No. 10 Stanford hosts No. 13 Arizona in a crucial Pac-10 showdown between 7-1 teams. Let's cram, shall we?
Opening Number: 0
As in the number of times both Stanford and Arizona have been ranked in their 25 meetings before Saturday. Arizona leads the all-time series, which has featured some interesting games, 14-11.
Players to Watch
Nick Foles, Arizona QB: Head coach Mike Stoops says Foles, who torched Stanford for 415 yards last season, is 100 percent. Even so, he may be rusty. If Foles starts, it will be important for him to find a rhythm quickly to keep the Stanford defense on its heels.
Ricky Elmore, Arizona DE: The Pac-10's sack leader faces his stiffest challenge yet in the form of Stanford's often impenetrable offensive line.
Andrew Luck, Stanford QB: I've avoided putting Luck on this list in the past because it's a given that the redshirt sophomore is one to watch, but Arizona boasts the best defense he has played in his short Stanford career. As good as the Stanford offensive line is, it seems inevitable that Luck will face more pressure than he's accustomed to. His ability to improvise if and when the protection breaks down could be the difference in the game. It could also determine whether he's still talked about as a Heisman contender come Sunday morning.
- Matt Masifilo, Stanford DE: The Wildcats will be ready for Masifilo after he had two sacks in last week's shutout of Washington. The Cardinal will need to generate similar pressure from its front seven against Arizona, no matter who is under center.
"Primetime" -- The Gameday set will be in Salt Lake City for the clash between Utah and TCU, but ABC is sending its lead announcing team of Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit, and Erin Andrews to the Farm. More than three-fourths of the country will be treated to this game.
"Rose Bowl" -- The winner stays in the hunt for a BCS bowl bid. The loser starts hoping for a lot of help in the coming weeks.
"Train, Meet Wall" -- What happens when a prolific scoring offense (Stanford averages 42 points per game) meets a stingy scoring defense (Arizona allows 14 points per game)? We'll soon find out.
- "Big Plays" -- Arizona head coach Mike Stoops says the Wildcats will have to play smart and avoid giving up big plays to beat Stanford. Last year's thriller featured a number of big plays and you should expect more of the same on Saturday. Stanford's Chris Owusu is due.
Additional Reading (For You Dedicated Students):
The Daily Axe likes Stanford in a shootout.
- Ted Miller picks Stanford by four.
- Jon Wilner says the Cardinal's offensive line will be the difference.
- AZ Desert Swarm thinks Arizona can pull off the upset with a healthy Nick Foles.
- Jacob Jaffe suggests Arizona and Stanford still have a lot to prove.
Closing Number: 88.38
As in the number of rushing yards Arizona has allowed per game. Two teams--The Citadel and Cal--have eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark against the Wildcats. Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor has rushed for at least 100 yards in five consecutive games.
Prediction: Stanford 34, Arizona 28. I think the Stanford offensive line will buy Luck enough time against Arizona's pass rush to take advantage of the Wildcats' secondary. A Stanford defensive score, or key turnover to set up a touchdown, is the difference in the game.