Colorado Buffaloes (2-8 SU, 5-5 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date and Time: Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 4:30 PM EST
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
TV: Pac-12 Network
by Scott, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: COL +33/ORE -33
Over/Under Total: 73
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On Saturday, the Colorado Buffaloes travel to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks. Both teams last played on the 8th, meaning they will be coming into this game having not played for two weeks. Oregon is in the 4-team playoff picture at number-two, but cannot afford any slip-ups. Colorado has lost 6 in a row, while the Ducks appear to be peaking after conclusive wins over Stanford and Utah.
Colorado opened the season at 2-2, but once again found themselves outmanned once they got into the meat of their conference schedule. They are winless in conference play at 0-7 and its easy to jump to negative conclusions about Colorado. They are allowing nearly 40 points per game and cant seem to catch a break. At the same time, they have shown some grit in recent games, something that Oregon backers need to account for with the point spread so big.
In their last game, Colorado gave a home Arizona team a good go, with the game still undecided until the Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final quarter. They also gave Arizona State a good game. They went into Cal and took the Bears to double-overtime, losing 59-56. They lost to Oregon State, 36-31. UCLA needed double-overtime to beat the Buffaloes, 40-37. They have played a tough schedule and despite only having wins over lowly U-Mass and Hawaii, they have shown some fight and arent coming around all that badly as they get acclimated to the Pac-12.
Against Oregon, however, the Buffaloes are playing a team that has kicked it into high gear at just the right time. With the end plainly in sight and coming off a little extra break, this might be the wrong time for a team like Colorado to put forth a realistic upset bid. Ranked 120th in average points allowed, Colorado will be facing one of the nations best and most-balanced offenses.
Ducks QB Marcus Mariota is barreling toward a Heisman Trophy. With 2780 yards in the air, Mariota has thrown 29 touchdown passes with two interceptions. He has also scored on the ground 8 times and is peaking at just the right time. They are ranked in the top-25 in both passing and rushing offense. RB Royce Freeman is close to the 1000-yard mark and has 14 touchdowns. The pass-catching corps are deep, with RB Byron Marshall, Devon Allen, Dwayne Stanford, and Keanon Lowe all providing good production.
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Oregon struggled earlier in the season. The line was off its form and the whole offense struggled as a result. The line has since worked itself into shape and the offense is really hitting its stride. The loss to Arizona was surprising, as the Ducks lost to the Wildcats for the second straight season, but theyve been getting better since. Against good conference opposition like Stanford and Utah, Oregon dominated. The 24-point win at ranked Utah saw an Oregon team that had really gotten its act together. Well-rested against a 2-win Colorado team, whats in store for this Saturday?
Oregon has already lost once this season and the end of the year is now within sight. It seems like a strange time for Oregon to start slacking off, but in all candor, they could be off their peak form and probably still wallop Colorado. Still, weve seen teams with potent passing-attacks do well against Oregon this season, with Cal and Washington State getting a lot of business done against the better-rounded Ducks.
Oregon is an alarming 123rd against the pass in 2014. That could be a bit misleading, with a lot of Oregon opponents playing from behind and airing it out with impunity. Even so, it hasnt been terribly difficult for opposing offenses to move the ball against this Oregon defense. Buffaloes QB Sefo Liufau has more passing yards than Mariota, with 26 TD passes. He was iffy earlier in the week, but it now looks like he will go. But after a concussion, you have to wonder if hell be at close to 100%, something the Buffs will need to have even a remote chance. WR Nelson Spruce is one of the top weapons in the conference, with 98 catches, 1091 yards, and 11 TD receptions. Shay Fields has 45 catches. D.D. Goodson and Tyler McCulloch have been chipping in. Four different running backs are over 300 yards on the ground.
There are a lot of reasons why Oregon is in the championship picture, while Colorado is struggling to even win games in their own conference. Oregon has better talent, better balance, and a defense that can actually get a stop from time to time. In a shootout scenario against a team of this caliber, the Ducks just have too many guns and more ways to repel incoming fire. Colorado, on the road and facing a premier team that is energized to close strongly, could be up against it in a major way on Saturday.
Colorado is plucky. They still try and can approach this game with a certain level of pressure-free looseness as they try to spring the upset bid. Its just that as of right now, there arent too many teams in the country playing better than the Ducks and it could be simply be all too much for Colorado to handle.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Oregon Ducks minus 33 points.