Oregon Ducks (2-4 SU, 0-5-1 ATS) vs. California Golden Bears (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Friday, October 21st, 10:30PM (EST)
Where: Memorial Stadium Berkeley, C.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ORE +3/CAL -3
Over/Under Total: TBA
The California Golden Bears will host the Oregon Ducks this Friday night for a 10:30PM (EST) commencement inside Memorial Stadium. For the first time in ages, neither team enters this Friday nightís conflict with a winning record. The Golden Bears are 3-3 SU on the season and had last week off to heal from a heartbreaking 47-44 loss in overtime to Oregon State. Interestingly Cal has been the epitome of inconsistency this season swapping wins and losses like spares and strikes in a Dutch 200. However, the Golden Bears will have a great opportunity to get back above the .500 mark this Friday when they take on an Oregon team that is having even bigger issues.
Oregon was also out of action last week as they attempted to recover from one of the worse beatings in school history by way of their 70-21 defeat to Washington in Eugene nevertheless. While many people expected Oregon to struggle this year, I donít think anyone imagined the troubles they have shown thus far. Even against the books, the Ducks have been horrendous with a 0-5-1 ATS mark this season. They were competitive in the losses to Nebraska and Colorado but the wheels apparently fell off after those losses. The Ducks were outscored 121-54 against Washington State and Washington combined. Now the question becomes can Oregon avoid their first losing season since 2004?
So what has attributed to Oregonís downfall? The easy answer is ďdefense.Ē I know Oregon has never had the best defenses over the last decade or more as tyrannical powers in the Pac-12. However, they have never been this bad either. Oregon ranks 2nd to last in the FBS giving up a whopping 522 yards per game. Only Rice has yielded more yards than Oregon with 529 yards allowed per game. There are also just 3 teams in all of college football that have allowed more points than Oregon on average as the Ducks have allowed 41.8 points per game this season.
While the defense is perhaps the worse it has ever been, Oregon has also not been nearly as dominant offensively as in recent years also which is not helping matters. Make no mistakes about it, the Ducks are still very talented on offense and they show it each week with nearly 500 yards of offense. Running back Royce Freeman is still one of the best rushers in the Pac-12 and the offense has plenty of big play potential equipped with speed in the receiving corps. Quarterback Dakota Prukop has been decent with 1,173 yards with 8 scores and 2 picks. However, the offense is far from their prestigious form that was among the best in college football as it was under Chip Kelly and even in the beginning of the Mark Helfrich era.
Still, Oregonís offense will give them chances to win football games going forward but the defense must play better for it to happen. This Fridayís contest at Cal will be very interesting because the Golden Bears have a very talented passing attack that to add to Oregonís defensive concerns. Quarterback David Webb has already thrown for 22 touchdowns through the first 6 games with 7 picks on the season.
Webb has been able to spread the ball around to 6 different receivers that have double digit receptions led by Chad Hansen who leads the Pac-12 with 59 catches totaling 770 yards and 8 touchdowns. Hansen is a nightmare for this Oregon secondary that has given up many big plays this year and if the Ducks have to give help over the top; it will only open up more opportunities for Webb in the passing game. Both Webb and Hansen were a little banged up last week but they are expected to play on Friday. If that holds true, this is just a bad matchup for Oregon as their biggest weakness on defense plays right into the strength of Calís offense. Expect a lot of big plays from Cal as they look to cruise to 4-3.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Cal -3
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