Commentary

Stanford, USC on upset alert

Evaluating upset chances and picking the winners for Week 11's biggest games

Updated: November 10, 2011, 12:01 PM ET
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
TBDUS PresswireKeith Price and Darron Thomas will both be road underdogs this weekend.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will conspire with the computers (using TeamRankings' game predictor) and the wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games and give his picks for who'll come out on top.

The Alabama Crimson Tide, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Michigan Wolverines, Arizona State Sun Devils and West Virginia Mountaineers were the ranked upset victims in Week 10, while the Kansas State Wildcats and South Carolina Gamecocks lost as underdogs to other ranked teams.

Upset Picks missed badly on the latest "Game of the Century" as Alabama endured yet another big-game coaching Sab-acle. The loss meant a 3-4 week, dropping us to 38-39, under .500 for the first time this season. This week we discuss the West Coast version of the "Game of the Century," along with the rest of the Top 25 action.

Oregon Ducks at Stanford Cardinal

Stanford is favored by 3.5 points
TeamRankings win odds for Oregon: 34 percent

The two-platoon brain trust of Chip Kelly and Nick Aliotti gives the Ducks an edge on the sideline over a Cardinal staff that's coaching just its 10th game together, but most of the advantages in this one belong to homestanding Stanford. It's true that the Oregon defense turned in its best performance of the year last week in Seattle, and facing a physical Washington Huskies running game did provide a nice tuneup for this week.

Stanford, however, is not Washington. The Cardinal are 52-for-52 in the red zone and frequently line up in goal-line sets in other parts of the field. This is a downhill team in the mold of the Big Ten and SEC. Oregon doesn't see a lot of this style, and when it does, the Ducks haven't liked it. Physical offenses have consistently given Oregon trouble, and there's little doubt that Stanford will move the chains Saturday. The visitors will get on the board too, thanks to a plethora of speedy playmakers and Stanford's glaring weakness at cornerback.


To read the picks and upset odds from all the week's biggest games, sign up for ESPN Insider.