Game of the Week: Stanford hosts Oregon with title hopes on line
The Game of the Century is behind us. Now, we move to the Pac-12 Game of the Year and the seventh battle of Top 10 teams this season. No. 6 Oregon visits No. 3 Stanford in the biggest game at Stanford Stadium since Dan Marino and Joe Montana battled in Super Bowl XIX. Stanford has won 17 straight games, with its last loss coming to Oregon; the Ducks have won 18 straight league games, with their last conference loss coming to the Cardinal. Both squads have separated themselves from the rest of the Pac-12 and are legitimate championship-caliber teams. Stanford has a very realistic shot at the BCS title game with a win, while Oregon has an outside shot. It will be Stanford's power versus Oregon's speed on The Farm, where
Stanford enters as a three-point favorite. Stanford has covered the spread a remarkable 12 straight games. Oregon is 5-3-1 against the spread this season. The Ducks are 3-1 against the spread in their last four trips to Stanford and Chip Kelly is 0-1 as a road dog, losing the 2009 opener to Boise State.
Stanford has averaged 47.6 points per game in Pac-12 play, while Oregon has averaged 43.7.
There really isn't much to dislike about this Stanford team. The offense is a seemingly perfect blend of run and pass, the quarterback will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, the defense has allowed the fewest points in the Pac-12 and the kickers have missed just one field goal all season. Stanford is 54-for-54 in the red zone and ranks No. 3 nationally in red-zone defense. That doesn't guarantee a Cardinal victory, however. Oregon's speed advantage on offense is very real, as its 626 yards against Stanford last year demonstrates. Stanford has admitted to not playing its best defense of late, while Oregon's seems to be on the upswing. If Oregon can get an early lead and force Stanford to play from behind with Luck missing his second- and third-best receivers and feeling the pressure of a perfect season, another unbeaten team could bite the dust.