It’s been 17 games since Stanford knew what defeat felt like. Mowing over opponents, the Cardinal had become very used to winning and winning big, even in the post-Jim Harbaugh era. But watching Oregon running back LaMichael James get gradually smaller from behind as he ran 58 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter brought back that feeling. And with each big play, with each touchdown and celebration by Oregon, that losing feeling got a little more real.
By the end, it was a good ol’ fashioned butt whooping — west coast style, of course — by the Ducks, who won in advantageous fashion 53-30. It was a stunning visual display, really. And, no, I’m not talking about Oregon’s uniforms (which were sharp), or their cheerleaders (who were lovely, as usual). Boseko Lokombo‘s 40-yard pick six of Andrew Luck was a wave of goodbye to the Cardinal’s Pac-12 championship aspirations; each of Stanford’s five turnovers was a snapshot of their BCS hopes slowly slipping away.
In a battle that was hyped up to be speed vs. strength, Oregon had the lethal combination of both.
Stanford didn’t even have the right cleats. It was just one of those nights. The Cardinal were slipping all over the turf tonight; Oregon glided almost effortlessly. Stanford turned the ball over; Oregon did it less. The Cardinal offense couldn’t engineer a big play; Oregon had a flock of ’em. Luck had a tough night throwing the ball; Darron Thomas made throws he didn’t before. The Cardinal were clumsy; the Ducks were graceful.
But it was good enough. Oregon controls their Pac-12 North destiny while Stanford not only needs to beat Cal next week — hey, it’s a rivalry game — but needs Oregon to lose to both USC and Oregon State to get into the Pac-12 championship game.
And, dare we add, that the Ducks might be on the outside of the national championship discussion once again? They’ll certainly jump Boise State and Stanford, and there’s a good chance they’ll hurdle Oklahoma, who was on a bye, as well. And, wouldn’t ya know it? The Ducks are right back at No. 4 or No. 5 with just a few weeks left in the season.
If Oregon keeps winning, that Pac-12 championship game could also vault them over No. 3 Alabama — all things going according to schedule, of course.
That’s also the dangerous part — assuming it’s all going to go according to plan. There were 10 undefeated teams just a few weeks ago. Now, there are three. The college football season rarely, if ever, goes exactly as it’s supposed to. Will that result in a potential rematch between LSU and Oregon? Obviously Oklahoma State is in the driver’s seat to get to the BCS national championship if they win out.
But how would you feel if it did result in a rematch? Sound off below.