Opponent Watch: Week Seven

Halfway through the 2012 regular season, some of Stanford football's most interesting challenges await on the schedule. Here's a look at how the rest of the Cardinal slate fared this past weekend.

Opponent Watch: Week 7

Virginia Tech 41, Duke 20

Duke (5-2, 2-1) jumped out to a 20-0 lead in Blacksburg. Alas, you can infer what happened next. Still, the Devils will have five shots, starting with a visit from North Carolina this week, to reach that sixth win and elusive bowl eligibility.

Utah State 49, San Jose State 27
So much for the WAC title. The host Spartans fell behind 28-3 and could run for only four yards in a showdown between two of the conference's top teams. How about quarterback David Fales' line though? 38-of-50 for 467 yards and three touchdowns.

USC 24, Washington 14
For what it's worth, the Washington defense did pretty well against Matt Barkley and his stock of future NFL receivers, limiting the Trojans to 10-of-20 passing for 161 yards with a touchdown and a pick. So an arrow up for Stanford's pass attack and an arrow down for Stanford's pass D? Only 29 total first downs in the game; who'd have thought that coming in? No. 10 USC (5-1, 3-1) still has Notre Dame and Oregon, both at home, plus a potential Pac-12 Title Game, so they're still alive in the chase for a BCS crown. Washington (3-3, 1-2) has Oregon State and the five weak conference sisters left on the slate, so expect seven or eight wins out of the Huskies.

Arizona – BYE
The Wildcats (3-3, 0-3) will look to snap out of their three-game slide when Washington visits this Saturday evening.

Notre Dame 20, Stanford 13 (OT)
The No. 5 Irish (6-0) will play only three true road games this season, but two of them are at Oklahoma and at USC. On the other hand, BYU (next week), Pitt, Boston College and Wake Forest, all beatable, are the other four teams still to come, so double-digit wins and a BCS berth (remember, there is a fifth BCS game now) appear likely. The Irish last lost fewer than three games in a season in 1993. Might this be the year they snap that streak of mediocrity?

California 31, Washington State 17
It was a contrast in styles in Pullman as Cal gained 507 yards, 318 of them on the ground, while Washington State (2-5, 0-4) gained 420 yards, 384 of them through the air. Receiver Keenan Allen gained 166 yards and Cal (3-4, 2-2) took a 21-3 lead on the eve of Big Game and never looked back. The Cougars are playing for pride at this point but the Bears could use an upset of Stanford if they hope to make a bowl, as the Oregon schools both remain on the slate.

Arizona State 51, Colorado 17
It was 20-17 ASU at the half, but the Sun Devils won the second half 31-0 to make the contest a laugher. The Devils gained 593 yards to 255 for Colorado, including a 261 to 75 ground edge. Arizona State is unranked at 5-1 and 3-0 in the league, but if they can beat visiting Oregon on Thursday, that won't be a problem any longer. Meanwhile, Colorado (1-5, 0-3) has USC, Oregon and Stanford up next. They could allow 100 in their next two games.

Oregon State 42, BYU 24
Cody Vaz "Deferens" threw for 332 yards and three scores in No. 8 Oregon State's most lopsided win of the season. The Beavers' (5-0, 3-0) previous wins had been by 3, 7, 3 and 13, making the computers and the wise guys wary of OSU. But with Vaz rolling and Utah, Washington and Arizona State on deck, it could be 8-0 before the Nov. 10 visit to Palo Alto.

Oregon – BYE
No. 3 Oregon (6-0, 3-0) has played only Wazzu on the road this year, but that'll change when they visit Tempe Thursday night. I'd take a flier on the Devils on a money line here as the Ducks have beat no one currently ranked, so the possibility that they're overrated is not entirely wishful thinking.

UCLA 21, Utah 14
UCLA (5-2, 2-2) won a closer game than they would have liked, with stats reflecting the narrow final margin. Good time for a bye, the Arizona schools and Washington State: the Bruins could rest, rebound and emerge 8-2 before a USC/Stanford close. Utah (2-4, 0-3) has been playing better than their suggests and has Washington State and Colorado still to come, so if they don't quit on the season, they could rally yet for a bowl berth.

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