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We've got some classic Friday night PAC 12 action here as the Oregon Ducks host the Colorado Buffaloes. Oregon enters this one with a 4-1 record and ranked #13 in the most recent AP poll, while Colorado sits at 3-2. Oddsmakers have the Ducks as a massive 20-point favorite for this one, which will be televised nationally on FS1. This game features two of the best quarterbacks in the conference, which will be exciting at least.
Colorado entered a new era of football this season, with former Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker taking over as the team's head coach. The Buffs have been dealt some really tough blows, with a lot of key injuries. Still, they have shown a lot of heart, fighting under Tucker, including in their thrilling comeback win over Nebraska. They got an upset road win over Arizona State two games ago, before falling to Arizona last week.
The Ducks entered 2019 hoping to be the conference's top team. Their season got off to a rough start, as they blew a late lead in a crucial opening game against Auburn. They've responded well since then though, winning four straight games and shooting right back up in the polls. They have one of the top NFL prospects in the nation in quarterback Justin Herbert, which ensures they're always interesting to watch.
Can Montez Pull It Off?Colorado decided it was time to move on after last year's disappointing campaign, firing coach Mike McIntyre. To replace him they brought in Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who is attempting to reinvent the culture in Boulder. The results have been mixed so far, but overall things seem to be headed in the right direction.
They showed what a gritty team they are in Week 2 against Nebraska, when they came back from a huge deficit to beat the Cornhuskers in overtime. You need experience in a big road game like this, and fortunately the Buffs have a very experienced quarterback in Steven Montez. It feels like the senior has been there forever, and he's been strong yet again in 2019, averaging 8.3 yards per attempt and completing 67 percent of his passes. They've also shown that they can get it done away from home, as they beat a ranked Arizona State team in their only road game of the season so far.
In that game, Montez threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns on only 30 attempts. Oregon has had one of the league's better run defenses this year, as they give up only three yards per rush attempt, so most of the offense will fall on Montez's shoulders here. Colorado's secondary has been pretty terrible this season, and they'll need to get things cleaned up in a hurry as they prepare for Herbert. That being said Colorado hasn't been easily beatable this season, as both of their losses have been close, with one coming in overtime and the other coming by just five points.
Oregon Best Team In Conference?Oregon had high hopes for the 2019 season, and they wanted to establish themselves as one of the best teams in the country early on. They had a pivotal Week 1 showdown against Auburn, and unfortunately blew a late lead and lost the game. They've done a good job bouncing back since then, rattling off four straight wins. They haven't played a brutal schedule since then, although they did beat a good Cal team. Oregon returns quarterback Justin Herbert, widely considered to be one of the top pro prospects in the nation. Even though Herbert gets most of the hype, the real story of this Oregon team has actually been their defense. They've limited Cal and Stanford to just 13 total points over their last two games, and the offense has lagged.
Herbert and the offense have produced only 21 and 17 points in their last two games against Stanford and Cal respectively. Herbert wasn't his sharpest in their last game, throwing for only 214 yards and tossing his first interception of the season. That being said that was against a tough Cal defense, and he now gets a much easier matchup. Colorado's secondary is atrocious, and they currently rank 117th out of 130 FBS teams in terms of passing yards per game allowed. Their pass defense is giving up 9.39 yards per attempt, and Herbert should be able to pick them apart. Oregon's defensive front is extremely stingy, and they only give up 3.00 yards per carry. Oregon has also had success in this matchup recently, as they've gone 5-1 against the spread in their last six games against Colorado.
"I look at us now and the rallying that goes on, and I get ridiculously fired up about that," Cristobal said. "Because that's coming from the inside. It's hard to stop a team that's motivated from the inside out. In our opinion, that's a huge step for the program." Mario Cristobal and the comeback win over Cal.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. Colorado
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 conference games
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall
- 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19 games vs. a team with a winning record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Ducks a lot here. Simply put, this isn't going to be close. Colorado has one of the worst defenses in power conference football, and it should only get worse in their second road game of the year. Oregon has an extremely stingy defense, while Colorado is giving up 9.39 yards per pass attempt. Oregon has been great against both the run and the pass, so I don't think Colorado will have any success offensively.
Full-Game Total Pick
The over also makes some sense here. Oregon is only giving up 3.00 yards per carry this season, so Colorado isn't going to have any success on the ground. They're going to have to abandon their running game early to try and play catchup, ensuring that the clock stays stopped. Colorado's weakness is their secondary, so expect Herbert and co. to exploit that with some deep shots. There have been 65 points in each of Colorado's first two conference games, and I think we get another shootout here.