University of Oregon Ducks (9-0 SU, 6-2-1 ATS) at California Golden Bears (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS), California Memorial Stadium, (Momentum Turf) Berkeley, CA, College Football Week 11, Saturday, November 13th, 7:30 PM Eastern
By Jeff Hochman of JHSportsline.com
Betting Odds: U of O -19.5/Cal +19.5
Over/Under Total: 58
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The No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks will put its undefeated season on the line when they travel to Berkeley for a Pac-10 showdown with the Golden Bears of California.
Except for the first quarter, Oregon had very little trouble last week as they crushed Washington 53-16 as 37-point home favorites. The Ducks were held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season. Their first points came on a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter. LaMichael James ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns, while Darron Thomas threw for a score and ran for two more. The win marked Oregon’s third straight game scoring at least 50 points, becoming the sixth top-ranked AP team to score 50 points in at least three straight games. This is one of the most exciting teams to watch on offense. Very Dynamic across the board! The Ducks out-gained its foe for the fifth straight game.
California defeated Washington State 20-13, as 14.5-point road favorites. The Bears out-gained the Cougars 383-194, but committed two turnovers in the red zone that kept it closer than it should have been. Still, the Bears struggling to beat a 1-8 team is cause for concern. Shane Vereen ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns, and California snapped a six-game road losing streak that dated back to last season. It’s been a disappointing season for California as many experts pegged them for 8 or 9 wins.
The good news for California is that their defense is allowing just 175 yards per game at home this season, good for 8.5 points against. The bad news, all of those games came against inferior offenses. This will be the best offense that the Golden Bears have faced since losing to USC 48-14 earlier this year. California was out-gained by 357 yards in that game. Will new quarterback Brock Mansion be able to match the Ducks offense in just his second career start? Unlikely!
UO has so many weapons on offense and that will present some major problems for California. The Golden Bears allow 30 yards less than Oregon but allow four more points than the Ducks. Oregon brings in the No. 1 ranked red zone defense and No. 2 ranked red zone offense in this game. It’s no wonder why they are undefeated.
Oregon is 8-1 ITS (in the stats) the season with their only blemish being that 42-31 victory at Arizona State way back in week three. They were out-gained by 157 yards but took full advantage of 7 turnovers committed by the Sun Devils. California is 6-3 ITS but they were out-gained by 357 yards when they lost to USC.
The Ducks average 310 yards rushing and 260 yards passing per game. California’s offense is not nearly as dynamic or explosive. The Golden Bears average 165 yards rushing and 194 passing yards per game. Keep in mind, when California has faced good offenses they have not been able to keep up. Darron Thomas has thrown for 2052 yards while completing 62% of his passes. He has 22 touchdown passes with just six interceptions and his 8.44 yards per attempt is very impressive.
Kevin Riley has looked good and bad this season. He has thrown for 1,409 yards while completing 60% of his throws. His 13/6 TD/INT ratio is not all that impressive either. He is Out for the season with a knee injury. Riley’s career is done after a knee injury suffered two weeks ago at Oregon State. Brock Mansion can practically end a spring competition before it begins by salvaging the Bears’ season with strong performances that produce some wins down the final stretch. He did not look impressive in last week’s win, throwing for 171 yards and two picks. He only completed 50% of his passes.
Oregon crushed California last season 42-3 as 5.5-point home favorites. This will be the first time that the Golden Bears will face Darron Thomas. Last season, the Ducks QB was Jeremiah Masoli, and he had a big game with 253 passing yards and three scores. LaMichael James ran for 118 yards and one touchdown.
California is 6-21 SU and 20-10 ATS as an Underdog of 10.5 to 21 points. That tells me they play extremely hard when the deck is stacked against them. California is 13-2 SU and 12-3 ATS at home over the last three seasons. California is 6-9 SU and 4-9 ATS off a conference victory.
Oregon is 5-2 SU and 2-5 ATS in the final three weeks of the season in most recent time.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Oregon Ducks -19.5.
I am not sold on Cal’s offense while the Ducks should be able to do whatever they want on both sides of the ball. Not a fan of laying this many points on road but if I had to pick a side, it would be the Ducks.