The Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks meet in Eugene for an early season showdown in the Pac-12. Both are contenders to win the conference, but it’s going to be a tight battle to the end of the season in the Pac-12 North. Along with Stanford and Oregon, there’s also Washington and Washington State who are going to be in the mix for the conference. With a healthy Justin Herbert in the lineup at Oregon, the Ducks are going to be a tough out for any team.
That goes for the favorites Washington, who already have a loss on their resume against Auburn. They are 1-0 in Pac-12 play, though, after a 21-7 win over Utah last week. Stanford have an in-conference win over USC, so they have the better win than Washington. After playing Bowling Green, Portland State, and San Jose State, this is going to be an instant uptick in competition for Oregon. They’ll look to go into conference play with a win against an impressive opponent.
Former head coach, Willie Taggart, excused himself from the Oregon program a season ago to go to Florida State. He thought there were greener pastures in Tallahassee. And while his bank account is bigger, he’s finding out that life was a lot less stressful in Eugene. We’ll see what happens with Taggart, but it was abundantly clear that Oregon weren’t a good team without Herbert at quarterback. Taggart couldn’t make the necessary adjustments without an elite quarterback at the helm. Herbert is one of the better quarterbacks you will find in college football.
Stanford have more than one weapon in their arsenal. Last season it was feed Bryce Love all game long, which isn’t a bad game plan given his talent. However, with the development of K.J. Costello at QB, and JJ Acerga-Whiteside at receiver, the Cardinal passing game is something defenses have to worry about. They can’t simply stack the box and wait for Love, because Costello will beat the defense over the top. Acerga-Whiteside was a monster in the season opener, as he hauled in 226 yards and 3 touchdowns. Oregon haven’t seen a real offense yet this season, so it’s going to be a major difference from their first three games. Head below for our free Stanford vs. Oregon pick.
Stanford Cardinal vs. Oregon Ducks NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Oregon +2.5(-105)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Stanford vs. Oregon Pick:
Stanford had a tune-up game last week, as they won a 30-10 decision against UC Davis. Make no mistake, Stanford were already preparing for this Oregon team. They likely didn’t put much preparation into UC Davis. Note that Bryce Love did not play last week, but he will be suiting up in Eugene. Costello has passed for 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions with a completion percentage of 61.4 percent. He is not only trying to lead Stanford to success this season, but he’s also looking for personal success to impress NFL scouts. Scouts love big pro-style quarterbacks, and at 6’5” he fits the bill.
He must show a little more consistency the rest of the season, though. Costello is scheduled to be in the 2019 draft, so scouts will be paying attention to him on the road in this one. They’ll also be paying attention to Acerga-Whiteside who looks like an NFL ready talent. There are multiple guys on this Stanford offense that could turn into quality professionals.
Costello might be raw, but he could be a development prospect for a team. Their offensive line is packed with experience and talent as well. They have one of the best in the country in fact. USC were able to handle them, but their line wore out San Diego State and USC is not Oregon up-front, albeit they are fast.
Going into this season, offense didn’t look like it was going to be an issue. They got off to a slow start in the 1st quarter against the Aztecs, though when the Cardinal got it rolling, San Diego State didn’t have an answer. The USC game turned into a pure defensive battle. Stanford knew they had the Trojans’ freshman on the ropes, so Costello didn’t have to open things up. Look for the play-action to be difficult for the Oregon secondary to figure out. The Ducks are speedy on the defensive line; however, if there’s an offensive line that can negate them, it’s going to be Stanford.
Stanford isn’t going to be able to keep their playbook close to their vest in this game. Herbert and the Oregon offense can put up points on any defense in college football. In a shortened season in 2017, Herbert passed for 15 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. It’s only September 22nd, and he’s already thrown for 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Note that they are averaging 214 yards per game on the ground as well.
So, look for Stanford to open things up a little bit, because we all know Oregon will come out firing away. The one knack on Stanford going into this season was their defense going through a transition year. Thus far there hasn’t been many indications that they are basically all new players. However, who have they really been challenged by? A freshman quarterback at USC is the best QB they’ve had to prepare for.
Now they get Herbert, one of the best quarterbacks in the nation at home in Eugene. Oregon may not throttle Stanford, but they’re going to move the ball. Stanford beat Oregon, 49-7 a year ago, but Herbert was not starting. The Oregon offense is night and day with him in the lineup. I had this total handicapped at 60 or 61, so at 56.5, the OVER looks like an attractive option for your Saturday night college football card.