Perhaps somewhat quietly, Stanford and Oregon State will play a huge game in Corvallis on Saturday night with BCS bowl implications.
Stanford lost some of its national appeal after a sloppy upset loss to Utah two weeks ago. After the Beavers dropped their season opener to Eastern Washington, many wrote them off as serious Pac-12 contenders. But the Cardinal are coming off a dominant performance against UCLA, while Oregon State is playing as well as any team west of the Mississippi River. The winner of this game stays in the running for a bid to the Rose Bowl.
Rankings and records: Stanford is ranked No. 6 in the first BCS standings of the year, while Oregon State is No. 25. The Cardinal rank eighth in the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Beavers aren't ranked in either major poll but will jump into both if they're able to knock off the Cardinal.
Vegas: Stanford opened as a six-point favorite, according to Odds Shark. The over/under opened at 57.5.
Weather: It'll be a beautiful fall evening for football on Saturday, with temperatures in the upper-50s around kickoff.
Three names to know
Kevin Hogan: Stanford's junior quarterback won't blow you away with his arm or legs, but he's a fine game manager for coach David Shaw. He's thrown for 1,410 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.
Sean Mannion: He's the best quarterback in the country you've never heard of. Check out these numbers through seven games: 2,992 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, three interceptions.
Brandin Cooks: Mannion's No. 1 target has reaped the benefits of his huge season. Cooks leads the Pac-12 with 1,176 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 76 receptions. If he gets a step on the defense, he's gone.
Two things at stake
If Stanford wins, it remains in the hunt for the BCS National Championship. The Cardinal would have to run the table and get some help from the five teams ahead of them in the standings, but it's possible. This will be one of their toughest challenges this season.
Oregon State is a perfect 4-0 against conference foes. A win would make it the greatest threat to overtake Oregon in the North.
How to witness
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN (Mark Jones, Brock Huard, Kaylee Hartung)