Stanford - Oregon Prediction

Most of those who know me well pretty much know which team I am going to predict to win this game. I am a homer but I try to rationalize my predictions with as much analysis as I can humanly do while raising a family, working several jobs, and attending graduate school!

The key thing for this game is the fact that Stanford running back Bryce Love is well rested after being given last week off while Stanford squared off against UC Davis. No reason to risk injury against a school you are using as a punching bag (something SEC teams do often at the start of the season). The best way to beat a dynamic offense like Oregon is to keep them on the sidelines and Stanford head coach David Shaw loves to play that kind of football. Love entered this season as a frontrunner for the Heisman and while it may be hard to dupicate the impressive numbers he had last season, he is still a threat to score at any time and can easily get huge rushing gains, especially late in the game when the opposing defense is worn down. Furthermore, Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello and wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside have proven plenty capable of attacking the oppostion through the air just to prevent defenses from stacking the box against Love.

Of course this game is in Oregon and winning in Eugene is never easy. Oregon football has been dormant for the past 2 seasons and the Ducks are definitely a shell of their former selves when they were last relevant in the national title picture back in 2014. However, starting 3-0 and lighting up the scoreboard recently have plenty of Ducks' fans salivating at what this team could be and eager to return to their glory days when every one of their football games was electric and literally was like watching a track meet. The problem I have with Oregon is that their first three games were at home against very weak opponents. While Stanford has also played at home for its first three games, they did avenge both of their losses by taking care of decent opposition like San Diego State and USC.

Stanford is favored to win by 2.5 points. While I firmly believe that Stanford is a significantly better team than Oregon, I expect this game to be close given the venue and the fact that it's a nationally televised game on ABC. Heck, even ESPN Gameday is there making this matchup the game of the week so the Oregon Ducks will be fired up. Still, winning the war in the trenches is what matters and Stanford simply does that better than Oregon.

Prediction: Stanford 31 - Oregon 28. Bryce Love rushes for over 200 yards and 2 TDs.