Sports

No. 2 Oregon, No. 6 Stanford set for Pac-12's game of the year in primetime

  • FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2013 file photo, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich looks for a holding call in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington, in Seattle. Helfrich and Stanford's David Shaw shared some laughs in the offseason about questions concerning their promotions to head coach. Nobody is doubting them this week. No. 2 Oregon is undefeated heading into Thursday night's, Nov. 7, 2013, matchup at No. 6 Stanford. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2013 file photo, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich looks for a holding call in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington, in Seattle. Helfrich and Stanford's David Shaw shared some laughs in the offseason about questions concerning their promotions to head coach. Nobody is doubting them this week. No. 2 Oregon is undefeated heading into Thursday night's, Nov. 7, 2013, matchup at No. 6 Stanford. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILe - In this Sept. 7, 2013 file photo, Stanford head coach David Shaw argues a call with an official during the second half of an NCAA college football game against San Jose State in Stanford, Calif. Oregon's Mark Helfrich and Stanford's David Shaw shared some laughs in the offseason about questions concerning their promotions to head coach. Nobody is doubting them this week. No. 2 Oregon is undefeated heading into Thursday night's, Nov. 7, 2013, matchup at No. 6 Stanford.  (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

    FILe - In this Sept. 7, 2013 file photo, Stanford head coach David Shaw argues a call with an official during the second half of an NCAA college football game against San Jose State in Stanford, Calif. Oregon's Mark Helfrich and Stanford's David Shaw shared some laughs in the offseason about questions concerning their promotions to head coach. Nobody is doubting them this week. No. 2 Oregon is undefeated heading into Thursday night's, Nov. 7, 2013, matchup at No. 6 Stanford. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)  (The Associated Press)

The matchup between Oregon and Stanford the past three seasons has been billed as the biggest game of the year on the West Coast, a de facto Pac-12 title game and national semifinal.

What it also has been is a spoiler.

In each of the past three years, the loser was handed its only regular-season defeat and would've surely played in the BCS championship game otherwise. The winner went on to claim the Pac-12 title.

The stakes are just as high this season. The stage is even bigger. When No. 2 Oregon (8-0, 5-0) visits sixth-ranked Stanford (7-1, 5-1) in prime time Thursday night, one team will announce itself as the best in the west and the other will watch its championship dreams wither away again.