The Stanford Cardinal just keep on winning and the talk of the team playing for a BCS national championship is heating up. While the Cardinal have only truly been tested once this season -- you may or may not have heard about the instant classic they played against USC two weekends ago -- that will change dramatically as they welcome the Oregon Ducks to town.
ESPN's Kevin Gemmell spent some time thinking about the game and is eagerly waiting to see how Stanford performs against one of the better teams in the nation. Here were a few of the big topics he hit on:
Are the Cardinal ready for the big time? Put up or shut up. Saturday's game against Oregon will determine whether Stanford is legitimately ready to make the jump from college football's nice little story to bona fide national championship contender. This is unfamiliar territory for Stanford -- but Oregon is used to the spotlight. Fans and media alike can't wait to see if the Cardinal rise to the occasion or crumble under the weight of their success.
Is this the week it all clicks? When the offense is hot, the defense is not. When the defense is stout, the offense is trickling. We've yet to see Stanford put together a full 60 minutes when both sides of the ball are cranking. And this week, it's going to take a complete effort. With two of the top-scoring teams in the nation converging on Palo Alto, most are expecting a shootout. The offense is going to have to be able to match Oregon drive-for-drive and the defense is going to have to come up with stops and/or turnovers for the Cardinal to have a chance. That's a lot to ask. But that's what big-time teams do.
These are questions I have asked myself as well over the course of this past week and I truly believe the nation will see a phenomenal football game on Saturday. Last week's matchup between Alabama and LSU may have been labeled, "The Game Of The Century", but for my money, there is nothing better than an old fashioned barn burner between two very talented teams.
It's time to get excited about Pac-12 football. It may not be The Game Of The Century, but it's the game of the year on the west coast.