See my preseason Stanford preview here.
Its Stanford week. And if ever there were a glorified bye week, this would be it. Now, I want to caution against any overlooking or anything like that (Stanford can beat you if you don't come to play), but this is a game that Oregon should win by three touchdowns as long as they bring their game. And that's exactly why this game is scary--because I know that all the fans are looking ahead to the Cal game. Lets hope the players aren't making that same mistake. After all, last time Oregon took Stanford lightly, it cost them a chance at a national championship.
And it is worth noting that Stanford is coming off a 37-0 blowout of San Jose State. While I know that SJSU is not a good team, and were so banged up that they were starting a safety at running back, shutting anybody out is still impressive. However, if you want a more accurate barometer of what Oregon should do to this team, look to the Cardinal's week one loss to UCLA, where they surrendered 624 yards to UCLA.
Stanford's starting quarterback is TC Ostrander. He has decent size and makes good decisions with the football. However, he has the mobility of a snail, so if Oregon can get that good pass rush going that they've had the last two games, it will certainly be a plus. And Ostrander should be forced into passing situations a lot. Starting running back Toby Gerhart was injured in the SJSU game and will miss the Oregon game. That leaves the starting position to Anthony Kimble, to is not nearly as good a back. And we know that their offensive line isn't very good. If Oregon's front seven plays the way they did against Fresno, Stanford's running game will be completely ineffective.
We do know that Stanford does have some talent at receiver. Evan Moore and Mark Bradford are back for their twelfth season as Cardinal receivers, and they always seem to have big days against the Ducks (combined for 170 yards on Oregon last year). Add to that Richard Sherman, who had a big day against the Spartans, and TE Jim Dray, and the receiving corps is actually pretty solid. But if we shut down the running game, it puts an awful lot of pressure on these guys, and we know that our secondary has been big on forcing turnovers thus far this season.
Defensively, don't be fooled by this team shutting out SJSU. This is a bad defensive team. They can't stop the run (expect another 300+ yard running game for the Ducks), and they don't really have a pass rush. Again, don't be fooled by last weeks' stats, SJSU was starting a safety at running back. Add to this bad defense the fact that Fred Campbell had his career end last game with a neck injury, and Clinton Snyder's status is uncertain for the game, and the Cardinal has a big mess on their hands. The seems to be decent (although UCLA lit `em up), but Oregon may never have to pass the ball in this game.
Should special teams become an issue, Stanford may have the best punter in the conference (and he gets a lot of practice) and a good kicker. Their return game? Not so much.
I don't want our team to get cocky. But I want them to come out, play well, and get a dominating W. Stanford is a team that they should dominate. But if you start overlooking people, you never know what will happen.
Update [2007-9-19 14:4:52 by Dave]: Okay, screw modesty. This is a bad, bad team. And an injured bad team. We will beat their hapless skulls in by at least five touchdowns, and Cody Kempt will be playing at quarterback by the time the game is over.