Note: I do not pick non-conference games and those involving Arizona (since this is an Arizona-based Web site).
Javier Morales 2013 Overall Record: 21-7 (.750).
Javier Morales Against the Spread: 20-8 (.714).
When: Today, 7 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, Calif. TV: ESPN.
Spread: Oregon by 10.5.
When does Oregon play Arizona?: Saturday, Nov. 23, Arizona Stadium.
When does Stanford play Arizona?: The teams are not scheduled to play in the regular season.
Why Oregon will win: The Ducks are not affected by games like this on the road. In fact, they thrive on them. The Ducks have won 19 straight road games dating back to their last loss at Stanford on Nov. 7, 2009, four years ago to the day before this week’s showdown with the Cardinal. Oregon has outscored its opponents 894-442 during that streak and has won 17 of the 19 games by at least 10 points. Oregon beat Arizona in double overtime in 2009 to begin its current streak and then went 6-0 on the road in 2010, 4-0 in 2011, and 5-0 in 2012 before winning its first three road games this season. Oregon’s 19-game road winning streak is the longest active streak in college football and the fourth-longest since 1900.
Why Stanford will win: Only once in the past 34 games has Oregon’s explosive offense been held under 34 points. That lone exception came last season when the Cardinal beat then-No. 1 Oregon, 17-14, in overtime in Eugene, Ore. Stanford held the Ducks scoreless for the final 23:25 of regulation time plus the untimed overtime period. Because of injuries at the defensive end position, Stanford may only use two defensive linemen, along with four linebackers and five defensive backs, an alignment it has used often against the many spread offenses it has faced this year.
Outcome: Oregon by 17.
Reason: For this segment, I harken back to my article this week at BleacherReport.com:
—Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will do to Stanford’s defense what ASU’s Taylor Kelly and Washington’s Keith Price did against the Cardinal in Palo Alto. Kelly and Price operate in balanced offenses, similar to Mariota’s situation. Price passed for 350 yards against Stanford. Kelly had 367. Stanford’s defense is vulnerable against an effective passing offense. Mariota is talented enough to exploit that.
—The Ducks’ defense holds up well against Stanford’s more-hyped unit. Furthermore, dominating Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner is lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Consider: Opposing offenses have run 47 more plays against the Ducks than against Stanford because of Oregon’s quick-scoring offense. Despite this, opponents have nearly as many yards against the Cardinal (2,827) than the Ducks (2,874).
—Stanford starting quarterback Kevin Hogan is 7-0 against ranked opponents but that has more to do with the Cardinal’s defense. Hogan has not shown the ability to be the difference, never throwing for more than 300 yards in a game. He passed for only 88 yards at Oregon State in the Cardinal’s 20-12 win on Oct. 26. Expect Oregon to come after Hogan, who relies too much on leading receiver Ty Montgomery (39 receptions). The No. 2 receiver Devon Cajuste has only 21 catches.