STANFORD (CBS-SF) – The West Coast hopes for a spot in this season’s College Football Playoffs seem to be resting squarely on the legs of gifted Stanford running back Christian McCaffery and the overall game of quarterback Kevin Hogan.

The Cardinal are currently ranked 11th in the CFP standing and enter the week with a winnable game on Saturday at Colorado.
But to get to the playoffs it’s the next four games – all played with 25 miles of the Stanford campus – that will determine whether or not they earn a spot.

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Here’s a snapshot of those games.


  • Saturday, Nov. 14th—Oregon at Stanford
    While the Ducks have been among college football’s most disappointing teams, stumbling to a 5-3 overall and 3-2 Pac-12 record, they still possess a potent offense, scoring an average of 42 points a game and speed on the defensive side of the ball. Oregon also has won 11 of the last 15 contests the two teams have played and a victory could change the outlook of their season
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  • Saturday, Nov. 21st California at Stanford
    Stanford has dominated the Big Game over the last several seasons with the last Cal victory coming in 2009. The Cardinal will be favored again this year, but Cal comes in with the dangerous Jared Goff at quarterback. While Goff has been plagued by inconsistent play over the last few weeks, he has a solid 151.7 QB rating while completing 66.3 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns. He also has been intercepted 11 times and sacked 19 times. The Cardinal defense will need to keep the pressure on Goff because he has shown this season that once in a rhythm he becomes extremely difficult to stop.


  • Saturday, Nov. 28th No. 8 Notre Dame at Stanford 
    The Irish are currently ranked 5th in the CFP rankings, but this will be a most-win game for both teams if they want to earn a place in the playoffs. It is doubtful a two-loss team will earn a berth. Notre Dame is led by the arm and legs of quarterback DeShone Kizer. Keeping him in the pocket and under pressure will be key for the Stanford defense if they are to emerge a winner. Kizer is completing 65.1 percent of his passes and has thrown for 11 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. He is also the team’s second leading rusher picking up 318 yards on 72 carries for a 4.4 yards per carry average and 5 touchdowns.
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  • Saturday, Dec. 5th – Pac-12 Championship Game, Santa Clara.
    If the Cardinal come out of those three games victorious, their reward will be a likely showdown with Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Utes could potentially be 11-1 and a candidate themselves for a berth in the playoffs. Quarterback Travis Wilson has had a solid season tossing for 18 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. Running back Devontae Booker is averaging 116 yards a game and if he keeps that pace will come into the championship game with 2,000 yards rushing yards for the season. If Stanford is to win, they will have to keep one of those two offensive weapons in check.