Stanford Cardinal (5-2 SU, 3-3-1 ATS) vs. Oregon State Beavers (1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 9PM ET
Where: Reser Stadium Corvallis, Oregon
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: STAN -23/ORST +23
Over/Under Total: 58.5
The Stanford Cardinal face the Oregon State Beavers in Pac-12 action from Corvallis on Thursday. Stanford is on a decent roll and had last week off after winning 4 straight to climb back into the conference hunt. In their win before the break, they manhandled Oregon, 49-7, and appear to be hitting their stride. Thats bad news for an Oregon State team whose only triumph on the season is a 3-point win over the FCS Portland State. They are winless in conference and saw their head coach leave before the last game, which was actually their best game of the season, a 36-33 loss to Colorado where they nearly scored their first conference win.
Oregon State might have a little more juice after parting ways with Gary Andersens whose leadership didnt mesh well with the team apparently. Interim coach Cory Hall looks to have brought a different energy to the team and maybe hes onto something. The Beavers were also off last week and maybe theyve worked some things out. Still, when the silver lining on a season is a 3-point home loss to the likes of Colorado, it speaks volumes of how fall the Beavers have fallen. By in large, theyve been getting murdered in conference games, averaging 21 points a game and giving up more than twice that amount.
The Beavers offense was a little better in their last game, putting up 33 against Colorado. With Jake Luton hurt, Darrel Garretson has stepped in and the former Utah State starter does have experience. He threw for nearly 300 against Colorado and has been decent filling in for Luton in spots. The heavy lifting on this side of the ball is done with a good back in Ryan Nall. His 513 yards and 7 touchdowns working behind this crummy Beavers line has been impressive in its own way. There are some veteran ball-catchers with which Garretson can work, guys like Jordan Villamin and Noah Togiai. Losing Seth Collins as a target has hurt and all told, its a pretty no-frills group, though some good signs were apparent in their last game.
The Oregon State D really could have come through in their last game, but they gave up a late score to let Colorado emerge the narrow winner with the late go-ahead TD. And not getting it done is typical of this bunch. Against opposing aerial attacks, theyve been ghastly. There is nothing on this side of the ball that suggests a Pac-12 team. They are almost as equally-bad against the run and the number of big plays they have provided so far this year has been minimal. That doesnt bode well as they prepare to face a Stanford team that can really do damage, especially on the ground.
A 1-2 start was tough for the Cardinal, as they dropped games to USC and San Diego State. In recent weeks, head coach David Shaw has helped them get it together, with good play on both sides of the ball over the last month or so. They enter this one with consecutive wins over UCLA, ASU, Utah, and then the smashing of Oregon in their last game. They are no perched atop the Pac-12 North Division. And with star back Bryce Love (questionable) a little banged-up, the off-week looks to have come in handy, with Stanford coming off a draining run of games.
Granted, playing a shorthanded Oregon team might pain too favorable of an image, but the Cardinal offense looked really good against the Ducks. Bryce Love was over 100 yards before you knew it and he had two touchdowns in the game. Quarterback Keller Chryst connected well with JJ Arcega-Whiteside, whose two touchdowns showed he is ready to finish the season with a flair after being hurt early. They can really run the ball well and Cameron Scarlett has added 6 rushing touchdowns to the cause. They are improving and should be expected to perform well against the defense that the Beavers bring to the table.
They might not have the suffocating defense that marked their best seasons, but the Stanford D is still a handful. There have been times when they were exploited by the better offenses in the conference, but thats a given. Safety Justin Reid has five interceptions. Pass-rushers like Peter Kalambayi and Dylan Jackson have been real difference-makers, combining for 16 sacks on the season through just 7 games. Again, its not a vintage Stanford defense perhaps, but they make up for it with timely stops and big plays throughout the game. And they seem to be getting better over the course of the season, another tidbit of bad news for the Beavers.
There have been enough crazy results this season where you cant really assume anything in the Pac-12. Even so, a cataclysmic event would need to occur to keep Stanford out of the winners circle. A more-resolute 2016 Beavers team kept Stanford in-check and lost by only 11, covering the spread. A lot has changed since that meeting. Even with the Beavers looking better in their last game, a blowout here seems to be a fairly-reasonable prediction. But with Love banged-up and the Cardinal not likely to overuse him and the general unthreatening nature of their opponent, I see the Beavers nosing the cover at home.
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