The Stanford Cardinal look to spoil BCS National Championship hopes and keep Rose Bowl dreams alive when they face the Oregon Ducks in Autzen.
Talk about this weekend's matchup with Oregon. What concerns you most about the Ducks, and what do you think the keys to the game will be?
Scott Allen, Rule of Tree: Everything about the Ducks' 54.8-points-per-game offense concerns me. Marcus Mariota's ridiculously good completion percentage and TD-to-INT ratio concerns me. Kenjon Barner's "LaMichael Who?" season concerns me. DAT concerns me, though it doesn't help that I have an intense fear of snakes. The fact that the Ducks have a human wrecking ball in Colt Lyerla to go with all their speed concerns me. Blink and you're down two scores. I think one of the keys to the game will be whether the Stanford offense can consistently put together long drives against an injury-depleted Oregon defense and keep the Cardinal defense as rested as possible. The Cardinal can't afford to dig itself an early hole as it did last year, but if Stanford is somehow within striking distance in the fourth quarter, the defense has shown a knack for coming up with big stops when the game is on the line.
Hank Waddles, Go Mighty Card: What he said -- and a little bit more. The trouble with Oregon is that you can convince yourself that you're in a game. Maybe you've got a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, or maybe it's a tie game at the half, or maybe you're within a touchdown after three. You're feeling good. You're thinking upset. And then it happens -- the Ducks score three touchdowns in the space of seven plays and maybe two minutes of game time. That's the danger.
What's your score prediction for Stanford vs. Oregon and why?
Scott Allen, Rule of Tree: Do I have to? Oregon 42, Stanford 24. Autzen Stadium is a brutal environment for a QB to make his first road start, and given the trouble the Stanford defense had with the only other Top 25 offense it has faced this season -- Arizona -- I don't think Cardinal will be able to stop the Ducks enough to pull the upset.
Hank Waddles, Go Mighty Card: I've been running my site for more than two years now, and I've picked Stanford to win every single week. There have only been five losses in that time span, so I've been right most of the time, but I can't bring myself to pick the Cardinal this weekend. Of course, I can't pick against the Cardinal, either, so instead I'll make a prediction for 2013. The #7 ranked Stanford Cardinal will welcome the Ducks to Stanford Stadium and win one in a barn burner. Behind second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan, redshirt freshman Barry J. Sanders, and the best offensive line in the Pac-12, the Cardinal offense will be almost unstoppable. The defense, meanwhile, will be equally impressive. Shayne Skov will surprise everyone by asking for and receiving a medical redshirt for 2011. His return -- and selection as defensive captain -- will galvanize an incredibly talented defense as the Mighty Card cruises past Oregon, 41-28, and clinches a Rose Bowl berth. You heard it here first.