Oregon Ducks (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Stanford Cardinal (8-1 SU, 7-2 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ORE +10/STAN -10
Over/Under Total: 69
The Oregon Ducks make the trip south to face the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday in a big Pac-12 North matchup. Stanford is one of the top teams in the country, trying to overcome the week one loss to Northwestern to forge big things in 2015. Theyve won 8 straight games, including a lopsided 42-10 beating of Colorado on Saturday. After winning two straight games on the road, they return home to face the Oregon Ducks, who have won 3 games in a row, including a nice 44-28 win over Cal on Saturday. After some rough moments this season, the Ducks are 6-3 and looking to close the season strongly. Theyve looked dangerous lately and will be looking to play spoiler to the Cardinal on Saturday.
Oregon alternated wins and losses in the first 6 wins of the season, with wins over EWU, Georgia State, and Colorado and losses to Michigan State, Utah, and Washington State. But they have really responded with a lot of fighting spirit, first beating Washington on the road, followed by a hard-fought win over Arizona State, also on the road. The win over Cal showed Oregon doing some of the things people thought they would be doing earlier in the season. QB Vernon Adams has suddenly whipped his act together after inconsistent play and a nagging hand injury threatened to derail his first season with the Ducks. In the past three weeks, he has thrown for 887 yards and ten touchdowns and he has this offense moving.
Really making the Ducks offense bite in recent weeks is the variety of their approach. The passing game has been coming around with Adams and receivers Darren Carrington and Bralon Addison, along with other playmakers who turn up from time to time. On Saturday, they compiled 477 yardsjust on the ground! Royce Freeman ran for 180, as Tony Brooks-James added 101 and Kani Benoit getting 95, with Taj Griffin tacking on 59. Adams even added some useful runs. If they can continue to produce that kind of balance offensively, theyre in a position to thrive over the rest of their games.
The Oregon defense has been a roadblock to victory this season for the Ducks. Theyve given up an average of 37.2 points per game, sometimes barely able to put up resistance against some of the better conference opponents they have faced this season. And thats going to be a major issue against Stanford this week, as the Cardinal are not the team we knew from recent years that would chip away on offense while relying on D to do most of the heavy lifting. This Stanford bunch can put up points and the Oregon defense is going to need to find answers and maybe come up with a couple big plays.
Stanford relies on a powerful running game, led by Christian McCaffrey, who is at 1207 yards. But the ground game features multiple contributors, with Barry Sanders, Jr. and Remound Wright adding 14 touchdowns. Even QB Kevin Hogan can chime in with some useful scampers from time to time, with some big ones in recent weeks. The senior QB has been steely and tough, hungrily taking the bull by the horns and leading this offense to big things. The aerial game operates with an ensemble approach, but there are some big-bodied receivers with experience on this team who can contribute. In seven conference games in the Pac-12, Stanford is averaging over 43 points a game.
Meanwhile, the Cardinal defense has been doing its job for the most part. Its not the ironclad D it may have been in the past, but theyve been giving the offense more than enough work with which to work. Theyve given up some points, but thats the nature of the beast in the Pac-12. For the most part, they are more than sufficient. Only against Washington State has this team even had to sweat out a win since week one. And theyve been especially tough up-front against the run of opposing offenses. We can be almost certain that Oregons run-game will take at least a small step back this week against the Cardinal.
Stanford deserves a lot of credit for not falling victim to the madness that has been prevalent in the Pac-12 Conference this season. Oregon hasnt been so fortunate. But week after week, Stanford has lain to rest one dangerous conference opponent after the next. Its been awfully-impressive, but you wonder how long that will hold up and if they can keep holding off tough teams. Oregon may be one of the more dangerous opponents Stanford has faced during this recent run of conference dominance.
This is not an easy spot for the Cardinal. They are at home, which helps and they should be in an advantageous spot after being on the road for the past two weeks. But in their last 3 conference road games, the Ducks are 3-0 and they just might be in a position to give the Cardinal a run for their money. But with that defense, its just hard to give them a strong endorsement. With a Stanford team that is still trying to make a point, I think that at the end of the day, they win this one comfortably.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Stanford Cardinal minus 10 points.
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