The stakes for the battle between Stanford and UCLA are huge. The Bruins are playing to possibly claim home field advantage for the Pac-12 Championship Game, while the Cardinal need a win to clinch the North title.
Stanford will likely enter the game knowing what's at stake, as Oregon should be wrapping up around kickoff of this game.
But both teams will have something to play for, be it pride if not for home field in the championship game.
But if Oregon wins will the Bruins want to take this game home? Their reward would be a trip to face the Ducks for the title. A trip to The Farm sounds more palatable.
Here are the other particulars for this game.
Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) November 19, 2012
When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via OddsShark)
Over/Under: 53, Spread: Stanford, -1.5
This game is close to being a pick 'em, but the needle should be pointing a bit more heavily toward Stanford. UCLA has scored points this season, but have struggled against good defenses. This will be the best one they face this season.
I have this game going to Stanford and staying under 53. UCLA has a good offense and a decent defense.
In this game an elite defense will shut down a good offense and Stanford's decent offense will be able to score on UCLA.
Injury Report (via USA Today as of Monday, Oct. 19)
Geoff Meinken, FB, Out (Knee)
Darius Bell SB, Questionable (Ankle)
Kenneth Walker, WR, Questionable (Concussion)
Steven Manfro, RB Knee)
Devin Lucien, WR, Questionable (Collarbone)
Damien Thigpen, WR, Out (Knee)
There are several scenarios that could play out in this game. If the Oregon State Beavers beat Oregon earlier in the afternoon, this game will determine who hosts the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Should the Ducks win, then the Bruins control their opponent. A win means traveling to Oregon while a loss means they play at Stanford.
Putting the issue of which game would be more winable aside, the best interest of the Pac-12 is to have Stanford hosting UCLA for a spot in the Rose Bowl with Oregon getting tapped or another BCS bowl.
Both teams will carry a few "what ifs" into this game. UCLA somehow lost to Cal earlier in the year. Stanford dropped a close game against Washington and had a win taken away against Notre Dame.
If not for those losses, both of these teams could still be in the national championship discussion.
Stanford Player to Watch: Kevin Hogan, QB
This decision is easy. Hogan came up big down the stretch for Stanford in their win over Oregon. He showed poise and presence that caused some fans to wonder what the season might have held had he been the starter from day one.
Interesting that Baylor QB Nick Florence and Stanford QB Kevin Hogan replaced Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, then spearheaded upsets.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 18, 2012
UCLA Player to Watch: Brett Hundley, QB
Johnathan Franklin has been a big part of UCLA's offense and he'll have an important role to play on Saturday. But Stanford has been effective stopping ground attacks this season.
UCLA will need to give Hundley time to throw against a tough pass rush. From there he needs to find targets and move the chains.
Hundley will need to look to Joseph Fauria as an outlet and a deep threat in this game. If Stanford is applying too much pressure then UCLA's big tight end needs to play a big role in moving the ball.
Prediction: Stanford 27, UCLA 20
The difference in this game will be Stanford's defense. Aside from giving up 48 points to Arizona their defense has been stout.
Their offense can put up points but expect them to focus on ball control and avoiding mistakes. It will be difficult for UCLA to win if Stanford plays a clean game.
Darin Pike is a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.
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