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‘Rags to Roses’ excerpt: Leadup to Oregon 2012

One thing was clear: The road to the Pac-12 Championship went through Oregon.

No team understood that fact better than Stanford. For two consecutive seasons, the Ducks had denied the Cardinal the conference title and a national championship bid; Andrew Luck ‘12, who only beat the Ducks once in his three-year playing career, had even admitted that Stanford was suffering from an “Oregon problem.” With Luck gone, the Cardinal arrived at Autzen as a 21-point underdog.

Football calling on the corners

If you’re a Pac-12 offensive coordinator, you’ve got to pick your battles when going up against Stanford. It’s probably not wise to attack the Cardinal’s vaunted front seven — thus, only 15 Division I teams have faced fewer carries per game than Stanford has — or its ballhawking safeties — thus, only eight of the 184 completions against the Cardinal have gone for 30 yards or more.