Stanford vs. Northwestern: Prediction, pick, odds, line, point spread, football game, kickoff time, preview

With wall-to-wall action on Saturday and other games on throughout the weekend moving into Monday, college football fans will be glued to the television through Labor Day night. And perhaps no contest will be as captivating as Saturday's afternoon tilt on the West Coast between No. 25 Stanford and Northwestern. You may miss it on your dial while paying attention to No. 2 Alabama's opener or the top-25 showdown on Saturday evening, but Stanford-Northwestern is a game you absolutely should not miss as it may be one of the most tightly contested the entire day.

The Cardinal enter the season ranked but just beneath the top tier of Pac-12 favorites in Oregon, Washington and Utah. The Wildcats, meanwhile, are replacing multiple starters on each side of the ball and appear to be in a rebuilding phase. In the wide-open Big Ten West, they're a a disruptive unknown that we'll learn plenty about come Saturday.

So what will go down on Saturday afternoon? Let's take a look at the showdown between the Cardinal and Wildcats. This is a fantastic opportunity for Stanford or Northwestern to use this result as a springboard for the rest of the 2019 season.

Storylines

Stanford: Coach David Shaw has steadied Stanford's ship and led it to be the marker of consistency in the Pac-12. This season should be no different. He returns starting quarterback K.J. Costello and All-Pac 12 first team performers Walker Little, Paulson Adebo and the kicker with the greatest name of all time: Jet Toner. Even after graduating offensive stars Bryce Love and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Costello's presence should provide stability for Shaw and Co. to again finish in the top half of the Pac-12 North.

Northwestern: Quarterback Clayton Thorson is off to the NFL, leaving the position a question mark going into the season for coach Pat Fitzgerald. Whether T.J. Green or Hunter Johnson ultimately wins the job -- both are listed as co-starters -- the supporting cast should provide some relief. Leading rusher Isaiah Bowser and last year's second-leading receiver, Bennett Skowronek, make up for one of the more underrated skill groups in the Big Ten West.

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Aug. 31 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Stanford Stadium -- Stanford, California
TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Game prediction, picks

You can bet against Shaw and Stanford, but in this scenario, you'd be foolish to do so. They have the edge at quarterback along with home-field advantage and more weapons at their disposal. The Cardinal should cruise here and cover as they kick their season off in style. Pick: Stanford (-6.5)

What college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 1, and which big favorite goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,500 in profit over the past four seasons.

Join our Pick'em Challenge and compete for $1,000 each week.

Our Latest Stories