The USC Trojans gave the Cardinal everything and more in the most exciting game of the season. They may very well get another game like that from an Oregon school -- but not this one. Oregon State doesn't have the same type of speed or athletes that USC does. It won't be a walkover, but I'd be surprised if Stanford is challenged when the fourth quarter rolls around. We learned a valuable lesson last week about the Cardinal -- that when the dice are loaded against them, they can rise up to the challenge. I don't see Oregon State hanging with them.
Prediction: Stanford 38, Oregon State 10
Why they'll win: Oregon State just doesn't have the talent across the board to compete with Stanford for a full 60 minutes. Granted, the Cardinal are banged up heading into this game, but that shouldn't stop them. They have more firepower on offense and more playmakers on defense. Talking to several players this week, it's clear they are laser-focused and not looking over the horizon to next week's game against visiting Oregon. What they are building this year is too special to have it ruined by a 2-6 team. They'll be ready.
In the spotlight: Anyone who catches the ball. Could be Ryan Hewitt. Could be Geoff Meinken. Could be Ty Montgomery or Drew Terrell or Corey Gatewood. Could be any one of them as Stanford revamps its offensive approach moving forward in the immediate future without tight end Zach Ertz. We'll see if Chris Owusu can bounce back after taking yet another brutal hit, and I'd expect Griff Whalen to continue the success he's enjoyed in recent weeks. There are plenty of other guys to step up in Ertz's absence -- not to mention Coby Fleener and Levine Toilolo are both healthy. I'll take that tandem.
Out on a limb: Stanford's front seven rebounds in a major way. After going without a sack and tallying just four tackles for a loss against USC -- almost half of their season average -- the Cardinal pressure will be back at it again. At least four sacks and seven tackles for a loss. It's been two games since Chase Thomas has had a sack. Anyone think he's getting itchy? As always, that's just me going out on a limb ...