After its first Rose Bowl victory since 1972 last season, the stakes could be even higher this for Stanford.
The Cardinal were ranked No. 4 in the country when the USA Today preseason coaches' poll was released Thursday.
Stanford enters the season filled with promise under coach David Shaw, who has gone 23-4 in his two years and has rapidly become one of the top coaches in college football.
Defending national champion Alabama was the No. 1 team in the coaches' preseason poll. Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Georgia rounded out the top 5.
Half the top 10 is from the Southeastern Conference, which has won the last seven national championships. The SEC has a total of six teams in the top 25. The Big Ten and Pac-12 each had five teams in the poll, followed by the Big 12 with four and the ACC with two.
— Staff, wire report