If Oregon wants to save its season, a win here would do it. The Ducks have struggled at times this year, but beating Stanford would be huge for them, even if Stanford still wins the Pac-12 North. The Cardinal opened as a -9 point home favorite.
A win here would lock the Pac-12 north up for Stanford and if it can win out, a possible playoff berth will be there even with a loss to Northwestern. Still, the Cardinal haven’t played the most difficult of Schedules, and that may be a product of a weaker Conference this season, but a matchup with Notre Dame at season’s end will decide that.
The Ducks have a chance to ruffle some feathers after having quarterback issues for most of the season and already three losses for a team that’s usually in the Top 10 this time of the year. They have won three straight, but none of those teams are Stanford.
Stanford has dominated everyone in the Conference with solid defensive play and a running Game that has looked unstoppable. Its closest Game was surprisingly at Washington State in 30-28 win. The good news for Oregon is that its run defense isn’t its main problem. This Game could come down to what Kevin Hogan can do in the pocket. Hogan hasn’t been asked to do much this year with only 16 passing TDs and 6 INTs, but this Game could be different. Oregon’s secondary has been gashed by almost every opponent this season. Meanwhile, they have some pieces that can give trouble to the Stanford’s rushing attack.
Then again, maybe not. Christian McCaffrey has rushed for at least 100 yards in seven straight Games and is averaging 6.1 yards per carry on the year. It’s hard not to like this rushing offense that is beating through every defensive line.
Throw in a defense that has held down a number of opponents and Stanford looks like a top team. The Cardinal have already outscored teams like USC and UCLA, so there’s no reason they can’t do that here.
At the least for Oregon, quarterback Vernon Adams is back and healthy and has thrown Four touchdowns in two straight Games. The bad news is that he’s still not all that accurate and might have a turnover problem with three picks in the last two Games. Still, Adams is a playmaker and could give some fits to this Stanford team. But the biggest question in this Game may be what running back Royce Freeman can do. He’s been the fire starter in this offense all season with 1,289 yards and 11 TDs and will need to move the ball against this Stanford front that’s allowing 123 rushing yards per Game.
Oregon dominated last year’s Game 45-16, but that was a much different situation. And even in that Game, it wasn’t like Freeman dominated with 98 yards. He’ll need a better effort this time around.
This matchup has been a battle for a while now and there’s no reason that won’t be the case here. The Ducks are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 Conference Games, while the Cardinal are 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven in this meeting, and the over has hit in 8 of the last 10 matchups.
Our Pick – No question both of these programs can put points on the board but only one of them has a defense and that’s the Cardinal. That combined with the opportunity to avenge their worst loss from last season has us on Stanford here. If they can extend this margin you can be sure they will. Our model says they can. Stanford -10