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Pac-12 Notebook: Ducks, Cardinal set up big showdown

The SportsXchange

Oregon, which took over the No. 2 spot in the BCS Standings on Sunday night, and No. 5 Stanford survived a couple tough tests to set up their nationally-televised showdown.

Oregon was tied 14-14 at halftime against UCLA before outscoring the Bruins 28-0 in the second half of a 42-14 win over the Bruins Saturday night at Autzen Stadium. Stanford survived a 20-12 victory over Oregon State in Corvallis.

Stanford's win over the Beavers left Oregon as the only Pac-12 Conference team unbeaten in conference play at 5-0. Stanford moved into second place in the North Division at 5-1 by giving Oregon State its first conference loss.

Oregon and Stanford both have a bye this week before facing off on Thursday, Nov. 7, in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Ducks can likely knock defending conference champion Stanford out of the race with a win at Stanford while the Cardinal can move into a tie for first place with a win over the Ducks.

Arizona State had a bye Saturday, but moved a game ahead of UCLA in the South Division when the Bruins lost to Oregon. The South title will likely be decided when the Sun Devils travel to UCLA on Nov. 23.

FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 8 IN THE PAC-12:

1. Stanford and Oregon are turning contenders into pretenders. Washington was undefeated before losing to Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks and UCLA suffered the same fate with back-to-back losses to the Cardinal and Ducks after starting the season 5-0.

2. Oregon looks to be taking advantage of the beating that Stanford is putting on teams. The Ducks have faced two ranked foes this season, but got both Washington and UCLA after those teams lost to Stanford, a physical team that may have beaten down the Huskies and Bruins before they faced the Ducks.

3. Oregon is pretty good in crunch time. The Ducks have not had many close games, but led both Washington and UCLA by just seven points heading into the fourth quarter before outscoring Washington 14-0 and UCLA 21-0.

4. Ed Orgeron will not be promoted to head coach at USC. The interim coach has expressed interest in the job and boosted his long-shot chances with a win in his first game against Arizona, but he has since lost to Notre Dame and had an uninspired win over Utah.

5. Oregon State's 4-0 start in conference play may have been a result of an easy schedule. OSU, which lost to FCS Eastern Washington to open the season, beat up Utah, Colorado, Washington State, and California -- four teams with a losing conference record -- to start the season before losing to Stanford on Saturday. The Beavers still have USC, Washington, Arizona State, and Oregon -- four teams with winning records -- left on the schedule.
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