So . . .
"The magnitude?" said coach David Shaw, the former offensive coordinator, who moved up when Jim Harbaugh moved across town to the 49ers. "It's a big game in the Pac-12 North."
After this, the Cardinal has Cal and Notre Dame, also at home, then maybe the conference's inaugural title game. That would be at Stanford Stadium as well, likely against UCLA or Arizona State.
In a playoff-less landscape, all they can do is try to finish and-0 and hope it's enough. Or is that Boise State's line?
A 12-1, Oregon likely couldn't make it to New Orleans either, although these days you never know for sure.
In 2009, Stanford beat Oregon, 51-42, at home. So don't expect a 9-6 final. Oregon has won eight of the last nine meetings. In those, the Ducks have scored fewer than 35 just once.
Stanford, of course, has the Heisman Trophy favorite and next No. 1 NFL draft pick in quarterback Andrew Luck. Two weeks ago, he threw a late interception at Southern Cal that was returned for a touchdown to put his team in a seven-point hole. He then directed the tying scoring drive, and got the Cards into the end zone three more times in as many overtime possessions.
Special stuff, especially if the storyline has a happy ending.
Oregon has running back LaMichael James, another returning Heisman finalist, who missed two games after injuring his elbow on Oct. 6 at Cal. He's still averaging 8 yards a carry. And Darron Thomas has passed for 19 TDs.
It might not be LSU-Alabama, but it's about as big as things will get west of the Mississippi. Or is that Oklahoma-Oklahoma State's line?
James Pitts just became the first Villanova player since 1990 to have three interceptions in a game. So who was the last to do it? Hint: He did it against New Hampshire. See Answer Man.
HAVE YOU NOTICED?
For the fifth straight season, Nebraska has lost at least once at home to an unranked team.
On Oct. 20, UCLA lost at Arizona (2-7), 48-12. And a lot of folks were wondering if Rick Neuheisel was going to be coming back in 2012 for a fifth season. Now, two home victories later, the Bruins (5-4, 4-2 Pac 12) somehow control their fate in the Pac-12's South Division.
They're tied with Arizona State (6-3, 4-2) and hold the tiebreaker. They're at Utah (5-4, 2-4), then home with Colorado (1-9, 0-6) before busing to the Coliseum to play Southern Cal (7-2, 4-2), which is ineligible for the title thanks to NCAA sanctions.
ASU is at Washington State (3-6, 1-5) and home against Arizona and Cal (5-4, 2-4).
Orin Solomon. And if you knew that the only Wildcat who ever had four in a game was Nick Basca (1939, against Muhlenberg), please contact Alex Trebek.
SPOTLIGHT ON ... DIVISION III SHOWDOWN
SATURDAY AFTERNOON in Doylestown, No. 8 Delaware Valley (9-0, 7-0 Middle Atlantic Conference) hosts Widener (8-1, 6-1). The winner earns the league's automatic berth into the 32-team NCAA tournament. The loser has to see if it gets one of the six at-large bids, which won't be announced until Sunday. Who needs to wait?
"It's going to be a crazy game," said Del Val coach Jim Clements. "This is what it's about. Everything's on the line. They want it, so do we. No doubt. It's what makes traditions great.
"It's why kids want to play for these teams."
Last year in Chester, a 4-5 Widener team beat the Aggies, who were 8-1, by one on a last-play touchdown and two-point conversion. It wound up costing the Aggies a second-round home playoff game. Instead, they had to go to Mount Union. Nothing good about that.
Del Val has been to the tourney the last 2 years. Widener's last postseason appearance was 2007. Del Val, which has won six of the last eight "Keystone Cup" matchups, finished the regular season 10-0 in both 2004 and '05.
The Pride is coming off a bye, while the Aggies won at Lycoming on a last-second TD, 28-21.
"Our older kids are letting our younger guys understand the magnitude of what we have before us," said second-year Widener coach Isaac Collins, whose program is probably a year ahead of schedule. "The reality is, this is a different animal. I'm excited to see where we're at.
"I'm not sure we had confidence we could pull it off last year. But it's a rivalry game. The plan wasn't to win the MAC title [this year]. It wasn't in our top 10 goals. But keeping the Cup was No. 1."
MAC ME UP:
One week after Toledo scored 60 points in regulation and lost by three to Northern Illinois, the Rockets scored 66 and won by three over Western Michigan. Both were at home. They're at Central Michigan next. Last year, they beat the Chippewas at home, 42-31.
COUCH POTATO GUIDE
7:30 Ohio at Central Michigan, ESPNU
8 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, ESPN
8 South Florida at Syracuse, ESPN2
Noon Florida at South Carolina, Channel 3
Noon West Virginia at Cincinnati, Channel 6
Noon Nebraska at Penn State, ESPN
Noon Michigan State at Iowa, ESPN2
Noon Wake Forest at Clemson, ESPNU
Noon Marshall at Tulsa, CSN, FSN
Noon Penn at Harvard, Versus
Noon Texas at Missouri, FX
Noon Ohio State at Purdue, Big Ten
12:30 North Carolina State at Boston College, Phila. Nonstop
2:30 Arizona at Colorado, Fox College Sports
3:30 Auburn at Georgia, Channel 3
3:30 Michigan at Illinois, Channel 6
3:30 Miami at Florida State, ESPN
3:30 Richmond at Delaware, TCN
3:30 TCU at Boise State, Versus
3:30 Washington at Southern California, FX
3:30 Wisconsin at Minnesota, Big Ten
3:30 Army vs. Rutgers, CBS College Sports
6 Tennessee at Arkansas, ESPN2
7 Navy at Southern Methodist, CSN
7 Western Kentucky at LSU, ESPNU
7:30 Maryland vs. Notre Dame, Channel 10
7:45 Alabama vs. Mississippi State, ESPN
8 Oregon at Stanford, Channel 6
8 Central Florida at Southern Mississippi, CBS College Sports
9:15 Idaho at BYU, ESPN2
10:15 Hawaii at Nevada, ESPNU