The top Thursday night (9:00pm ET) game for week six of the 2011 college football season features a PAC-12 matchup with the California Golden Bears (3-1) traveling to Eugene, OR to take on the 9th ranked Oregon Ducks (3-1). Cal suffered their first loss of the season two weeks ago, falling by a score of 31-23 to Washington on the road. Oregon dismantled Arizona last week by a score of 56-31 two weeks ago in Tucson, their third straight win after dropping the opener 40-27 to LSU. Both teams had last weekend off as a bye week.
The Golden Bears rank 15th among FBS teams with 39.5 points per game scored on offense, and quarterback Zach Maynard can throw the ball averaging 295.2 yards per game through the air which is good for 22nd best in the nation. Defensively the Bears have allowed 24.2 PPG (55th in the nation) and 314.2 YPG (28th in the nation). Cal has three players questionable for Thursday’s game in DB Michael Cooley, TE Spencer Ladner and DL Aaron Tipoti. Oregon possesses one of the most explosive offensive units in the nation with the top scoring unit at 52 PPG and the 6th ranked unit in terms of total offense with an average of 533.8 yards per contest. QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James are the key players for an offense that has run at will this season, to the tune of 299.5 YPG on the ground (6th nationally). The defense has allowed 24.5 PPG this season (59th in the nation); the injury report shows TE Curtis White and LB Michael Clay as questionable for the Thursday night game.
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California vs. Oregon Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
California Golden Bears +24
@Oregon Ducks -24
Over 63 (-110)
Under 63 (-110)
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California vs. Oregon Pick:
The Bears are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 road games, and the under is 13-4 in their last 17 games overall as an underdog. The over is 16-4-1 in Oregon’s last 21 home games, and 25-9-2 in their last 36 games as a favorite. The Ducks are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games in October. Oregon has won the last two meetings between the teams, including last season’s meeting at Berkley by a score of 15-13 when they squeaked by without covering the 18.5 pint line. Cal has won four of the last seven meetings however, with two of those wins coming in Eugene.
The Golden Bears do not have a quality win so far this season; their toughest opponent was a 2-3 Fresno St. team that they defeated 36-21 at home, covering the 10.5 point spread. The Ducks’ offense comes into the game red-hot, scoring 50-plus points in their last three games after the season-opening loss to an LSU team that boasts the 9th ranked scoring defense in the country. Cal has a solid defensive unit, but they have not been tested by anyone nearly as explosive as Oregon this season. The Ducks struggled in their other matchup with a tough run defense, averaging only 3.4 YPC against an LSU defense that ranks third in the nation in rushing yards allowed. Cal with a defense that ranks 9th among FBS teams with 78.3 rushing YPG allowed will be tough for Thomas and James to run on. Cal has played the Ducks tough in their meetings in Eugene, winning twice outright in the last four meetings. The Bears gave Oregon all it could handle last season when they were not deterred by the lofty ranking of the eventual BCS Championship Game losers, and they figure to be a tough opponent in this game as well as they will not be tentative playing in a road environment where they have had success in the past. 24 point is too big of a cushion to give Cal, take the points in this one and do not discount the possibility of the Bears pulling off a massive upset.