August 22, 2006

Stanford a dangerous opponent for Oregon

Some coaches believe that every game is a must-win situation, while others believe that their team can afford to lose, unless it is at an important part of the season.

vWhile Stanford's opening game at Oregon is not a must-win situation, it is the type of game that can go a long way in determining what kind of season the Cardinal will have.

Oregon is the type of team that simply does not lose at home. The Ducks play in a stadium that is made to intimidate incoming opponents and give the home team a major advantage. Mix that was an inexperienced Stanford squad, and it would be a lie to say that there were no obvious worries about the season opener.

Stanford will surely go into the game as an underdog, and probably rightfully so. However, it will also go into the game with nothing to prove to anybody except for themselves.

It is the type of game that is dangerous for the home team. After all, nobody is expecting Stanford to win.

They will go into the game playing loose and with no pressure. They will go in with a veteran quarterback in Trent Edwards, who will be allowed to drop back and fling passes to his heart's desire.

While Stanford has questions surrounding their team, so does Oregon. It may be a better situation than a start on the road, but Dennis Dixon will be starting his first season-opener in a game in which most will expect him to perform.

The situation will be something that is new to Dixon, while Edwards has been there before.

The Cardinal know who their leader is but Oregon is still in search of that one player that will tell his team to get on his back as he leads them to victory.

On September 2, Stanford's season could go one of two ways. They could lose, as many expect, and simply continue on to the next game, with the season seemingly going as scheduled.

On the other hand, they could come out with a win that would serve notice in the conference that Stanford will not be a pushover.

There may not be such thing as a moral victory in football, but even a close win for Stanford could go a long ways in determining what type of team this is.

A team that plays with confidence is a team that wins. After the opening game on September 2, Stanford coaches and players hope that the team is a team of confidence.

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