Oregon puts its No. 1 ranking on the line
No. 1 team in the nation, playing at home against a ranked divisional rival with two losses on its record and an elusive redshirt freshman...
No. 1 team in the nation, playing at home against a ranked divisional rival with two losses on its record and an elusive redshirt freshman quarterback directing its offense.
Last week it was top-ranked Alabama losing to No. 15 Texas A&M to shake up the national-championship race.
This week, new No. 1 Oregon hosts No. 14 Stanford, looking to avoid a repeat.
The Tide's loss has left the Ducks, second in the BCS, and No. 2 Kansas State, first in the BCS, on course to play for the national championship.
The Wildcats have what looks like an easier task this week — a game at Baylor (4-5).
No. 3 Notre Dame plays Wake Forest (5-5) on Saturday, hoping to stay unbeaten and take one of those spots if the Cardinal or Bears can pull an upset.
The Ducks seem to be walking into a similar situation as the Tide last week. The Cardinal even has its own Johnny Football.
New starting quarterback Kevin Hogan has invigorated Stanford's offense, first in an easy victory over Colorado, and then in last week's huge win against Oregon State.
Hogan was 22 for 29 for 254 yards against the Beavers. He's not quite Johnny Manziel on the move, but he did run for 49 yards on 11 carries.
The Ducks have dominated the rivalry historically, but only recently with Stanford's rise to power has it become a huge game on the West Coast. A wild one, too.
Stanford beat the Ducks 51-42 in 2009. The last two seasons Oregon struck back with 52-31 and 53-30 victories in which the Ducks pulled away in the second half.
Oregon comes in with all sorts of injuries nagging its defense. The Ducks will likely be down to their third starting free safety, and they had five defensive linemen miss most or all of last week's game.
Stanford's defense — led by linebackers Chase Thomas and Shayne Skov — has been one of the best in the nation, ranking ninth in yards per play (4.48) and sacks (42).
"They're good against the run, they're good against the pass," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "I think it's a huge challenge for us offensively getting matched up against what will be the best defense we've faced so far. Lot of veteran players on that side of the ball that play very hard."
But as the recent scores show, the Cardinal has yet to figure out a way to slow down Oregon's spread offense, which is operating better than ever behind another redshirt freshman quarterback, Marcus Mariota. The Ducks are the highest-scoring team in the nation at 55 points per game.
• Texas A&M freshman wide receiver Thomas Johnson was found safe in Dallas after he disappeared from campus three days ago. Johnson's mother, Linda Hanks, said the 18-year-old is unharmed.
• Misdemeanor assault charges were filed in a fight that led to the suspension of two Brigham Young players. Prosecutors in Provo, Utah, filed charges against Matthew Santos, 20, Alexander Jackman, 21, Zachary Stout, 21, and Joe Sampson, 23. Stout, a linebacker, and Sampson, a defensive back, both withdrew from BYU and will not return this season.
• The Atlantic Coast Conference agreed to a 12-year deal with ESPN for the TV rights to televise the Orange Bowl, with the conference champion facing either Notre Dame or a team from the Big Ten or SEC. The deal begins with the 2014 season and runs through 2026. The network will pay about $55 million per year.