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Why Oregon should watch Arizona-Stanford

Sitting at No. 1 in the BCS with an unblemished record and a 3-5 Washington Huskies team coming to town this weekend, the Oregon Ducks are sitting pretty.

There don’t seem to be many roadblocks left between the Ducks and a perfect regular season, but most would point to the Nov. 26 game against the Arizona Wildcats as the best chance for an Oregon stumble. If you’re skeptical that Arizona could pull off such a feat, watch how the Wildcats do this weekend when they visit the Stanford Cardinal.

Built in the Same Mold FBS Ranks
This Season

Oregon and Stanford are built similarly: Both teams put up tons of points, each have high passer efficiency numbers and keep their QBs protected. If there is an area where each team is susceptible, it’s probably the yardage they allow through the air.

The Wildcats have the Pac-10’s top defense by several measures -- total yards, points, rush yards, first downs, etc. That defense will likely be the toughest that Stanford or Oregon faces all season.

If Arizona can prove this weekend that it can take a long trip Northward against a high-scoring offense and come away with a win, then they might convince people that in three weeks they can take a long trip Northward against a high-scoring offense and come away with a win again.

Three more notes on the Arizona-Stanford game (Saturday on ABC, 8 ET):

• These two are meeting as ranked teams for the first time in series history. They have played each other 25 times (this will be the 26th) and first met in 1979.

• Since its prime-time win against Iowa in mid-September, Arizona has somewhat disappeared from the national radar. That’s likely to change, starting with this game and looking ahead on Arizona’s schedule. Their final three games (vs USC, at Oregon, vs Arizona St) are all scheduled to be prime-time games on ABC or ESPN.

• Don’t expect to see Stanford punter Daniel Zychlinski much. The Cardinal have only punted 16 times this season, fewest in FBS.