#13 Oregon St. (7-1, 5-1) at #16 Stanford (7-2, 5-1) / Stanford Stadium / 12 NOON PST / FOX / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. takes on Stanford in a high noon showdown down on "The Farm", with a possible Rose Bowl berth at stake, even in the event the winner subsequently loses to Oregon.
The teams are both in the midst of mid to late season quarterback changes, something not usually associated with top 20 teams. But the Beavers and the Cardinal have the 2 top defenses in the Pac-12, which buys time for quarterback adjustments.
Junior Cody Vaz is making his 4th. start for Oregon St., having won each of the first 3 earlier this season, including last week's 36-26 come from behind win over Arizona St.
But Stanford's redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan is making his first career start, earned when he came on in relief of Josh Nunes last week at Colorado, and completed 18 of 23 passes, for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns, and with no interceptions, as the Cardinal clobbered the Buffs 48-0. But then the Buffs are the weakest defense in the Pac-12, and last in the country in scoring defense!
With mobile, but relatively inexperienced quarterbacks, pressure could be the key, and Stanford, the Pac-12 leader, with 40, have posted twice as many sacks as Oregon St. has. The Cardinal offensive line has only allowed 12, while the Beavers have given up 18, though 1/3 of those came last week by the Sun Devils.
Stanford has won the last 2 meetings, as well as the last 2 times the teams have met down on "The Farm" in Palo Alto. Last year, it was a competitive 17-13 contest in Reser until Stepfan Taylor took over late in the third quarter, sparking the first of 3 unanswered scores that resulted in a 48-13 win for the Cardinal. Taylor accounted for 66 of the 82 yards in the drive.
2 years ago, Andrew Luck and company dominated an uncompetitive Oregon St. team, cruising to a 38-0 shutout victory that sent Stanford to the first of back to back BCS bowl appearances.
The Cardinal have also won 18 of their last 19 games at Stanford Stadium, and are 5.5 point favorites to upset the Beavers. On the other hand, Mike Riley is 24-10 against the spread as an underdog. Odds are very good the Beavers will be withing reach of winning the game at the end at worst.
Oregon St. is as healthy as they have ever been at this point in the season though, so their chances for a road win against a top 20 team, and their options for trying to get it, are as great as they could be as well.
Buildingthedam.com will be at the game, and will be back later with complete coverage and analysis. Here's the place to discuss how what is really the "Big Game" for Stanford this season, and how its going for Oregon St. in their efforts to cut down the tree.