California Golden Bears (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 10:30PM EST
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CAL +4.5/ORE -4.5
Over/Under Total: 76
The California Golden Bears come up north to Eugene to face the Oregon Ducks in a battle of 5-3 Pac-12 teams. Oregon last played on the 29th and had a heck of a game on their hands, winning a triple overtime 61-55 road battle against Arizona State. It showed that despite all their issues this season, Oregon still has a lot of fight left in them. Cal has dropped 3 in a row since a 5-0 start that saw them make an appearance in the rankings. On Saturday, they lost to USC, 27-21.
Cal has to be in the dumps after squandering such a promising start. Theyve lost to Utah and UCLA on the road, before dropping last weeks game to USC at home. In the Utah and USC game, they lost each game by 6 points. So maybe they werent ready to ascend to the top of the conference this season. They still made some strides, but to give this season a true ring of success, they need to close it well and stop the slide theyre on and it wont be easy in Eugene.
Oregons win over ASU on Thursday on the road was a real testament to the fighting spirit of a team that hasnt seen many things go their way this season. They have now registered consecutive conference wins and look primed to finish the season strongly. In their first 6 games, they alternated wins and losses each week, but with two wins in a row, theyve established some momentum for the first time in 2015. The win over Arizona State was a hard-fought one, the type of galvanizing win that can help a team moving forward with the last 4 games of the pre-bowl season.
Against Arizona State, Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. But beyond that, he showed a lot of fighting spirit and grit in recovering from adversity the entire game, having to battle back from several deficits. It was a confidence-building performance for the promising player whose season had been slowed by inconsistent play and injuries. Oregon also got an assist from running back Royce Freeman, who ran for 112 yards. This Oregon ground attack is one of the more-potent ones in the nation. Bralon Addison and Darren Carrington were big through the air. This Oregon offense is really a tough group when they get rolling and improved quarterback play will only help that in late-season games.
Even in victory, Oregons main issue was plainly apparenta defense that cant stop much of anybody. Their performance against opposing running backs has been ragged this season. But the way theyre performing against the opposing aerial attacks is downright alarming. They are giving up an average of 317 yards per game on average. As they prepare to face Jared Goff and this high-flying Golden Bears offense, that has to be a concern. On Thursday, they gave up nearly 400 yards to ASUs Mike Bercovici, while giving up a pair of 100-yards performances from ASU running backs. But at least their offense stepped up and came out on the sunny side of a big shootout. And for all the defensive liabilities, it was an interception that saved the Ducks on Thursday to cinch up the win.
It would be a shame to see Cal continue this slide they are on after such a nice start. With 69 points in their last 3 games, their offense has been muted significantly against he better teams in the conference. They deserve a little benefit of the doubt after braving through brutal scheduling that had them playing 4 very tough road games in 5 weeks. And maybe they were left a little battered. After getting the bad end of it at home on Saturday, they again set off to take on another tough team. This game will give us a glimpse into how prepared Cal is to attack the rest of their schedule.
Goff is still playing pretty well, but hes not putting up the numbers he was earlier in the season, again, a result of playing some stiffer opposition in recent weeks. Aerially, they are still one of the better teams in the conference, but they lack the balance of earlier weeks, with a ground game that has stalled out. And in the past few weeks, with the offense no longer doing most of the heavy lifting, the defenses liabilities became clearer, as they are also a group that suffers in defending the opposing passing game.
Goff will be looking to finish off the season with flair. His junior campaign has seen some rocky passages and a strong finish would help smooth over some rough patches this season. But when looking at both teams, Oregon looks to have more fire at this point in the season. That wouldnt have been the case several weeks ago, but in this rapidly-changing Pac-12 where its hard to tell whats going on from week to week, we are forced to re-evaluate teams seemingly after each game.
Cal should be able to find their legs again in the aerial attack, with Oregon not being able to stop the pass this season. Look for Goff to find his spots, with a lot of viable aerial targets that can make an impact. But the overall team energy of the Ducks will be hard to contain and as the game carries on into its late stages, that will pay off. Im taking the Ducks.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Oregon Ducks minus 4.5 points.
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