TV Schedule: Saturday, November 14, 7:30 PM ET, FOX
Location: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
Line: Stanford (-10)
Before the season began, many had circled this matchup between the Oregon Ducks (6-3, 4-2 Pac-12) and No. 7 Stanford Cardinal (8-1, 7-0) as the de facto conference title game for the Pac-12 and would determine a spot in the College Football Playoff. However, Oregon’s struggles this season have taken a bit of the luster off this matchup as the Ducks sit two games out of the conference title race behind Stanford. But the Ducks could still spoil Stanford’s chances of running the table in conference play and punching their ticket to the CFP this postseason.
Oregon has struggled at times this season to find their rhythm offensively. Vernon Adams was hampered by a broken finger on his throwing hand suffered in the season opener that ultimately cost him a couple of games. But since his return to the lineup October 17 against the Washington Huskies, the Ducks are on a three-game winning streak and the offense seems to be clicking. During this run, Adams has averaged 329 yards passing per game with 10 of his 14 touchdowns on the season and just three interceptions. Royce Freeman continues to be a force in the running game, leading the Pac-12 with 143.2 yards rushing per game this season and 11 rushing touchdowns. However, the Ducks have struggled defensively, allowing 37.2 points and 489.7 yards per game to opposing offenses leading to some thrilling shootouts which Oregon has been fortunate to come out on top of more often than not.
Stanford, meanwhile, has rounded into the most complete team in the conference after stumbling out of the gate and are on the verge of clinching the Pac-12 North this weekend. Christian McCaffrey has emerged as a darkhorse Heisman Trophy contender while leading the nation in all purpose yardage, averaging 241.6 yards per game and accounting for nine total touchdowns. The Cardinal defense has once again been the best in the Pac-12, allowing just 338.7 yards and 20.2 points per game. They will be put to the test with the tempo of the Oregon offense which has finally found its footing but their physical style should lend itself to disrupting the Ducks and allowing the Stanford offense to control the game with their power-running attack.
This game will be decided by which team can dictate tempo offensively. If Oregon can get rolling, they can turn up the pace of the game and pull off a major upset on the Farm.
Prediction: Oregon 34, Stanford 30