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Ducks vs. Oregon State Beavers Pick.
Oregon Ducks (11-0 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) vs. Oregon State Beavers (5-6 SU, 6-4-1 ATS), 3:30 p.m. EST, College Football Week 14, Saturday, December 4, 2010, Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: University of Oregon 16.5/OSU +16.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
State rivals Oregon and Oregon State collide on Saturday in Corvallis. The Ducks have essentially clinched a spot in the National Championship game. They need to beat the Beavers to keep the dream alive. Oregon State, however, still has something to play for, though the stakes are obviously lower. A win here can lend credibility to a disappointing season and maybe get them into a bowl game.
Oregon has either blown teams away this year or let teams think they were going to be competitive, before lowering the boom in the second half. A 15-13 struggle at Cal was their only close game of the year. The Ducks also struggled in games against Arizona State, Stanford, and Arizona, but by the end of those games, there was no question as to who was the better team.
Last week, it sure looked like Arizona was going to threaten the Ducks. They had the lead at halftime and their robust defense looked to have the U of O in knots. Then UO got their act together and shredded Arizona 34-10 in the second half. The same thing happened in Stanford. The Cardinal jumped off to a 21-3 lead and then proceeded to get subsequently outscored 48-10. Just when it looks like teams can maybe hang with the Ducks, this team consumes you.
Considering how easily Oregon handled Stanford, it has to be disconcerting to the Beavers that they got smashed on Saturday 38-0 by that very teamnot exactly the way you want to enter a game like this. The Beavers were a disappointment this year, only 5-6 after going 8-4 last season. But they are dangerous. They were competitive with TCU in the season opener, as well as covering against Boise State, losing only 37-24. They beat undefeated Arizona and Arizona State, smashed Cal 35-7, and pounded USC 36-7. Losses to Washington, UCLA, and especially lowly Washington State have them in this unenviable position.
In a sense, records should be thrown out in games like this. It seems like the overlooked team always comes into these games with a fire lit up under them. For Oregon, it is merely a perfunctory season-ending affair that needs to be gotten out of the way. Its a nuisance before the big game. While correct, going into a game with this type of headspace can be dangerous. This is Oregon States big game of the yeara one-time opportunity to boost a sagging season and make it less of a disappointment. Juxtaposing the spirits of each team, is it not possible that the Beavers will be pumped up, while the Ducks will be flat? The Beavers have won 4 of their last 8 annual meetings against the Ducks. Sure, things are a little different this year, but a competitive game doesnt seem out of the question.
For the Beavers, Jacquizz Rodgers is having a better second-half. QB Ryan Katz has cooled off, but remains efficient. The defense hasnt been great, giving up a lot of points and big plays against even the second-tier teams in the PAC-10. Now facing the undisputed king of the conference, the defense, as well as the whole team, will need to play well over their head to remain competitive.
While Oregon could have a lack of edge entering this game, the opposite could also manifest. It seems that the time for the Ducks to buckle has passed. They had a few early-season scares and barely escaped Cal. With the light now shining so brightly at the end of the tunnel, why would Oregon be anything less than peak for this? With the championship game so many weeks ahead, one should expect the Ducks to leave it on the field on Saturday.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Sometimes its peculiar how well teams play when they have very little on the line versus teams playing for everything. How many times have you seen something like a 3-12 team beat an 8-7 NFL team in the final week to keep them out of the playoffs? When you add in a impassioned state rivalry, these things can happen.
Look for the Beavers to keep this one tight, before a few late touchdowns for the Ducks seal matters. The game will be well-contested for large stretches, but Oregon figures to play this game really hard to prove that they belong in “the big game”. Look for a late cover. Take the Quack Attack minus the 16.5 points.