1. Stanford is very, very good, but very, very confusing
Unfortunately the final score made it seem like it was a lot closer than it actually was, but that was an utter domination on every level by Stanford of a team that the media wouldn't rest until everyone agreed that they were the best team in the country. The Cardinal have Oregon's number and everyone who kept declaring that Stanford's win in Eugene last year was a fluke where the Ducks would have won the game 9/10 times owes the Cardinal a big apology. The Cardinal are as fearsome up front on defense as any Pac-12 team in a long time and underrated in the defensive backfield and still have an offensive line that can control a game.
But now the confusing part - how in the hell did the Cardinal lose to Utah and nearly lose to Washington.? And will they be able to avoid an upset against another team the rest of the way and stay in the hunt for a national title.
2. Marcus Mariota is human
He still hasn't thrown an interception in nearly a calendar year, but Mariota looked human for the first time since well... the last time he played Stanford. Much has been made of Mariota being banged up playing a huge part in his struggles in the game, but I think most of his struggles seemed to come from simply having nowhere to run when the play broke down and from actually getting pressured and hit.
However, he still looked magical at times (especially when he escaped pressure) and is still a serious Heisman candidate, but his fortunes against Stanford didn't look any better this year than they did last season.
3. Shayne Skov is a f****** monster
Skov was as fun to watch last night as any defensive player in the Pac-12 that I can ever remember. He was like a missile on his perfectly-timed blitzes thoroughly disrupting Oregon's offense and was huge in the stretch plays to the edge that Oregon usually kills teams with. Also, his strip of De'Anthony Thomas changed the game and was one of the best individual defensive plays I have ever seen.
4. De'Anthony Thomas should avoid further pre-game predictions
Speaking of Thomas, yeah, he shouldn't make any more declarations. I'm usually not big on locker room material quotes making a big difference - teams should always expect to win going into games, so it's nothing controversial when they say that, but making comments like Thomas' 40-point one only makes you a target and inspires your opponent. Thomas also didn't do himself any favors with a forgettable performance that included getting stripped by Skov in a game-changing moment.
5. There is a difference between confident and cocky
Much is always made about Oregon's ridiculous confidence in going for it on long fourth downs at the goal line and not getting pumped up for certain games and that's fine and dandy against teams that aren't as good as you, but it starts to border on cockiness when you try do it against good teams like Stanford. Sometimes it is smarter to just take the points or not treat every game as if it is just another game when you are playing up a fired up team full of talent.
6. Oregon's defense is still underrated
For how much Stanford dominated Oregon with ball control, the defense did a very good job of forcing them to kick field goals in the second half and not getting worn down by their bludgeoning rushing attack. The Duck defense never started giving up more than just a few yards on the ground at a time despite getting the Stanford battering ram sent at them all night and they held strong on the back end, never giving up a big pass after the first quarter even though they were selling out to the run.
7. Time of possession might matter
Chip Kelly has always championed that time of possession doesn't matter, and as I mentioned earlier, that might be true against teams like Washington, Washington State and Cal, but when you are facing a good team, particularly one that can control the ball with the run, it does. I think the Ducks have discovered this now after back-to-back losses to Stanford and I think Kelly is finding it out in the NFL where you have to play teams that aren't all flawed week after week like you do in college.
8. Oregon still owns the fourth quarter
Once again, the Ducks stilled owned the fourth quarter. Many times watching an Oregon game in the fourth quarter seems almost like watching Hulk Hogan "Hulk Up"or playing against the computer in NFL Blitz or NBA Jam where even if you hold them down, they make a seemingly unstoppable run when they need it late in the contest and become invincible.
It was especially incredible last night on the defensive side of the ball where the Duck defense seemed to actually get stronger against the run as the game went on despite being on the field all game getting pounded by Stanford's giant front.
9. Say goodbye to a lot of this rivalry's key players
The Oregon/Stanford rivalry has been the most fun in the conference for a few years now, but a lot of the familiar faces of the recent games could be gone next year...
Marcus Mariota, Tyler Gaffney, David Yankey, Cameron Fleming, Josh Huff, Khalil Wilkes, Kevin Danser, Taylor Hart, Ben Gardner, Henry Anderson, Wade Keliikipi, David Parry, Shayne Skov, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Terrance Mitchell, Avery Patterson, Trent Murphy, Ed Reynolds, De'Anthony Thomas...
Many would have to declare early, but there is a good chance that most of these guys have played each other for the last time.
10. Oregon is the Mike Tyson of college football
Oregon football isn't Paris Hilton, it's Mike Tyson - fast, dominant, devastating, exciting, controversial, controlled by a creepy guy, have a ton of media hype and highlight reel moments but a lot of their legend comes from a lull in quality competition in their league during their prime and they don't perform well when faced with strong opponents in big moments. Right now, they both also have a lot of regard, but when you go over their résumés - they have a ton of quick knockouts against nobodies, but they lacks big, signature wins.
11. Oregon's national title hopes are not actually dead yet
All of the Oregon haters rejoicing about them once again not winning a national championship need to hold up. The Ducks could still get into the BCS Championship Game and it is far from impossible with how crazy November is. Remember, they lost to Stanford last year and were still very close to getting in with one lose.
All they need to do is win out (which they should) and hope that the teams ahead of them start losing, particularly Stanford, but also Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor.
12. Upset watch - Stanford at USC next week
Speaking of which, the Cardinal have a major trap game immediately next week in LA. The Trojans are playing really good defense right now, the Cardinal may be a little bit beat up and gassed from the Oregon game and the Trojans are simply long due to beat the Cardinal. Watch out next week in The Coliseum because the Ducks could quickly get right back into the driver's seat in the North and improve their chances in the national title hunt.