All things considered, the Oregon Ducks are maintaining a proud football program in Eugene. It’s never easy when colorful stars and coaches leave at graduation or for the NFL. Just ask Nevada – sometimes an exciting offensive team can become a scrap-heap with a few years’ turnover.
That hasn’t happened at Oregon, but there’s no doubt the 2017-18 roster has disappointed against the better teams on its schedule. Losing to Stanford 49-7 may have been forgivable, as the Ducks had just ran up and down the field trying to keep up with the WSU Cougars for 4 quarters. But in their next 2 road games, the neon-clad kids from Eugene were out-scored 69-17 by UCLA and Washington.
Still, Oregon has played very well against and soundly beaten lower-rung teams in the Pac-12, warming up for the Civil War by whipping Arizona 48-28. That’s a big reason why the odds for this year’s rivalry clash so-heavily favor a 6-5 team like the Ducks.
The other reason is that the Oregon State Beavers have won but a single football game in 2017…and 0 games against FBS competition.
Who: Oregon State Beavers at Oregon Ducks
When: Saturday, November 25th, 7 PM EST
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
Line: OSU (+25) at Oregon (-25) / O/U Total: (63)
A quick look at the Beavers’ schedule reveals a team that has been competitive within a 10-loss season. The offense competently moves the football against Power-5 schools, and has rushed for 4+ yards a carry.
But the defense has had exactly one – count ’em, one – decent game out of 11. Even against Portland State, a then-winless team from the FCS, the Beavers gave up 500+ yards of offense and needed a late score to win 35-32.
After firing head coach Gary Anderson, the team buckled down and led Stanford for most of 4 quarters before losing 15-14. But that was at home, Stanford was having issues, and the lack of any sign of life from the OSU defense since then points to the performance having been a fluke.
Oregon isn’t pushing the tempo as much as they used to, and QB Justin Herbert is a role-player. But he’ll get time to throw to open WRs if the Ducks can establish the run like they did against Arizona. RBs Bryce Freeman and Tony Brooks-James combined for 250 yards on 38 carries against the Wildcats, a credit to the Oregon OL.
The Ducks will block and tackle their way to a big win against a fundamentally unsound team. I’m liking Oregon to cover at (-25) points.