The big one. So many great matchups this week, and ESPN GameDay picked the right one.
First off, someone needs to wake up and give the Pac-10 some credit. Yeah, USC is not going to be in the picture for a while due to Reggie Bush and his mishaps. But there are four Pac-10 teams ranked in the Top 20 for the first time in over 25 years.
The two highest-ranked teams, Oregon and Stanford, face each other this weekend in Eugene.
Oregon comes into the game ranked in the top five in the nation in scoring offense, defense, and rush yards per game. So, pick your poison.
Stanford brings a smash-mouth defense and All-American-caliber quarterback to the battle. The Cardinal, who haven’t been ranked in the top five in the nation since the early '80s, will surely make another appearance with a win on the road Saturday.
Question is, how far will Oregon move up?
Assuming the Ducks repeat history and handle their business at home, Oregon will almost surely jump the Broncos of Boise State into the top three.
The main reason this game takes the top spot as far as most important game of the weekend is the conference implications. As mentioned earlier, USC won’t see the postseason this year. This leaves Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona in the race for the Rose Bowl and possibly the national championship.
Oregon and Stanford simply have the most to gain and the most to lose this weekend. There is no conference championship at the end of the year. There isn’t the caliber of teams in the Pac-10 as the SEC or Big Ten. Saturday’s game is purely the Pac-10’s championship game to date.
My prediction is Oregon runs over a tough Stanford defense. The Ducks got a great preview last week in Arizona State, whose quarterback Steven Threet is similar in stature and play to Stanford QB Andrew Luck.
Oregon, who also got punched in the mouth a few times last week, still managed over 400 yards of offense.
Autzen Stadium, one of the loudest in the nation, gets that much louder when GameDay comes to town. The last two times Lee Corso and the guys came to Eugene, the Ducks pulled off a big win. I expect Saturday to be no different.
No. 9 Stanford at No. 4 Oregon: Winner moves up the Top 10 and loser moves out—easily this weekend's most important game.