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College Hotline - Stanford football: Grading the Week

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    (AP Photo)

    PLEASE NOTE: Kickoff for Big Game will be announced Saturday night/Sunday morning, as ESPN has elected to use its second 6-day selection option for the Nov. 21 games.

    The available windows are 12:30, 5 and 7:30, with two other games in play: Oregon-USC and Utah-UCLA. My guess is ESPN will opt for UCLA or USC in the 5 p.m. window.

    Also: FOX has its second 6-day selection option available and will, I’d assume, use it for the Nov. 28 games. So the start time for Stanford-Notre Dame won’t be announced until the Nov. 21 results are in.

    Result: Won at Colorado 42-10

    Grade: A

    Comment: Don’t usually give A’s for victories over second-tier competition, but it’s difficult to find fault with any aspect of Stanford’s performance and it throttled a team that had given most opponents trouble.

    *** Not much to say about the victory:

    Stanford was in gear offensively from the start and mixed in a few plays we hadn’t seen before, especially the Kevin Hogan-to-Dalton Schultz play-action touchdown pass out of a heavy formation (i.e, linemen in the backfield).

    Defensively, the Cardinal had one wobbly possession — the first — and then settled in.

    *** So let’s take a quick look at the landscape, with playoff selection day fast approaching.

    We won’t take this approach every week, but it seems appropriate at the moment given the combination of a drama-less victory and important results elsewhere.

    In particular, three undefeated teams tumbled (Memphis, TCU and Michigan State).

    The impact of those results on Stanford’s playoff prospects varies and all depends, of course, on the Cardinal running the table.

    But at 12-1, Stanford would have much better chance to make the semifinals if it’s competing with a one-loss team, as opposed to an undefeated.

    Michigan State’s loss to Nebraska cuts the number of Big Ten unbeatens to two (Ohio State and Iowa).

    TCU’s loss cuts the number of Big 12 unbeatens to two (Baylor and Oklahoma State).

    And Memphis is now out of the running as a Group of 5 party crasher.

    On the other hand, Clemson took an enormous step toward a playoff berth with the win over Florida State. The Tigers have three games left — Syracuse (3-6), Wake Forest (3-6) and South Carolina (3-6), plus the ACC championship (probably North Carolina, which is 8-1).

    If the Tigers reach the playoff, three spots would remain for the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 champs. Oh, and don’t forget about Notre Dame.

    But let’s face it: Those three available bids are really two available bids if Alabama keeps winning … and they’re really one available bid if Ohio State also keeps winning.

    *** Stanford in situational football against Colorado:

    Turnover margin: +1
    Third down conversions: 10 of 16
    Red zone TDs: 3 of 3

    (Colorado was 1 of 4 in RZ touchdowns).

    Next up: vs. Oregon

    The matchup: More favorable than it has been since … since … It has been many years since Stanford held such a decisive advantage in the series.

    That’s hardly a guarantee of victory for the Cardinal, of course. Oregon possesses the speed and ‘array of playmakers to score on Stanford’s defense. If Vernon Adams makes sound decisions and avoid forcing plays, the Ducks could score 25, 30, even 35 points.

    But does Oregon have fleck of a wing of a prayer of a chance of stopping Stanford’s power game and run-pass balance … of tackling Christian McCaffrey, containing the tight ends, disrupting Kevin Hogan’s rhythm and out-flanking Stanford’s line?


    We’re talking about what has been an irresistible object (in all but one conference game) against a very movable force.

    The Ducks are solid up front, but the back seven? Yikes.

    WSU scored 38 on ’em, ASU went for 55 and Utah posted 62 — and Stanford poses greater matchup problems for the soft, unsound Ducks than that trio of teams.

    I envision the game unfolding in this manner:

    Stanford goes 75 yards in nine plays for a touchdown.
    Oregon responds with a field goal.
    Stanford goes 60 yards in seven plays for a touchdown.
    Oregon goes 3-and-out.
    Stanford goes 45 yards for a field goal.
    Oregon scores a touchdown.
    Stanford goes 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown.
    Oregon punts.
    Stanford goes 55 yards for a touchdown.

    It’s 31-10, and the Cardinal is in firm control.

    *** Stanford is favored by anywhere from 8.5 to 9.5 points, the largest spread in the series in its favor since forever.

    (The last time Oregon was an underdog of this size: vs. USC in ’08.)

    Unless the Ducks play defense at a level they haven’t approached thus far, Stanford should win handily — and perhaps set a few school records (i.e., rushing yards) in the process.


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    by Jon Wilner

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