Predictions for Ducks, Beavers
By Brian Elder KVAL Sports
Oregon hopes to keep its Rose Bowl hopes alive, while the Beavers simply have to avoid a meltdown.
Eugene, OR - In a season that's had so many big games for the Ducks already, this one is the biggest so far.
Everything Oregon has worked for all season long is on the line against Arizona. The winner stays in the hunt for the Rose Bowl. The loser is eliminated.
ESPN's College Gameday will be on hand to showcase the Ducks for the second time this season, and an Oregon victory would set up the biggest Civil War game in the history of the rivalry, as the winner would go to the Rose Bowl.
But this will be a very difficult game against an Arizona team that is playing for the right to go to the school's first Rose Bowl. Throw in the fact that it's senior night and the Wildcats will surely be as revved up as a team could possibly be.
Statistically these two teams are very similar. Here's how they stack up in the Pac-10: Scoring offense - 1. Oregon (37.1 ppg), 5. Arizona (30.4 ppg); Rushing offense - 1. Oregon (237 ypg), 3. Arizona (187.1 ypg); Scoring defense - 1. Oregon (20.9 ppg), 5. Arizona (22.2 ppg); Rushing defense - 3. Arizona (104.9 ypg), 5. Oregon (131 ypg); Pass defense - 1. Oregon (181.3 ypg), 4. Arizona (200.2 ypg); Total Offense - 2. Arizona (429.2 ypg), 3. Oregon (414.8); Total Defense - 2. Arizona (305.1 ypg), 3. Oregon (312.3 ypg).
In a game where two teams are so evenly matched the difference usually comes down to mistakes - mainly turnovers. The Ducks hold a slight edge in that department on the season at +0.4 turnovers per game (22 take-aways to 18 give-aways). Arizona is dead even with 16 take-aways balanced out by 16 give-aways.
Brian Elder - The most difficult road test the Ducks have faced this season comes at the most crucial time of the year. Oregon has to prove that it can beat a quality opponent on the road, and it won't be easy. The Zona Zoo will be jacked up as will the Wildcats, who will be hungry to rebound from a poor showing last week at Cal. To win this game the Ducks will have to avoid what plagued them at Stanford. First, they can't get behind early. Oregon has to be efficient on offense early and put some points on the board to take the crowd out of the equation. Second, the Ducks have to stop the run. Toby Gerhart man-handled the Oregon defense, and don't think that Arizona won't try to do the same. But the Cats have had injury issues at running back with Nic Grigsby and Greg Nwoko, and they don't figure to be at full strength on Saturday. Third, Oregon cannot give up big plays in the passing game, especially off of play-action. Andrew Luck had a lot of success against the Ducks' secondary when the defenders would creep up to help stop Gerhart. I think this time around the Ducks will be good enough in those areas to win. The difference between this week and the Stanford game is that Arizona should get Oregon's best shot. The Ducks didn't come out with the same kind of fire against the Cardinal that they had the week before against USC. But with everything that is on the line this week, look for Oregon to be back to that level. The Wildcats will get their points and make this a very exciting game, but the Ducks just have too much firepower on offense. OREGON - 44, ARIZONA - 34
Tom Ward - This game looks like it will be a shootout, similar to one of the more exciting games Oregon has played in the last decade. In 1999 the Ducks traded punches with the Wildcats for the entire game. But in the final minutes, with Oregon clinging to a 44-41 lead, Arizona missed the potential game-tying field goal, and the Ducks came away with a huge victory. This could be deja vu. I fully expect another high scoring game, but one team will miss some opportunities and come up just short. Just like 10 years ago, it will once again be Arizona. OREGON - 44, ARIZONA - 41
Nick Krupke - I'm picking the Ducks because I want to see the Civil War be for all the marbles. How fun would that be? As for this game, I think it's a game that is similar to last season. There won't be any shortage of points, but this one is going to be an even battle rather than one team jumping out to a big lead and trying to hang on in the second half. The defensive stats won't matter in a game that features two of the Pac-10's best offenses. But the Oregon offense is just on a different level right now, similar to the end of last season. And down the stretch in the 4th quarter, the Ducks will pull away for the win. OREGON - 49, ARIZONA - 38
Dirk Weishaar - The Ducks' run for the Rose Bowl comes to an end in Tucson. The game will most likely come down to which team makes the most mistakes. Arizona will try to do what Stanford did to the Oregon defense by using a controlled rushing attack and play-action passing. The Ducks committed some bad turnovers against ASU and the Devils took advantage. The Wildcats will do the same. ARIZONA - 41, OREGON - 38
OREGON STATE VS. WASHINGTON STATE
Not a whole lot to say about this one.
The Cougs are bad. Historically bad. This WSU team is playing as bad as the Oregon and Oregon State teams that struggled so much in the 1970s and early 80s.
Washington State ranks dead last in nearly every major statistical category. That's bad news playing against the Pac-10's premiere late-season team.
The Beavers get better and better each week, and if that trend continues this one will be over very soon.
Brian Elder - Can the Cougars forfeit? Things are awful in Pullman. Last week was a prime example. WSU welcomed in the UCLA Bruins, a team that ranked 8th in the conference in total offense averaging 345.8 yards per game and 9th in scoring offense with 22.6 points per game. Against the Cougs, the Bruins scored a season high 43 points and piled up another season high 556 yards of offense. Oregon State will get some season highs of its own this week, even if the weather is bad. Mike Riley will call the dogs off early, and the Beavers will get plenty of rest heading into the Civil War. OSU - 52, WSU - 14
Tom Ward - The Cougars have been outscored 285-70 in Pac-10 games. Enough said. OSU - 41, WSU - 6
Nick Krupke - The Beavs will get up big by halftime, and that will give the starters plenty of time to rest by the heaters in the second half. With the big guns for OSU making an early exit the score will make the game look closer than it really was. Sean Canfield will toss three touchdowns and once again have zero turnovers. The Beaver defense, on the other hand, will get some turnovers. Kevin Lopina will start, but he won't play the whole way after a couple of interceptions. Marshal Lobbestael will make a brief appearance and give the ball away too. Three picks in all between the two of them, and OSU will cruise. OSU - 37, WSU - 10
Dirk Weishaar - The Beavers will keep their hopes alive for the Rose Bowl by blowing out the Cougars. The score could be a lot worse, but I think Mike Riley will protect his starters with a huge Civil War on the horizon. OSU - 38, WSU - 13
Last week was a good bounce-back week as the KVAL sports office went 8-0 one week after going 0-8. Brian, Tom and Nick still lead the standings at 12-4. Dirk is 10-6, but has the chance to make up ground (or fall farther behind) this week as the only one who picked Arizona.
One of my favorite covered bridges in lane county.
Our dog Alaskan Malamute mix Kodah was so happy to see the snow, he mostly ate it and pounced around in it.