Stanford coach David Shaw often references Oregon if his players get complacent in practice. Trainers bark out the results of the last two matchups to motivate players in the weight room. During offseason workouts, the defensive huddle would sometimes break with the chant: "Beat the Ducks."
It's no secret who Stanford is after.
For the past two years, the Cardinal have been the Pac-12's second-best team. All along they've been chasing the same program, and — like everybody else in the conference — have been unable to keep pace.
The one true measuring stick for how close — or far — the two teams really are will come Saturday night, when No. 14 Stanford faces top-ranked Oregon at ear-piercing Autzen Stadium with the league's North Division lead at stake.