Stanford Cardinal (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Oregon State Beavers (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time:Friday, September 25, 2016 at 10:00PM EST
Where:Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
TV: Fox Sports 1
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: STAN -15.5/ORST +15.5
Over/Under Total: Off
The Stanford Cardinal come to Corvallis on Friday to face the Oregon State Beavers in a battle of Pac-12 teams that enter week four at 2-1. The Beavers won on Sunday to nose above the .500 mark after beating UNLV at home. They trailed 21-14 at the halftime mark, before a 21-point third quarter put it out of reach. Stanford had a truly big moment for the program on Saturday, beating 6th-ranked USC, 41-31. For a team that looked like a deflated version of their former selves to open the season, the win meant a lot, as Stanford moves into the beef of their conference schedule with some well-placed hope.
Stanford looked horrible in their opening week loss to Northwestern, managing a meager 6 points. And there wasnt much to ascertain from their week two win over a ragtag UCF bunch. They entered the game against USC without many people giving them a chance. But their offense had everything clicking, while the defense prevented USC from establishing a solid rhythm. Stanford, in contrast to their earlier work this season, played some good overachieving football on Saturday. A lot of people had USC as a top contender in the Pac-12 South and maybe even nationally. Stanford put an end to those hopes, at least for the time being.
Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan had a great game on Saturday, methodically commandeering the Stanford offense to great heights on Saturday. He was steady, efficient, and made all the right decisions. He now owns a win over USC and the triumph should pump some wind into his sails moving ahead for the rest of the season. He spread the ball around well, with 18-for-23 passing with a pair of TD throws. Austin Hooper, Francis Owusu, Dalton Schultz, and Devon Cajuste all had production aerially. Really giving the Cardinal offense some bite was the performance of Christian McCaffrey, who rambled with passion for 115 yards on the ground. RB Remound Wright ran the ball 11 times, three of which went for touchdowns. For a change, we saw a lot of different players on this offense having a good game simultaneously.
It looked rough for Stanford to open on Saturday, as the Trojans opened the game with an all-too-easy touchdown drive. The Stanford defensive line, compromised by injuries, looked ragged. But the Cardinal never seemed thrown off-center, staying composed and getting down to business. The defense did allow some big numbers through the air and on the ground and if you didnt watch the game, youd think the Trojans offense had a really easy time of it. But USC was never able to sustain a groove and when it came down to crunch time, the Stanford D made its presence felt. Stanford dominated the possession game at a nearly 2-1 clip and despite a somewhat-close score, really dominated the game in a lot of ways. We saw what looked like a vintage Stanford team. They were able to run the ball well and eat up massive amounts of clock, while the defense kept a lid on the offense when needed.
For a season thats not even a month old ,Stanford has been through the ringer a bit, with a week one voyage out to Illinois, before making the trip down the coast to L.A. last Saturday. Now its back up north to play Oregon St. Its a rough patch of games for this team, though Oregon State hasnt exactly thrilled this season. It was to be expected. Having lost some key players was enough to overcome. And normally getting a new coach wouldnt be so jarring. But with Mike Riley out and former Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen in, there was a big transition to undergo. Riley was an offensive guy who instilled a pro-style system, with Andersen relying more on the run and having come up through the ranks as a defensive guy.
Oregon States results on paper thus far havent been very inspiring. Even at 2-1, there isnt much that elicits hope. But weve seen teams do about-faces this season, making past performances almost a moot point. They beat Weber State in week one, leading only by 6 at the half. They were smoked by Michigan, with coach Andersens Big Ten experience not helping in a game that ended up being one-sidedthough somewhat predictably, even against a rebuilding Wolverines bunch. And a win is a win, but trailing a down San Jose State team at the half at home on Saturday wasnt very impressive.
Oregon State saw their run-game get untracked well on Saturday, with Storm Woods having a productive 151 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Collins threw a touchdown, while running for 2 more with 114 yards on the ground. Talented 65 sophomore receiver Jordan Villamin had another good game. The Beavers had over 300 yards on the ground and yes, that was against San Jose State, but you have to start somewhere.
The Beavers have gotten off to rough starts before and gone on to register a nice handful of upset conference wins. In other words, we have this impression of the Beavers as Pac-12 afterthoughts, but we may not have the evidence to shovel dirt on them like that. Not yet anyway. The 27-point loss to Michigan was disconcerting, but its a different story in Corvallis. They could snap into form at any time and weve seen it over and over through the first three weeks of the college football season.
Its a big point spread. Not that its necessarily wrong, but Stanfords offense has a tendency to be pretty pedestrian, despite the big output on Saturday. High point outputs are not something you can count on week-to-week with the Cardinal. Questions loom about Oregon State as to their viability when playing the better teams of their conference. But the dye hasnt been cast. Look for Oregon State to keep It semi-respectable, while covering the spread.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Oregon State Beavers plus 15.5 points.
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