Oregon Magazine

Pigskin Pete:
Sanford vs. Oregon is
For All Pac12 Marbles
by Fred Delkin
   This is it...the clash between Ducks and Cardinal for post seasaon prominence, a Pac12 title and national television stardom.  Both sides warmed up with relatively easy wins this past week.  Pigskin came away with a 6-1 record as UCLA unexpectedly dumped Arizona State and left Bruin coach Ricky Neuheisel with a faint hope of avoiding the axe.  ESPN Game Day and ABC are united in presenting this week's headliner match to a national audience.

--Palo Alto has never had such national media coverage for its gridiron party.  We believe the game will live up to the hype.  Stanford is 9-0 to date, 7-0 in the conference, and ranked #3 nationally and hasn't gotten this far unbeaten in a season since 1952.  Oregon is #6, and has a lone loss to #1 LSU, who only added to the Ducks' crfedibility by beating Alabama. Stanford's squad is populated by no less than 9 probablre NFL #1 draft picks, including some monsters playing on the line. The nation knows all about Card QB Andrew Lucxk but he's well-accompanied by trio of accomplished runners and a quartet of towering tight ends.  The Ducks are also well-stocked with proven performers...just ask the Washington Huskies!  There really are no apparent weaknesses on either squad, including special teams and kickers, where the Webfoots may have a slight edge..  This corner believes the Ducks wil scrape out a win and leave the BCS poobahs in somewhat of a quandary for postseason placementsOREGON by 3.

--the somewhat Golden Bears are a bit of a puzzle, with very inconsistent play from week to week.  They should have enough to overcome the bedraggled Beavers, who have yet to find a running game and have played themselves out of any bowl game consideration.  CALIFORNIA by 7.

--we doubt the Dawgs can recover from the whipping the Ducks did to them, though UW was energized for a final game in ol' Husky Stadium and a halftime ceremony honoring its 1991 national champions.  SC has a top 10 offense that will shred a mediocre defense that let the Ducks run and throw with abandon.  Troy QB Matt Barkley and his favorite receiver Robert Wood won't be challenged.  USC by 14.

--the Cougars should be praying for the Palouse to dish up a good helping of winter weather which might slow the visitors from the desert,  Sadly, ASU's 6-8 QB Brock Osweiler is a Montanan with an immunity to cold.  The Sun Devils, despite stumbling at UCLA, are still aiming for a Pac12 South titleSUN DEVILS by 21.

--the Utes' coach Kyle Willingham is a winner, which can't be said for his Bruin mentoring rival.  The host team had a solid win over a resurgent Arizona squad last week and will derail that UCLA revival over Arizona StateUTAH by 7.

--it's been a long season for the undermanned Buffalos and playing in their home corral won't change the odds that Wildcat NFL-caliber QB Nick Foles will have another superb performanceARIZONA by 21.

--Greeley is a frigid place to play this time of year, but the Vikings are feeling euphoric over their best season in almost a decade, and will Pistol whip their hosts' defense.  Another opportrunity for PSU QB Connor Cavanaugh to shine.  PORTLAND STATE by 28.


ROSES & RASPBERRIES...we're tossing a bouquet to Portland's Lincoln high school boosters who've funded an impressive new all-weather stadium for football, soccer and track events that was inaugurated this past week...we also direct blooms toward the coaching genius who was quoted saying "the best time to play a freshmn is when he is a senior"...no such honors for the sex-laden mess at Penn State (you've had a helluva career, Joe Paterno, but it's past time to retire)...a  bucket of blooms has been earned by Jim Harbaugh, who coached Stanford into its current football status and then moved across the Bay to restore the Forty Niners to past glories.

© 2011 Oregon Magazine