NCAA Football – Week 12
The Pac-12 will be heating up on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium, as the Oregon Ducks look to clinch their spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game for the second straight year as they take on the Stanford Cardinal.
Head Coach David Shaw has to be reminding his team of the last two seasons that these two teams played against each other. In 2010, the Ducks were able to essentially knock the Cardinal out of the National Championship race, and last year, in a game that Stanford was supposed to win, it was trampled by Oregon 53-30 on this very same weekend. Now, QB Andrew Luck is gone, as too is TE Coby Fleener, and the rebuilding process has begun. Still, Shaw and his staff have a great system going at Stanford, and the team is routinely in the Top 20 in the nation still. This is the big chance to get into the BCS though, as an upset would put the team in a position where a bid to the Fiesta Bowl is quite likely. It’s going to be up to the Stanford defense to figure out how to slow down the Quack Attack, as this unit has allowed more than 23 points just once this entire season, a 54-48 overtime victory over the Arizona Wildcats.
Oregon has to be grinning from ear to ear right now. The Pac-12 Championship Game is clearly going to be played at Autzen Stadium as long as this game or next week’s game against the Oregon State Beavers is won, and if both games are won, the game against either the UCLA Bruins or USC Trojans at home will be for the right to go to the National Championship Game almost certainly. QB Marcus Mariota has done a remarkable job this year, throwing for 2,164 yards with a 28/5 TD/INT ratio, and he also has 516 yards and three scores on the ground. But of course, the man of the hour is RB Kenjon Barner, who has taken over for RB LaMichael James in fine form, rushing for 1,360 yards and 19 TDs. As further proof that this offense is one of the most exciting in the land, there are four players with at least 400 rushing yards and two others with at least 139 yards, and there are 10 receivers with at least 101 yards this year as well.
Oregon will clinch up the Pac-12 North and will move within two steps of the National Championship Game, but winning this one by three TDs is going to be tough. The Cardinal should give the U of O the biggest fight that it has had this year from a defensive standpoint, and though it won’t ultimately matter for the win, it should for the cover. Oregon 41 – Stanford 24