College GameDay is in Eugene and that means the entire nation will give their full attention to Oregon this weekend. The now No. 1 Oregon Ducks will host a gritty No. 13 Stanford football team who hopes to end Oregon's BCS Title Game chances.
Will Dion Jordan play on Saturday? Will he play effectively? How many snaps can he give Oregon?
Like any game this year this game has a lot riding on it for Oregon and there are a lot of topics that will be intriguing.
Here is what I am going to be watching to see how it plays out during the game:
Oregon's Defensive Line Injuries
How will Oregon handle the Stanford physical offensive line with multiple guys either out or playing less than 100-percent? Shoot we don't even know yet who is going to play. We have an idea but injuries are a funny thing and one day it might be feeling better to only get worse the next. Stephen Taylor is a beast of a running back and we saw what happened last weekend against Cal when Tedford ran it. Ricky Heimuli, Isaac Remington, and Taylor Hart all should be back and Dion Jordan is questionable but again like I said above injuries are a tricky thing.
Will Oregon dominate the line of scrimmage like they have most of the year or will there be some back and forth effort? I personally think Oregon's going to have some issues early on before making halftime adjustments and solving their problems. Look for Stanford to get nearly 200 yards of rushing offense however.
Last weekend against Cal Kenjon Barner came out of the game with a thumb/wrist injury and then was bottled up by a tough Cal defense. Last weekend he finished with just 65 yards rushing and no touchdowns but Barner did add 35 yards receiving. How will his injury be this week? Will it hinder his running? Will Stanford go the same way as Cal and hope Mariota can't beat them through the air? This is maybe Barner's last chance to position himself to win the Heisman barring a match-up against USC in the Pac-12 title game.
I expect a productive night from Barner and even finding the end zone a few times but I don't think it will be enough to put himself in the driver seat for the Heisman.
As of 10:51 PM Friday evening the weather report called for a 90-percent chance for rain. With Stanford already known to be a running offense and Oregon's issues rushing last week will the rain play a factor? We haven't seen Marcus Mariota post a freshman type game we all have been wondering about. Will this game be that game? Oregon was able to beat Cal last weekend through the air and I expect that will be the case this weekend as well but how big of a factor will a wet ball be?
Trent Murphy, A.J. Tarpley, Shayne Skov, and Chase Thomas have been terrific for the Stanford Cardinal. They are a big reason why they lead the nation in sacks and rushing yards allowed. In this guy's opinion they are the best linebackers Oregon will face all year as well as being SEC level linebackers. I am very interested in seeing how Oregon will handle these four. They have size, speed, and experience in Stanford's defense. If Stanford is going to win this game it will be cause these four guys have stellar games. Oregon will need to get each of them into open space and hope they can win the one-on-one battles.
Stanford's freshman Kevin Hogan
The freshman quarterback has been impressive in his two games since replacing now backup Josh Nunes. Hogan has thrown for 438 yards and five touchdowns while also running for 97 yards. However Hogan has done this against Colorado on the road and at home to Oregon State. Neither team has the athletes or pressure that Oregon presents. How will he handle his first career start on the road inside Autzen Stadium with an entire nation watching his every move? Will he handle it like Oregon's freshman quarterback or will there be some pressure points broken?