Utah Utes (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Oregon State Beavers (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date and Time: Thursday, October 16, 10:00pm EST
Where: Reser Stadium - Corvallis, Oregon
TV: Pac-12 Network
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UTA -2.5/ORS +2.5
Over/Under Total: 57
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Thursday night on the Pac-12 Network, tune in and see the 4-1 Utah Utes travel into Coravallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers in a conference match-up. Both of these teams come in at 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12 Conference. Neither team is out of the race to win the conference, although it may be highly unlikely. Utah enters the game as a 2.5 point road favorite and the total points are set at 57 points. This could be a very interesting game not only because it is a prime time Pac-12 showdown, but the weather report is calling for a 40-50% chance of rain at game time. Anytime the rain comes in, it can alter game plans and change the course of what will take place on the field.
The Utah Utes come into this game ranked in the nations top 20. With wins over UCLA and Michigan, Utah is showing that they are no longer to be considered a “mid major” team, but a legit force in a “Power Five Conference.” The Utes only loss of this season was a one point game against Washington State that ended 28-27. If not for that blemish on the Utes schedule, I believe they could be sitting in the top, or at least close to it. After this game against Oregon State, Utah will start a gauntlet of Pac-12 battles. Starting on October 25, the Utes will start a run of five consecutive games against top 25 opponents. If the Utes can get through that, then there is no reason that they should be considered in the college football final four. Now, lets not get too ahead of ourselves… yes, Utah has looked good, but they need to take this run just one game at a time. The strength of the Utes this season has been their defense. They are ranked 38th in the nation in points allowed, at just 21 points per contest. 38th doesn’t sound too impressive, but lets not forget, many of the teams in the top 10 of defense have not played the type of schedule the Utes have up to this point in the season. On offense, the Utes have done pretty well too. They are averaging over 200 yards a game on the ground, as well as averaging nearly 40 points a game. The passing game has been sufficient thus far. Led by quarterback, Travis Wilson, Utah is averaging slightly over 200 yards per game. Where the Utes are not blazing teams through the air, Wilson has been very good protecting the ball. Through five games, he has seven touchdown passes, and has yet to throw an interception. The key to this game for Utah is to do just what they have done all season. Play good, solid defense and control the ball on offense. If Utah can play disciplined like they have all season, I see them not only winning this game, but covering the spread.
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Oregon State, like Utah, comes into this Thursday night game at 4-1 overall, but their record is a little less impressive to me. Oregon State has only taken on one ranked opponent (USC), and that game ended in a 35-10 loss by the Beavers. The meat of the Oregon State schedule will start this week against Utah, and this game is nearly a “must win” if the Beavers have any dreams or aspirations of making a run a the Pac-12 title. Like I said earlier, lets just slow down on the Pac-12 title talks for these teams, and especially for the Oregon State Beavers. Statistically, there really is not anything that impresses me about this team, and there really is not any area that I think they have the edge. First off, they have not played the level of competition that Utah has, and secondly, they are still looking up at the Utes in most major categories. Oregon State ranks 104th in the nation in running the ball and 81st in scoring offense. The Beavers passing game ranks a little higher than Utah, but that is because they simply cannot run the ball, therefore they are forced to air it out. If Oregon State has any hope to win this game, they must find a way to run the ball on this Utah defensive front. If Utah forces too many three and outs on the Beavers, it will be a long night.
Both teams are coming into this game with virtually no major inuries. Utah has all their play makers available and with the exception of Uaea Masina, who is out for the season with an arm injury, everyone else is ready to play. For the Beavers on the injury front, they are also in pretty good shape except for two questionable players for this weeks game. Fullback, Tyler Anderson, and guard, Garrett Weinreich are both “questionable” but it appears will also both be suited up by Thursday. Regardless, these two players will not make or break the Beavers chances of winning. That falls solely on the offensive skill players.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Thursday night games I have always said are the nights to take the home underdogs. Thing is, in this match-up, I really like Utah. I believe the general public is all over Oregon State simply because they are the more known name among college football fans. What many do not realize is that this Utah team is for real. They have already gone on the road and knocked off Michigan and UCLA. The Utes are one or two bad plays away from being 5-0 too. I like Utah to come into Coravallis and put up a big win. Look for the Utah defense to come in and shutdown the Beavers offense and walk away with a 28-13 win. PICK THE UTAH UTES -2.5!