How many of you saw this one coming? Stanford, a 10- or 10.5-point underdog on its home turf, beat Oregon 26-20 in the marquee college football game of the week on Thursday night.
The Ducks couldn’t score a touchdown in three quarters. So the Ducks’ national title hopes are gone, and Stanford has the inside track on earning a second straight Rose Bowl bid after upsetting Oregon for the second straight season. Stanford’s time of possession (42:34) told the story in this one, just as it did a year ago when Stanford won 17-14 in Eugene. Oregon ran just 74 players in that one and punted eight times.
And if you’ve seen Oregon QB Marcus Mariota play, you know he wasn’t himself. There were rumors before the game that he wasn’t 100 percent because of a knee injury and he didn’t look to run against Stanford and the Ducks were turned into a one-dimensional offense. The nation’s No. 2 rushing offense ran for just 61 yards.
I find it interesting in this era of high-powered, wide-open spread offenses, that No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Florida State, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford are all getting it done on offense with old-style physical offensive lines. They can protect the quarterback and beat you with a punishing run-game. Stanford pounded Tyler Gaffney at Oregon 45 times for 157 yards.
Gonzaga, as always, will be an interesting team to watch. They’ve got a 7-1 center (Przemek Karnowski), an exciting transfer from Providence (Gerard Coleman), and another promising transfer from Louisville (Angel Nunez) to go along with returners Sam Dower, Kevin Pangos and David Stockton. Go ahead and pencil the Zags into the NCAA tournament. They’ve made it 16 straight years and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be there again.
Not that it matters at this stage of the college basketball season, but Gonzaga is projected as a No. 4 seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology listings at ESPN.com. The Washington Huskies are not projected to be one of the 68 teams selected to play in the NCAA tournament
I think the Huskies, picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12, could surprise. Perris Blackwell, a 6-10 transfer from San Francisco, looks like a legit inside presence on offense, something the Huskies have lacked in recent years. Freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss might be the real deal and CJ. Wilcox is the real deal. I’ll also be interested to see how the Arizona State Sun Devils fare. I got a chance to see Shaquielle McKissic play in the NWAACC last season when he was with Edmonds CC and the 6-5 transfer, a Kentridge High grad, promises to be one of the most exciting talents in the Pac-12.
If Sherman was the commish ….
What if Richard Sherman was the commissioner of the NFL? He tackles that question in his latest column for Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for SI.com. Here’s an exerpt:
“It’s a difficult job, I’m sure, working for the owners while looking out for the welfare of the players. It always seems like a happy balance is being struck in late April, when a parade of draftees crosses the stage at Radio City Music Hall, each one giving Roger Goodell a handshake and a hug after his name is called. But for the rest of the year it’s clear that the interests of the 1,700 players pale in importance to those of the 32 owners.
Read the entire column here.