The PAC-12 action on Friday night (10:00pm ET) continues with the 6th ranked Oregon Ducks (6-1) traveling to brand new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA to take on the host California Golden Bears (4-3). Oregon disposed of Washington 45-20 last week at home after going on the road to defeat UCLA 42-30 the previous week. They suffered their only loss at home against Arizona (31-24) in week 6, and also notched a 38-31 road win over Washington St in PAC-12 play. Cal lost their last two games, both to PAC-12 opponents at home, a 36-34 loss to UCLA last week and a 31-7 loss to Washington the previous week. They also lost on a Hail Mary in the final seconds at Arizona 49-45 in week 4, but they have defeated Washington St. (60-59) and Colorado (59-56) in conference play as well.
The Ducks rank 6th among all FBS teams in scoring offense with 43.6 points per game and 11th in total offense with 527 yards per game. Quarterback Marcus Mariotta is one of the most dynamic dual-threat QBs in the country, and has averaged 309.7 YPG through the air this season to lead the Ducks to a rank of 15th among FBS teams in passing offense. The running game is what really makes the Ducks’ offense go, and Oregon ranks 30th among FBS teams in rushing offense with an average of 217.3 YPG with 20 rushing TDs. Defensively Oregon ranks 47th in points allowed with 23.7 per game and 99th in total defense with 44.84 YPG allowed.
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Cal ranks 10th nationally in scoring offense with 41.6 PPG and 18th in total offense with 496.6 YPG. Sophomore quarterback Jared Goff (2,842 yards passing, 24 TDs, 4 INTs) directs the extremely fast-paced offensive attack of Head Coach Sonny Dykes. Cal is not a dink-and-dunk team on offense either, as the Bears rank 18th nationally in yards per completion with 14.16. Defensively Cal ranks 117th in scoring defense with 38.4 PPG allowed and 121st in total defense with 525 YPG allowed.
Oregon vs. Cal Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Oregon Ducks -18.5
@Cal Golden Bears +18.5
Over 79 (-110)
Under 79 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Oregon vs. Cal Pick:
Oregon has won each of the last 5 meetings with the Golden Bears straight up, but this year’s Cal team has been competitive in every game they have played aside from the loss to Washington two weeks ago. The Oregon defense has struggled against strong passing teams this season, most notably in their loss to Arizona. Cal ranks 3rd nationally in passing offense with 372.1 YPG through the air, and Oregon is ranked 107th nationally in pass defense with 279.6 YPG allowed. Cal is even worse when it comes to defending the pass, ranking 125th nationally, or dead last among FBS teams, with 391.7 YPG allowed. One the strengths of the Cal defense though is their play against the run, the Bears rank 38th nationally with 133.3 rushing YPG allowed.
Cal is going to have to throw, throw and throw some more to stay in this game. The good news is that they are facing a defense that has had trouble stopping the pass all season. Goff is a very efficient passer, ranking 5th in the nation in passing efficiency. He should be able to avoid mistakes and take advantage of the holes in Oregon’s secondary enough to keep the Bears in this game. He also has a running game with junior Daniel Lasco (523 yards rushing, 6 TDs) that can take some of the pressure off. This game should be a true barn-burner, it is a little difficult to take the over with the total so high even with these two teams playing. The play to make here is to take the Bears and the points at home as they have played almost everyone very close this season and are a much improved team overall.