SI: Oregon v. Stanford biggest game in college football

SI: Oregon v. Stanford biggest game in college football
Courtesy Sports Illustrated

EUGENE, Ore. - Sports Illustrated says Oregon will play two of the most anticipated games of the college football season and ranks the Ducks fifth in the nation heading into fall - one spot behind Pac-12 rival Stanford.

The West Coast rivalry for dominance could have implications beyond the Pac-12, SI argues in calling the Nov. 12 showdown between the Cardinal and the Ducks the biggest game of the college football season.

"The game could have a significant impact on the national championship chase," Gene Menez writes for Sports Illustrated.

"If that's not enough, the winner of the Heisman Trophy also could be determined in Palo Alto," Menez suggests, noting that Stanford's Andrew Luck might be a favorite, but Oregon's LaMichael James and Darron Thomas are contenders, too.

The game sends the Ducks back up against an SEC team after the loss to Auburn in the BCS title game. Both Oregon and LSU are preseason favorites with national title aspirations on the line.

In profiling the Ducks, Matt Gagne notes James and Thomas will be working with a new offensive line. Gagne also references the ongoing NCAA investigation in Oregon's relationship with Will Lyles.

He ends his assessment by noting the defense will start the season without Cliff Harris. Harris was suspended for the season opener after being cited by speeding and driving without a license.

Dashboard camera video from the incident shows Harris telling a state trooper there isn't marijuana in the car because they had already smoked it all.

Duck fans will find other nods from the national sporting press in SI's college preview package, including Top 10 recognition for best Game Day traditions - a distinction drawn not just for the team but for the volume at Autzen Stadium. Oregon's connections to "Animal House" feature heavily in the description, too.

Coach Chip Kelly ranks 7th amongst the nation's top coaches, Albert Chen writes for SI.

"Kelly showed that he's one of the country's most innovative offensive minds, a shrewd play-caller and a perfect fit at Nike U," Chen writes.