Game Week: Stanford Facts and Factors

NOV. 24 -- It's going to be Stanford's worse season in six years, and an opportunity for UCLA and Jim Mora to get the red monkey off their back...

• The Stanford Cardinal comes to the Rose Bowl for a Friday match-up in the Rose Bowl, with kickoff at 12:30 p.m.., and the game televised on ABC.

• Stanford is 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the Pac-12, which is good enough for second place in the Pac-12 North.

UCLA is 9-2 overall, and 6-2 in the conference, which has the Bruins tied for first in the Pac-12 South.

• This is being written before the College Football Playoffs rankings are announced, but we’ll guess UCLA will be ranked #8.

• Of course, UCLA controls its destiny with a win over Stanford Friday. If it beats the Cardinal, it wins the Pac-12 South since UCLA has beaten the two schools it shares first place with, Arizona and Arizona State.

• Stanford was ranked earlier in the season, up until week 9 when it fell out of the rankings after it suffered its third loss of the season.

• Stanford was ranked for four straight years without missing a week until this season. It finished its last four seasons ranked in the top ten in the nation.

• Stanford has wins against UC Davis, Army, Washington State, Oregon State and last week against Cal, in a game that the Cardinal pretty much owned the Bears, 38-17, in Berkeley.

• The Cardinal has lost to USC, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Oregon, and Utah.

• Against common opponents, Stanford is 1-5, while UCLA is 3-2.

• All five of Stanford’s losses came against ranked teams, while all six of its wins were against unranked opponents.

• Even if Stanford beats UCLA, it will be its worst season in six years, not since the Cardinal went 5-7 in Jim Harbaugh’s second season. Since then, Stanford has gone 12-1, 11-2, 12-2, and 11-3, and gone to the Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, and the last two Rose Bowls, so the 2014 season is a considerable drop-off from its recent history.

• There is only one team in the Pac-12 North with a winning conference record (Oregon, 7-1), while there are four in the Pac-12 South (UCLA, ASU, Arizona and USC).

• It’s the 86th meeting between the two schools in football, with UCLA holding the edge, 45-37-3, and the series going back to 1925. The Cardinal have won the last six in a row. Stanford’s current, six-game winning streak ties its all-time record for streaks between the two schools (UCLA won six straight between 1963 and 1968).

• Last year, the #9-ranked Bruins lost in Palo Alto to the #13th-ranked Cardinal, 24-10.

• Jim Mora, in his third season, is 0-3 against Stanford, losing last year then twice in 2012, in the last regular-season game and then, the next week, in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

• You could say Mora has two remaining conference monkeys on his back, Stanford and Oregon. If UCLA beats Stanford, it will remove that monkey and then give him a chance at another monkey removal the next week when UCLA would face Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Dec. 5th, in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

• The last time UCLA beat Stanford was in 2008, at the Rose Bowl, 25-20.

• It’s the highest-ranked UCLA has been when facing the Cardinal since 2005, when the eighth-ranked Bruins beat Stanford in the classic overtime game, 30-27. UCLA rallied from a 24-3 deficit with just 8:26 remaining in the game to tie it in regulation when Maurice Jones-Drew scored a touchdown with 46 seconds left. Quarterback Drew Olson then connection with Brandon Breazell for a 23-yard touchdown pass in overtime to win it. At the time it was UCLA’s eighth-straight win to start the season and, miraculously, the fourth double-digit, fourth-quarterback comeback of the season.

• Stanford is coached by David Shaw (42), who is in his fourth season at the helm on The Farm. His record in that time is 40-12 and, for his first three years, he kept alive the success of his predecessor, Jim Harbaugh. Shaw took over from Jim Harbaugh when he jumped to the San Francisco 49ers, and there was speculation that Shaw wouldn’t be able to keep the Harbaugh momentum going. When Shaw led Stanford to its win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl following the 2012 season it was its first in the Grandaddy of Them All in over 40 years. Shaw, a Stanford alumnus, former player and offensive coordinator, was named the 2012 Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year, becoming only the second coach to earn the honor in consecutive seasons. He has perpetuated the tough, physical, smash-mouth style of play at Stanford established by Harbaugh. It’s thought he’s earned enough credit in the bank to weather the disappointing 2014 season.

Paul Perkins could be the first UCLA running back since Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1995 to win a conference rushing championship (with 1,571 yards). Perkins currently leads the Pac-12 with 1265 yards, trailed by Utah’s Devontae Booker with 1,255 and USC’s Javorius Allen with 1,244.

Brett Hundley holds the UCLA career records for passing touchdowns (70) and total offensive yards (11,353), surpassing Cade McNown in both categories in recent weeks. McNown’s career record for passing yards, set at 10,708, is attainable, if UCLA happens to add some extra games to its schedule, with Hundley currently at 9,684.

• It’s the first time since 1999 UCLA is ranked higher than Stanford coming into its game for two consecutive years.

• A ranked UCLA team hasn’t played an unranked Stanford team in the Rose Bowl since 1998, when the Bruins won 28-24. A ranked UCLA team hasn’t lost to an unranked Stanford team in the Rose Bowl since 1986. A ranked UCLA team has only lost twice to an unranked Stanford in Los Angeles, in 1986 and 1984, being 11-2 in such meetings in the two teams’ history.

• There were more than 80,000 fans at the Rose Bowl for UCLA’s last three games, the first time UCLA has accomplished that feat since having the Rose Bowl its home stadium.

• Jim Mora has accomplished three straight 9-win seasons, for the first time in school history.

• UCLA is currently favored by 4.5 points.

• The weather forecast calls for a high of 80 degrees Friday.

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