Once again Oregon is heading into a pivotal matchup with Stanford. Oregon is going to be unranked in this game for the first time since 2008, but the same story line between them remains.
In games with Stanford there is a long history of season spoiling between the two. From the early 2000’s until now whenever these teams played, one of the teams would end up spoiling the other’s season.
The first instance that comes to mind is the magical season of 2001. Joey Harrington was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.
Oregon was undefeated and in control of the then-Pac-10.
Coming into that matchup, Autzen was beginning to be viewed as one of the loudest stadiums in the country and was riding a 23-game home win streak. Stanford was nowhere near the intimidating opponent that they are today.
With the game going the way everyone had expected, Oregon had built a 42-28 lead in the fourth quarter. That, however, is when Stanford went on a rally, scoring three touchdowns to steal the win 49-42.
In the era of the BCS every loss was magnified. This loss ended up keeping Oregon from its shot at a championship against Miami, thus putting a damper on the promising season.
For the next several years Oregon took care of Stanford, not giving them the chance to spoil another season. Then came Chip Kelly‘s debut season as head coach in 2009.
While the season had a rocky start against Boise State, Oregon regrouped and had just taken down a Pete Carroll-led USC.
While it was an outside shot, they still did have a chance to sneak into the national championship discussion. Instead, they were just run over by Toby Gerhart, ending any such ideas. While there was no national championship game, Oregon did make it to the Rose Bowl and gave birth to the greatest Oregon video ever.
This is at the time when Andrew Luck began coming into his own and Oregon vs Stanford had become must-watch TV.
In 2010, both teams were undefeated entering the game. After the first quarter, Oregon was surprisingly down 21-3, leaving Autzen stunned. The Ducks were finally able to score a quick touchdown, and surprise Stanford with an onside kick.
The half ended with Stanford up 31-24, but the game no longer seemed out of reach.
In second half, Stanford was held scoreless and what was once a close game ended up as a 52-31 blowout. As 2010 went on, Oregon made it to the national championship while Stanford would not lose another game that season.
Though Stanford had a very successful season it was somewhat spoiled by Oregon, that one loss keeping them from a national title shot.
The next season, Oregon opened again with a high-profile loss. By losing to LSU, Oregon had to fight its way back into the national title discussion.
Once again the Ducks had a highly rated matchup with Stanford, but this time Stanford was the higher ranked team and they were playing in Palo Alto. This time Oregon was the one who started fast, but unlike Stanford they let the lead slip away.
Oregon built on their lead throughout the game and again turned a close game into a blowout, 53-30. Once again that was Stanford’s only loss of the regular season and it kept them out of the national championship discussion.
2012 was the first post-Luck year, and was also the beginning of the Marcus Mariota era.
Oregon was blowing people out like never before and Stanford had two early losses. Oregon entered the game as the No. 1 team in the land, and Stanford was a three-touchdown underdog.
The game started strong as Mariota raced down the sidelines for a long gain but was forced out before the score. In typical Oregon fashion, they went for it on fourth down but failed to get the first — and that really set the tone for the game.
It ended up being a low-scoring affair capped by Alejandro Maldonado missing a crucial field goal leading to a loss. And for the third straight season, the loser of the game was kept out of the national title due to the loss.
2013 was more of the same. Oregon was undefeated entering November and Stanford stood between them and what seemed an easy route to a Pac-12 title.
The game was a repeat of the previous one, as Oregon was physically dominated by Stanford. Mariota was hurt and Oregon was shut out for three and a half quarters. The final score of 20-26 was not an indication of how close the game was.
Once again Stanford spoiled Oregon’s season, another season of unfulfilled potential.
2014 was not a spoiler type of game like the recent ones were.
Stanford was down and Mariota was on a mission to destroy the Pac-12. This brings us to this year’s game and this time Oregon is in the spoiler role.
The Ducks are a little down but peaking at just the right time. Stanford on the other hand has been rolling and is firmly in the hunt for a playoff berth.
One loss and Stanford has no shot at the playoffs, and Oregon can not only spoil Stanford’s season but steal the Pac-12 title from them.
If the past has shown us anything it is that this game is going to spoil one of these teams’ season.
With the next installment of this series of spoilers, what better way to relive these classic match-ups than with The Mighty Oregon DVD. Relive Luck never beating Oregon, or back to when Stanford was never a threat.
Featered Image by Kevin Cline
Article inspiration from The Mighty Oregon DVD
For more on these match-ups and more visit http://www.mightyoregondvd.com/