Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oregon vs Stanford Preview - Stanford picked to win, Oregon plus the points

For the second week in a row we have an important game affecting the BCS picture.  Oregon visits Stanford which will go a long ways to determining if Stanford can get into the top-2 in the BCS, but it will also offer an opportunity, should Stanford win, to compare how Stanford and LSU played against a common opponent.

First, my computer ranks the teams very close, #5 and #6, with Stanford just 0.285 ratings points ahead.  A near tie as was the case with LSU and Alabama last week.  As is always the case when we preview these match-ups, here are the performance charts.

Oregon has played the tougher schedule, 70.0 to 67.2, and thus has the more meaningful games (larger dots), but also has the one loss, although that was to #1 LSU and wasn't as bad a result as their win over WSU.

Stanford on the other hand has had more consistent results, but against the weaker competition, it hasn't been as meaningful.  Their most meaningful game against USC being a game that took OT and they easily could have lost.

Their common opponents are:

  • Arizona - Stanford won 37-10 on the road, Oregon won 56-31 on the road the next week.
  • Colorado - Stanford won 48-7 at home, Oregon won 45-2 on the road.
  • Washington State - Stanford won 44-14 on the road, Oregon won 43-28 at home.
  • Washington - Stanford won 65-21 at home, Oregon won 34-17 on the road.
From these games, Stanford did a bit better against the Washington's and would get the edge.  Since they are at home and are rated slightly higher that would seem to confirm they are the pick to win the game, the computer's pick by 3.3.

But what about the spread?  Stanford opened as a 3 point favorite and it has moved to 3.5, which bookends the computer's pick.  This one really is too hard to pick and would depend on which line you get, but since 3.5 is what is out there as I write this, the pick would be Oregon plus the points.

I expect this game to be very close, perhaps not quite as close as LSU/Alabama as it should go back and forth more and (hopefully!) have more scoring.  Despite what the computer says, I would not be surprised to see Oregon win given their explosiveness.

What will be interesting is how this game could impact LSU and Alabama in the computers.  Since LSU beat Oregon earlier this year, should Stanford win, Oregon's rating could go down which in turn may have a slight negative effect on LSU and correspondingly Alabama.  That could be what Stanford needs to move ahead of Alabama in the BCS.

Enjoy the game!