It’s week eight of the college football season. The Ducks are in the desert on Thursday night, and the Beavers host the Utes. Time for PREDICTIONS.
Oregon vs. Arizona State
Tom: Alright, I’m just going to say it: The Sun Devils are fool’s gold. Of their five wins, only FCS opponent Northern Arizona has a winning record. The Sun Devils’ one defeat came at the hands of new SEC doormat Missouri, which beat ASU 24-20, but now sits 105th in the nation in total offense. Oregon is coming off a mini-bye week, with 12 days to get ready for Todd Graham’s new look offense and blitz-happy defense, and the Ducks are 7th in the nation in forcing turnovers at 17 on the season. But the bottom line is the bottom line; Oregon is averaging 42.3 ppg against ASU during Chip Kelly’s tenure. Not much will be different Thursday night. Oregon: 47 Arizona State: 20
Nick: A year ago when the Ducks welcomed Arizona State to Autzen, they were 4-1. Some people worried about Dennis Erickson’s troupe upsetting Oregon, didn’t happen. 41-27 was the final. I can see a similar tally this go around on the road in Tempe. Ducks make it 11 straight road wins and a fifth in a row against the Sun Devils. The Ducks send a warning shot to Todd Graham’s gentlemen when the two will possibly meet again at Autzen for the Pac-12 Championship game in December. Oregon: 45 Arizona State: 28
Dirk: Statistically speaking, this looks like a good match-up. Both teams are 3-0 in Pac-12 play. Defensively, the Sun Devils look good on paper. They are eighth nationally in total defense (272.67). ASU averages a conference-leading 4.33 sacks per game (ranks second in the FBS). After a two-sack performance against Colorado, DT Will Sutton is tied for the national lead with 8.5 sacks. Oregon ranks second in scoring offense (52.33 ppg) and eighth in total offense (541.67 ypg). So from the outside, it appears this could be a good game. I’m just not sold on ASU. The Devils haven’t played anyone other than Missouri and they lost that game 24-20. I like the Ducks to wear the Devils down. Arizona State just isn’t deep on defense. Head coach Todd Graham even said as much. It may be close early, but I think Oregon gets it done in the second half. Oregon: 39 Arizona State: 24
Phil: This is Oregon’s first real road test of the season, and Tempe is going to be rocking Thursday night. The Sun Devils are 5-1 under Todd Graham, and they are the best team to face the Ducks this season. It will be interesting to see what Marcus Mariota does against a disciplined Sun Devil team, in a raucous environment. If he keeps his poise, the Ducks should win this game. If not, and it could be a long night. I have faith in the red shirt freshman, and I think the bye week helps Oregon. Things will be close for a half, but as usual, the Ducks will have a big second half and ride off into the desert night winners. Oregon: 57 Arizona State: 21
Utah vs. Oregon State
Tom: Take last year’s 27-8 Utah victory in Salt Lake and throw it out the window, because OSU’s defense continues to prove those dark days of 2010 and 2011 are behind it. The Beaver D is forcing turnovers (12), at twice the rate they are giving them up (6) this season. Cody Vaz hadn’t thrown a touchdown in college until that masterful performance against BYU, but showed that he had most definitely been practicing. Vaz and his 332 yards passing versus the Cougars in Provo were the most by a Beaver QB in his collegiate debut since Matt Moore put up 367 in the 2005 opener against Portland State, and the Utes rank in the bottom half of FBS (62nd) in passing defense. Utah: 13 Oregon State: 34
Nick: If you haven’t already hitched your giddy-up to the Beaver bandwagon, welcome aboard. As long as the offensive line continues to give him time and the sure-handed and speedy wideout combo of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks keep up their end of the bargain, I don’t see why the Beavers can’t continue their winning ways on Homecoming at Reser. It has been 105 years since Oregon State was 6-0 (they only played 6 games all season in 1907), and they will get there again. Utah: 17 Oregon State: 31
Dirk: Head Coach Mike Riley took over the play calling duties this season and well you can see how things have turned out. The Beavers put up 42 on BYU last Saturday. The Cougars were the third ranked scoring defense in the nation prior to that game. Utah has a good defense too. However, the Utes are kind of reeling right now. They only have two interceptions on the season. Not too good! Cody Vaz and company must be licking their chops. You may see the Beavs throw the football 75% of the time against Utah. If Vaz can avoid mistakes, OSU will win comfortably. Utah: 13 Oregon State: 31
Phil: The Beavers continue to prove the doubters wrong each week. Cody Vaz looked good under center, but Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton stole the show, in my opinion. Wheaton is finally realizing his potential. He’s a defensive back’s nightmare; tall, fast and great hands. Defenses can’t double his side either because the speedy Cooks will make them pay. Utah has a great defensive line, but Mike Riley’s play calling will keep them off balance. On the other side, the Utes offense has struggled and it will again this week. Running back John White ran for 205 yards against OSU last year. That won’t happen again. Utah: 13 Oregon State: 31
Halfway through the season, and things are still pretty close in the standings. Last week was huge for Nick and Phil as they both picked Oregon State to win. Their lead over Tom and Dirk is now two games, but there is still a lot of football to be played.
1. Nick: 10-1 (13), 2. Phil: 10-1 (10.5), 3. Tom: 8-3 (10.5), 4. Dirk: 8-3 (9)
What do you think will go down this weekend? You can let us know in a variety of ways.
Follow us on twitter @KVALsports