The Pac-12 North division champion will most likely be determined on Saturday when the Oregon Ducks host the Stanford Cardinal. One of these teams will play in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game and both control their destiny.
There is a chance Oregon can lose on Saturday and still host the championship game. If they beat Oregon State and Stanford loses to UCLA, the Ducks advance with a better conference record.
There could also be a three-way tie with these teams and Oregon State. The Cardinal would advance based on head-to-head wins over the other two teams.
Both teams are focused on Saturday, though, and here are the details you need about the matchup.
When: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Spread: Oregon -21 (via Bovada)
Computer models rank Oregon 24th and Stanford as the No. 33 in College Football. A mocked game yields a 63-43 win for the Ducks.
But there is a reason computers shouldn't decide standings.
Oregon is an elite team and the Cardinal aren't far behind. Subtracting about 22 from each of their rankings would give a more accurate rendering of where they stand on the national scale.
The outcome of this game won't likely be far off the computer model, though. I have the Ducks winning by 22, an outcome crafted prior to consulting the opening line.
Over/Under: 64.5 (via OddsShark)
I construct my game summary prior to the release of the over/under. The Ducks have the ability to hit the over on their own in most matchups.
But while the Ducks have the top offense in college football, the Cardinal have the best defense in the Pac-12.
Stanford can slow down Kenjon Barner and Marcus Mariota as well as almost anyone. That still won't be enough to keep this game in the under.
It will take a great defensive game from Oregon for the score to not reach the over. "Great" and "defense" don't rightly fit with the Ducks this season, though.
Injury Report (USA TODAY as of Nov. 15 at 7:00 a.m. ET)
Geoff Meinken, FB, Out (Knee)
Kenjon Barner, RB, Probable (Thumb)
Marcus Mariota, QB, Probable (Wrist)
Issac Remington, DT, Probable (Leg)
Ricky Heimuli, DT, Questionable (Knee)
Dion Jordan, DE, Questionable (Shoulder)
Wade Keliikipi, DT, Questionable (Undisclosed Injury)
Taylor Hart, DT, Questionable (Ankle)
Keloni Kamalani, LB, Out (Arm)
Avery Patterson, CB, Out for Season (Knee)
Kenjon Barner on his injury: "I went back to the locker room to get some water..."— Comcast SportsNet NW (@CSNNW) November 11, 2012
The Pac-12 North title hangs in the balance for these two teams. Oregon would still advance to a BCS game with a loss on Saturday so long as they beat Oregon State.
But the Ducks are eyeing a return to the BCS National Championship Game. They need to win out to earn their spot.
Keys for Stanford Victory
As good as the Cardinal are, they simply aren't as good as Oregon. To pull this game, their defense will need to have their best showing of the season.
It seems doubtful they can keep Barner from getting loose around the edges and busting through openings on the interior of the line.
Stanford will also need a big game from Kevin Hogan. He's looked good since replacing Josh Nunes, but needs to avoid interceptions.
Hogan threw two picks against Oregon State. The Ducks will make Stanford pay if they turn the ball over.
Keys for Oregon Victory
Kenjon Barner. So long as the Oregon offense is clicking and they avoid turnovers they will be almost impossible to beat.
Oregon's defense has had some decent showings this season, but the unit will surrender points. They just aren't likely to surrender as many as they will score.
Oregon's offense has been able to move the ball almost at will this season, boasting the country's best scoring offense.
The Cardinal have one of the best defenses in the country and might be able to stop Barner. It doesn't seem likely, though. Even their 12th-ranked defense will come up short with protecting the middle of the line and the edges.
This game will be closer than others Oregon has been in, but the score may not reflect it. Chip Kelly has avoided running up the score in prior games.
Oregon won't take any chances with letting the Cardinal stay in this game.
Kelly also needs to be mindful of Barner's potential to win the Heisman Trophy. With several great performances to close the season he could challenge the other finalists.
Predicted Score: Oregon 52, Stanford 30
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.
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