|Oregon State QB Cody Vaz will get a stiff test in the fourth start of his career, going up against a Stanford defense ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12. (US Presswire)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET (Fox)
Spread: Stanford by 4.5
Watchability: The last time Stanford and Oregon State played each other when both teams were ranked in the top 25 was 1940. So unless you're willing to wait another 72 years for it to happen again, you should probably watch this one.
Shining Stars: Oregon State -- WR Brandin Cooks and WR Markus Wheaton. Stanford's defense has been good this season, except when the other team throws the ball. Cooks and Wheaton are the Pac-12's second and fourth-leading receivers and there's a good chance they'll both cause headaches for Stanford's secondary. Stanford -- RB Stepfan Taylor. Coach David Shaw only gave Taylor 10 carries against Colorado so he could save him for the big games, like this one. Taylor is averaging 4.6 yards per carry this season, but he might have a tough time reaching that going up against an Oregon State run defense that ranks second in the Pac-12 -- behind Stanford.
Who could steal the show: Oregon State -- QB Cody Vaz. If Oregon State is going to win on Saturday, they're going to need a big game from Vaz. The Cardinal have the top-ranked run defense in the nation, so the Beavers are going to have to go to the air early and often to test a Stanford pass defense that ranks 10th in the Pac-12. Stanford -- QB Kevin Hogan. Hogan is earning his first career start this week because he looked impressive last week against Colorado. However, a lot of quarterbacks have looked impressive against Colorado this season, so if Hogan wants to hold onto the starting job for good, he'll need another impressive performance.
You going? Ranking the road trip: You've heard of Facebook, right? Well, Facebook headquarters is located only 2.2 miles from Stanford Stadium, so you can show your friends how cool you are by checking in from both places. Palo Alto is a must-visit for fans who never have been.
Magic number for Oregon State: 3. That's three as in third quarter. If Oregon State is leading after three quarters on Saturday, Stanford will be in trouble. Under coach Mike Riley, the Beavers are 69-7 when leading a game after the third quarter.
Magic number for Stanford: 39. The Cardinal lead the nation with 39 sacks this season. If Stanford can continuously put pressure on Vaz, the Oregon State offense is going to have trouble doing much of anything.
The game comes down to: Stanford's defense. The Cardinal defense is going to do whatever it can to confuse Vaz, who will only be making his fourth career start. If Vaz is unfazed, it could be a big day for the Beavers. However, it's tough to bet against a Stanford team that has only lost twice at home since 2009.
Prediction: Stanford 24, Oregon State 21