As we do every bowl season, we’re reaching out to other SB Nation blogs that play TCU’s bowl opponent on a regular basis to get some “enemy’s enemies” perspective.
Since TCU is playing Stanford, we reached out to Oregon’s SB Nation site, Addicted to Quack, to ask them a few questions. A big thanks to Emily Abellon for taking the time to provide answers.
Check out more in this series here: USC
Jamie Plunkett: Oregon and Stanford have battled for PAC-12 North supremacy in recent years, with one of the two teams representing the North in the PAC-12 Championship in six of the seven years the title game has existed. What has made Stanford such a consistently good team?
Emily Abellon: I would say that David Shaw has made Stanford such a consistently good team. His consistency and devotion to Stanford is so apparent, and it shines through his play calling. People are quick to argue that Stanford can be predictable, and that the plays they call are conservative, but there is also some beauty to that. Although they may be simple, they are thoroughly executed and the end product is generally pretty great. This also has to do with how Shaw develops his players. He knows how to coach, and sometimes that entails giving his players the ability to complete these plays, while implementing their skills to the fullest.
JP: This year's matchup didn't exactly go well for Oregon, as Stanford won 49-7. What made Stanford so difficult for the Ducks to handle?
EA: Yes, this year’s matchup did not go well and I think that partly had to do with Stanford’s consistency, and partly with Oregon’s lack of consistency. Stanford is very good at adapting to their opponent, whereas Oregon was riddled with injuries and young players who had not experienced playing Stanford in that environment. The way I look at it is, Stanford was confident, ready, and assured going into the game versus Oregon, and Oregon was not as nearly prepared and lacked some confidence. Overall, this was a great experience for the Ducks because it was a growing opportunity for a young quarterback, as well as the other younger players.
JP: Bryce Love is a Heisman finalist this season. For those of us who don't live on the West Coast, and thus are asleep when he plays, what makes him so dominant?
EA: Well to begin, Bryce Love is very very fast, but that seems rather obvious. He has a great offensive line, which contributes to his overall dominant skill but above all, he is a patient and adaptable to what lies ahead of him. He knows how to adapt to the play, and is so good at cutting off his blockers and going the extra inches to really make a play count.
JP: Stanford's band is well known for its irreverence. Even though they've been forced to tone it down this year, should TCU fans be prepared for some sort of insult slung their way?
EA: I suspect that TCU fans should be well prepared for Stanford’s band to be passionate, but I would like to think the insults will be minimal, if at all.
JP: As someone who has Stanford as one of your primary rivals what bothers you most about them?
EA: I would say that Stanford is one of our rivals - haha - but this is a standard PAC-12 North situation. Oregon definitely has bigger rivals but every year when going against Stanford, the game is up in the air. What bothers me most about Stanford, and not to be repetitive, but it would definitely be their consistency. Year after year, Oregon fans know that Stanford is going to show up and do what they do best. It is Oregon’s job to basically out-play them; we need to make strong plays, those plays need to be executed well, and Oregon needs to play at a competitive level from start to finish.
JP: What makes your school better than Stanford?
EA: I love this question - haha. Although we are rivals, I will not downplay Stanford’s greatness; they are a great team, a great environment and a great university. If I had to pinpoint just one thing, I would praise Oregon fans versus Stanford fans. Oregon fans are devoted, passionate and they make the environment even better. Our awesome mascot helps with this also!
JP: Thoughts on who wins the game? Who will you be pulling for?
EA: One of the reasons this game will be a great one is because of TCU’s defense up against Stanford’s offense. TCU will have to find a way to stop Bryce Love and the Stanford offense. If TCU’s defense can play consistently and strongly from beginning to end, I think they have a shot at handing Stanford a loss.