FCS No. 6 EWU Eagles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 7 Oregon Ducks (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: September 5, 2015, 8:00 EST.
Where: Autzen Stadium
by Wilson, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: EAGLES +38.5 / DUCKS -38.5
Over/Under Total: 78.5
Two ranked teams will face each other this week as No. 6 (FCS) Eastern Washington Eagles travel to Eugene, Oregon for a showdown against No. 7 (BCS, AP Poll) Oregon Ducks. Both programs are going through a number changes with new faces in key positions. Ironically, the Ducks will feature their new QB, former EWU QB Vernon Adams Jr. Adams transferred to Oregon after a stellar three years at EWU where he led the Eagles to the top of the Big Sky conference and 34 wins over the past three seasons. The Eagles will certainly miss Adams but they also know how he plays and this may be to their advantage come game day. Oregon is without Marcus Mariota for the first time in a few years but one can bet that the Ducks will be as talented and fast as normally expected. Although the EWU Eagles are the lower division squad in this contest they may just surprise a lot of people with their playthe Ducks will need to take this game as serious as any on their schedule because the Eagles are a great football team and they have everything to gain by knocking off the mighty Ducks.
Everyone on the planet knows Oregon will field dynamic athletes on both sides of the ball and on special teamsthats the obvious factor in the line for this contest but what people might not know is how talented this EWU team is at nearly every position. The Eagles are loaded with several all-conference returning players, 7 starters alone on offense with a high flying receiving crew. Most notably for the Eagles is offensive standout and FCS Offensive Player of the Year candidate Cooper Kupp. Kupp leads the Eagles offensive attack as the top receiving threat for defenses to address. QB Jordan West will take the snaps behind center as he fills the void after the departure of Vernon Adams Jr. This Eagles offense is fast and furious, much like traditional Oregon teams have been in the past.
Defensively, the Eagles have implemented a 4-2-5 defensive scheme. This new set will help them better defend teams who use the entire field and try to spread them out. Leading the defensive backs for Eastern Washington will be junior Zach Bruce and senior Todd Raynes. In the middle linebacker spot is Miquiyah Zamora, who was 2nd for team tackles last season with 102. Zamora is one of several solid backers who will roam the middle looking for Ducks to knockout. This defense will be tested for sure by Oregons athleticism but I believe they match up well.
Oregon has an impressive offensive line both with size and quickness. Either way the Ducks have experience and it will show on the field. In addition to Vernon Adams much anticipated start at QB, RB Royce Freeman will be looking to race down field and get his team on the board. Another key to Oregons offensive play is Notre Dame transfer senior Matt Hegarty. Hegarty will center the O-line along with left tackle Tyler Johnstone. With the mobility of Adams and the skill set of these playmakers for the Ducks, it will likely be the most difficult challenge the Eagles face all season.
Defensively the Ducks can start all seniors in the front seven. They will show a variety of packages which will test EWU all afternoon. The Ducks will be extremely fast as noted and the secondary are seasoned players who read QBs well. The Eagles front line will have their work cut out while trying to protect Jordan West.
This contest is tricky to handicap because of the dynamics of both squads. Both are good at what they do and have had a lot of success. This will be a battle of mid major (EWU) vs. Major (OU). Coaching schemes and preparation will also be key factors. Ill admit Im a bit biased as EWU is my undergrad alma mater and I truly believe they can put a scare, if not, beat the Oregon Ducks in Autzen Stadium. I like EWU to cover the spread. Luck to ya.
Wilsons Pick to Cover the Point Spread: EWU covers the spread!
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