How the mighty have fallen. The Oregon Ducks have gone from being a national contender to falling into irrelevancy in just a couple of years. If you can’t figure out why, either you don’t follow college football much, or you are completely clueless. May I remind you who the former head coach of the Oregon Ducks is? That is of course 49ers’ head coach Chip Kelly. After directing the Ducks to national prominence, Kelly decided to try a hand in the NFL. It hasn’t been all that successful for Kelly, but his ex-team has completely fallen off the map and are continuing to freefall even deeper.
How much longer can Mark Helfrich hold onto his job for? Oregon had a much needed bye week to gear up for Cal this week in California, but is it going to mean anything? Oregon has had ample opportunities to turn this season around, and they have failed to take advantage. The troubling times came to a head against Washington, as they got the doors blown off them by a final score of 70-21.
Washington is a very good team, one of the best in the country, but the only way to explain that game was embarrassing. Especially since that game was played in Eugene. The Ducks getting whipped like that was an afterthought in the Kelly era. Oregon will try and stop the bleeding against the California Golden Bears. A loss would situate them at 2-5 on the season, with the potential for missing out on any kind of bowl game a real scenario. Reaching the Alamo Bowl last season was seen as kind of a failure, which they didn’t even win, and falling out of bowl contention completely would signal the end for Helfrich.
With this looking like a lost season, the only thing on the line the rest of the way is Helfrich’s job. However, his fate may have already been sealed after they looked lost against Washington. The problem for Oregon is that they need a quality quarterback to run the offense, but a quality quarterback is not found on the current Ducks’ roster.
Vernon Adams was a nice fill-in for a year as a transfer, and Oregon went the fill-in graduate transfer again this season with Dakota Prukop. Prukop has tossed 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, but has just looked uncomfortable operating the offense. He has missed wide open receivers time after time. Prukop was benched in favor of a freshman last week, Justin Herbert, who didn’t look much better. Herbert will get the start against Cal on Friday.
Oregon Ducks vs. California Golden Bears NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. California -3(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Oregon vs. California Pick:
If you weren’t watching Oregon games and just basing them off box scores, one could come to a reasonable conclusion that pylons are playing defense for the Ducks. While the box score gives you the impression Oregon is playing on defense with tackling dummies or pylons, there are actually defenders out there attempting to play defense. They are doing something, but it isn’t playing football. Washington could have put up 100 points on Oregon if they really wanted to, but they put the brakes on after the 60-point mark. They still managed to add another 10 points despite the breaks being applied.
Oregon draws another competent offense this week against Cal. California can roll the points up in a hurry, and on this defense, they should be in fine form. They are averaging 42.3 points per game, quarterback Davis Webb has passed for 22 touchdown and 7 interceptions. Last week was a week to forget, but get this, California still scored 44 points with Webb throwing no touchdown and an interception. That is pretty impressive. Cal rushed for 317 yards in total, so they didn’t need the passing game.
They are fully capable of passing the football though, as they are 4th in the nation passing with 377.8 yards per game. The Ducks are 108th defending the run and 103rd against the pass. They have given up 41.8 points per game which is 125th in college football. Cal has struggled on defense as well, getting taken for 40 points per game, 123rd, just a hair above Oregon. They are 2-0 at home with wins against Texas and Utah, meanwhile the Ducks are 0-2. What worries me most about Oregon this week is how Helfrich came out this week and said the team has no leaders. That might be one you should keep in your locker room, as I can’t imagine it does much for team unity in this difficult time. There will be a lot of points, but I don’t touch totals in the high 80’s. This is not the same Oregon team under Mariota. I see them running into another bump in the road, setting up the guillotine for Helfrich in Oregon.
PICK: CALIFORNIA -3 (-110)