5 college football teams doomed to have roughest conference realignments in 2024

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3. Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 to ACC)

Ten years ago, Stanford was still one of the preeminent programs in college football. The Cardinal won at least 10 games in five of David Shaw's first six seasons as head coach, with three Pac-12 titles over a four-year span between 2012 and 2015. Since that time, the wheels gradually fell off in Palo Alto as Stanford regressed back to the mean. The team failed to win more than four games in any of Shaw's last four seasons—albeit including a 4-2 campaign during the COVID-shortened 2020 season—and Shaw stepped down after 2022.

His replacement, Troy Taylor, struggled to right the ship in his first year on the Farm despite previous FCS head coaching experience. Taylor went 3-9 in 2023 as the Cardinal struggled to maintain any momentum. Six of Stanford's nine losses were by double digits, and they won two of their three victories by just a field goal.

Given the fact that they were blown out in most of their defeats and benefitted from luck in most of their victories, the Cardinal are unlikely to break a bowl drought that now extends to five years and counting. With four cross-country road trips looming, Stanford is bound to struggle as the Pacific coast stalwart adjusts to life in the Atlantic Coast Conference.