"The Farm" Won't Douse The Earth-Scorching Oregon Ducks' Offense
It's been nearly one week since the Oregon Ducks completely outplayed the USC Trojans.
Since then, many sports analysts across the nation have targeted the Oregon Ducks' upcoming matchup against the Stanford Cardinal as a trap game.
Other analysts have predicted that the Ducks will win by as few as a single point.
Do not be fooled by these claims.
Let's look at how many games the "experts" have gotten wrong this season.
First of all, when 6th ranked California rode into Autzen Stadium in Week Four, many analysts stated that the Golden Bears' running game, behind then-Heisman hopeful Jahvid Best, would prove too much for the Ducks' defense.
The argument was also made that given Oregon's offense troubles in their three out-of-conference matchups with Boise State, Purdue, and Utah, the Ducks' offense would struggle to keep up with the Golden Bears' offense.
At the end of this particular game, the scoreboard read: Oregon 42, Cal 3.
Jahvid Best, the Golden Bears' "golden boy" was held to only 55 rushing yards.
That makes the tally: Oregon Ducks One, Analysts Zero.
One month later, when the Ducks traveled up to Seattle to face their hated rival, the Washington Huskies, many analysts predicted that Oregon would lose to the Huskies, that Washington's dual-threat quarterback Jake Locker would have the Ducks' defense on their toes all game long.
At the end of this particular game, the scoreboard read: Oregon 43, Washington 19.
That makes the tally: Oregon Ducks Two, Analysts Zero.
And then the very next week, with the one-loss USC Trojans coming to town, the analysts again predicted that the Ducks would fall flat.
At the end of this particular game, the scoreboard read: Oregon 47, USC 20.
It was the most lop-sided loss in the Pete Carroll era at USC.
The Ducks ran for 391 yards, 64 more yards than USC had in total offense.
That makes the tally: Oregon Ducks Three, Analysts Zero.
And now we arrive at the Oregon/Stanford preview.
To quote Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, there are ten reasons why the Cardinal will pull the upset tomorrow.
In his blog, Wilner states that "defensive discipline, Chris Owusu, History, Andrew Luck, The Ducks' Bill, the playing surface, atmosphere, schedule, and ground game," are the ten reasons why the Cardinal will come out on top tomorrow.
My response to this is that Wilner obviously does not give the Ducks' offense enough credit in his analysis of what he thinks will occur tomorrow.
Stanford is a solid team, and Jim Harbaugh has done an amazing job of rebuilding the once-great program, but the Cardinal are not ready to take that final step up into the upper echelon of the Pac-10 conference.
For starters, the team speed of the Cardinal on defense is awful. This is why the Cardinal could not contain Oregon State's running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
If the Cardinal could not contain Oregon State's offense, how do you think they will fare against Oregon's zone-read option offense?
I well tell you how they will fare. They will fall flat on their backs and not be able to recover.
The interesting factor though is Stanford's running game. Toby Gerhart, a bruising 235 lbs back, is employed through a traditional I-form offense.
Many analysts have stated that Gerhart will pound the Oregon defense, and that Stanford's offense will be able to control the clock.
What these analysts do not take into account is the tremendously athletic front seven of the Oregon defense.
Make no mistake, Oregon's defensive line is fast, strong, and they explode out of their stances. They may be smaller, but this allows them to get better leverage on the block, and if anything matters in the trenches, it's leverage.
And even if Gerhart breaks through the Ducks' d-line, the Ducks' incredible linebacking corps will be able to recover for them.
I do think that Stanford will put up a fight in the first half, much like the first half of last week's USC game, but Oregon will pull forward in the second half, and leave the Cardinal in the dust.
My VERDICT : Oregon Ducks 49, Stanford Cardinal 27
Make no mistake. "The Farm" will not be able to douse the earth-scorching Oregon Ducks' offense.
After this particular game, the tally will read: Oregon Ducks Four, Analysts Zero.
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