogan has yet to show coaches the consistency they are looking for. Sure, he can beat the likes of Oregon and UCLA, but he has yet to prove himself against hapless opponents like Washington State and Utah.

Shayne Skov (LB): If you don’t come to football games and get loud when the opposing team has the ball, Shayne Skov will eat the souls of your unborn children. We wish we were lying.

Ed Reynolds (S): Despite playing safety, Reynolds is arguably the best Wide Receiver on Stanford’s roster. He caught three touchdown passes last season (all of them thrown by opposing quarterbacks, no less).

Barry Sanders Jr. (RB): Hopefully, Madden cover jinxes don’t run in the family, as Barry Sanders’ father graces the packaging of the 25th anniversary edition of EA Sports’ popular Madden NFL videogame this fall.

Andrew Luck (QB): Despite the frequent mentions you will hear of him in reference to our program, Luck is actually no longer a member of this team.

Critical Games

UCLA @ Stanford (Oct. 19): One of the many games on the schedule featuring a college that you turned down in order to attend Stanford, this matchup will feature a UCLA squad hellbent on destroying us after we finishing the 2012 season by beating them twice in a row and then winning the Rose Bowl in their home stadium.

Oregon @ Stanford (Nov. 7): Heralded by some as the college football game of the season, and considered by others to be an awkward distraction from problem sets on a Thursday night, this game promises to be pivotal in determining the Pac-12 champion.

Stanford @ USC (Nov 16): This is the first time Stanford will play in the LA Coliseum since the thrilling triple-overtime victory over USC in 2011. This is also the first time Stanford will play in the LA Coliseum since the release of both Prometheus and Despicable Me 2, though whether this will influence the outcome of the game remains to be seen.

Big Game – California @ Stanford (Nov. 23): In a classic rivalry anticipated by Bay Area football fans and greedy airline companies alike, you should get ready to pay a change fee on your plane ticket home for Thanksgiving Break after you realize you booked it before understanding the significance of this game.

SEC Championship Game – Alabama vs. Somebody Else (Dec. 7): Although it does not involve Stanford, this is an important contest as the winner of the SEC will advance to the BCS National Championship Game, regardless of the merits of other teams across the country.

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