The students at the University of Oregon have a lot to be excited about during their first week of school. This Saturday, Lee Corso and the rest ESPN's College Gameday crew will come to Autzen for the highly anticipated game between No. 4 Oregon and No. 9 Stanford.
There is a lot riding on the line in this early season matchup. The winner will be the clear cut favorite to win the Pac-10 and may even be considered a national title contender. Both teams have been scoring machines in their first four games; Oregon leads the nation in scoring at 57.8 points per game, and Stanford is fourth putting up 48 points per game.
In last season's meeting Stanford handed Oregon its only Pac-10 loss in a 51-42 shootout. Last year, it was Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart who lit the Ducks up running for 223 yards and three touchdowns. The good news is that Gerhart is gone, the bad news is the Cardinal has another Heisman hopeful in quarterback Andrew Luck.
There is no question that the Oregon Duck offense can score at will. If Oregon is to win this Saturday then their defense is going to have to step up.
Last week, the Ducks gave up 597 total yards of offense against the Sun Devils in their 42-31 victory. Oregon's saving grace was Arizona State turning the ball over seven times (four interceptions and three fumbles). Creating seven turnovers is good. Giving up 597 yards is not very good.
This week, the Ducks' defense will truly be challenged. Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal have one of the best offenses in the country. The odds of the Cardinal turning the ball over seven times are slim to none. Oregon won't be able to rely on Stanford making mistakes to win this week.
Offensively the Ducks should continue to roll. LaMichael James (also a Heisman candidate) has been all but untouchable, and is liable to break one off for six on any given play. Darron Thomas continues to improve each week and has shown that he has command of the offence. Stanford will have their hands full trying to slow down Chip Kelly's offence.
This years meeting between Oregon and Stanford will probably be much like last year's; an absolute shootout. Both teams are going to hang a lot of points on the score board, but the winner will ultimately be decided by which team can make defensive stops late in the game when it really counts.
Prediction: Oregon 42- Stanford 35