Another weekend, another huge matchup in college football. This week’s biggest game features two teams from the Pac-12 with BCS bowl aspirations. The #7 Oregon Ducks head to Palo Alto to take on #4 Stanford on Saturday, November 12th. After a loss in week 1 to LSU, Oregon has reeled off 8 straight victories. Stanford is a perfect 9-0 this season and has won 17 straight dating back to last season. Stanford’s last loss came on October 2, 2010, to Oregon in Eugene.
When Stanford has the Ball
The Stanford Cardinal offense has been outstanding all season long. Andrew Luck is the best quarterback in college football and the front runner for the Heisman trophy, but the key to Stanford’s offense is balance. Led by running back Stepfan Taylor, the Cardinal rushing attack is 17th in the nation at 224.7 yards per game on the ground. Luck and the passing game are 23rd in college football at 281.1 yards per game. The balanced attack has helped Stanford average over 48 points per game on the year, 3rd best scoring average in the country.
Oregon’s defense has only allowed an average of 20 points per game during the 2011 season. They have done a good job of getting to the quarterback with 28 sacks through 9 games, and they have come up with 10 interceptions. Oregon has not faced an offense as talented as Stanford yet this season and will have to play their best game on Saturday.
When Oregon has the Ball
Oregon’s offense has also been potent this season averaging over 500 yards and 46 points per game. The Ducks like to spread the field and then attack the defenses’ weak spots with their speed. Running back LaMichael James has rushed for 1061 yards and is averaging 8.0 yards per carry. Fellow running back Kenjon Barner has 601 yards on the season. Quarterback Darrron Thomas runs the zone read offense efficiently and can make plays with his legs as well as his arm.
The Stanford Cardinal defense has been stingy all year only giving up 16.6 points per game. The Cardinal defense has held their opponents to 14 points or less in 6 of their 9 games so far. The only team to put up more than 21 points on the Cardinal was USC when they scored 48 points in a triple overtime thriller.
Oregon vs. Stanford Prediction and Betting Line
The current odds have Stanford as 3 1/2 point favorites and the over/under is at 67 1/2. I like Stanford to win and cover the 3 1/2 points. They have the best quarterback in the country, a massive offensive line, and a defense that plays as a unit. The over/under is a tough bet because both teams are so great offensively, but 67 1/2 is a lot of points. If I’m putting money on it I would lean towards the under. In a big game like this the offenses may start a little jittery and a close game in the fourth quarter should keep the score down.