Football predictions: Stanford vs. Oregon State

Sept. 25, 2015, 1:16 a.m.

No. 21 Stanford (2-1, 1-0 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (2-1, 0-0 Pac-12)

Michael Peterson: Stanford 27, Oregon State 20

Stanford heads to a place where it historically struggles for the second of back-to-back road games on a short week — the week when school started as well — and will possibly be without its starting quarterback. This certainly has the look of a trap game, and you can bet the Beavers will be prepared and ready to go Friday night.

Even potentially without Kevin Hogan, if the rest of the offense plays like it did against USC, Stanford will win this game. I don’t expect it to be easy, and I don’t think Stanford will cover the generous spread — the Cardinal are 15.5-point favorites. However, the Stanford defense won’t have to worry too much about the pass, as the Beavers average just 108 yards through the air per game, and can commit more defenders to the box to contain dual-threat quarterback Seth Collins. Whoever starts at quarterback for Stanford will have the three-headed monster of weapons at the running back position in Christian McCaffrey, Remound Wright and Bryce Love, who are all coming off of great performances at USC, as well as a red-hot Austin Hooper and Dalton Schultz. The banged-up Cardinal hold a tight lead all game, squeak out of Corvallis with a solid victory and maintain their position atop the Pac-12 heading into a three-game homestand.

Do-Hyoung Park: Stanford 31, Oregon State 10

I can’t see Stanford’s first-team defense giving up more than one touchdown to the Beavers. And on the other side, I can’t see Stanford’s offense having trouble putting up points, Kevin Hogan or no Kevin Hogan. Let me get this out of the way immediately: I don’t think Hogan should play on Friday. If a hobbled Hogan takes another big hit, he could suffer a worse injury, and with the meat of the Pac-12 schedule still yet to come, it’s not worth the risk. I’d say give Keller Chryst a good, hard look, and even if Chryst has a mediocre day, Oregon State is a team that’s beatable without throwing the ball too often. Michigan beat the Beavers 35-7 with its quarterback throwing for just 180 yards, because the Wolverines averaged 4.7 yards per rush and steamrolled the Beavers’ defense for 225 yards on the ground. Stanford will score four touchdowns on the ground (two from McCaffrey, two from Wright) and cruise to a big win.

Winston Shi: Stanford 28, Oregon State 14

Vegas has Stanford to win by 2 touchdowns, and given how badly I predicted the USC game, who am I to argue with Vegas? Then again, the point spread for the USC game was Trojans by 10, and we all know how that turned out. (Badly.)

I think there’s a lot to be cheerful about when it comes to Stanford’s offensive potential. The defense, though depleted — the latest anticipated member of the MASH unit is star linebacker Kevin Anderson — should be able to do well. I think that first-year Beavers coach Gary Andersen is the real deal — I loved him at Wisconsin — but Stanford has more talent, and most of the time, talent will win the day. Of course, I said that about Northwestern too.

The thesis I advanced before the USC game — that Stanford typically plays to the level of its opponent — hasn’t been imperiled by Stanford’s triumph over the Trojans. Stanford’s fire, playcalling and overall performance were far better against USC, a much more talented team, than they were against Northwestern. Despite Stanford’s talent advantage, almost any Power 5 team can beat any other Power 5 team if the more talented team is uninspired. Will Stanford come out flat against the “lowly” Beavers? Time to see if Stanford can play like the top-25 team its recruiting rankings say it should be.

Andrew Mather: Stanford 34, Oregon State 14

As many of the others have said, we shouldn’t greatly adjust our expectations for Stanford based on one good win. Fortunately, in this case, we don’t have to. The bottom line is that the Beavers are simply not in Stanford’s league this year, and anything less than a triumphant victory would be a disappointment regardless of what happened leading up to the game.

As good as I think Gary Andersen will eventually become in Corvallis, Oregon State is just too inexperienced this year to pose a legitimate threat to the Cardinal. True freshman quarterback Seth Collins has shown some early potential and a breakout performance from him could make this a game, but his selection as offensive leader seems more of a smart bet for the future than an expectation of immediate impact. Meanwhile, Oregon State’s defense had to replace nine starters in the offseason with even less proven talent than Stanford has available to fill the gaps, and as a result it shouldn’t cause many problems for Stanford’s playmakers regardless of who starts under center.

Bad things can happen on the road, and with the Cardinal’s recent history in mind, it would be illogical to rule out the possibility that they play down to their opponents’ level of competition. After seeing how this team responded to its opening loss to Northwestern, however, I can’t help but imagine that it will do everything in its power to prevent itself from falling into a similar situation again.

Vihan Lakshman: Oregon State 17, Stanford 14

This game has all the omens for a major upset: major injuries, the first week of classes, a raucous stadium where the Cardinal have had their troubles in the past and not to mention a physical, emotional win just the week before. Moreover, the Beavers match up well in this showdown with a very Northwestern-ish flavor of football. With a stingy defense that swallows opponents whole on third down, a talented running back and a mobile quarterback that can cause serious headaches, Oregon State could do just enough to cause Stanford serious trouble, especially if Kevin Hogan is unable to play to his full ability. On Friday night, the Cardinal walk into a trap in Corvallis and ultimately fall in an ugly defensive struggle as Seth Collins’ legs make the difference late.

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