The Oregon Ducks welcome the Colorado Buffaloes to Autzen Stadium for a Friday night showdown in the Pac-12. Oregon are off to a 4-1 start and have good odds in their favor to move to 5-1. The Ducks are a healthy three touchdown favorite over the Buffaloes in this one.
Barring a sizable upset, Oregon will be heading to 5-0 and a likely ticket to top-10 in the nation. Oregon enter Week 7 as the No. 13 team in the country. I think that’s about right, but the Ducks haven’t been tested thus far. Their best win came against Cal last week at home by a score of 17-7.
Justin Herbert returned to Oregon when he could have easily entered the NFL Draft and garnered a first-round selection. There was talk of Herbert being the first quarterback off the board, so he took a risk in returning and suffering a major injury. Knock on wood.
It’s been smooth sailing for Herbert thus far, as Oregon has been operating a slower version of their no-huddle offense under head coach Mario Cristobal and offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. This is not Chip Kelly or even Mark Helfrich Oregon. For better or worse, this is a different brand of Oregon football that we’ve been accustomed to.
Part of it is by design. Oregon still want an up-tempo attack, but giving the defense a breather is helping their defensive effort significantly. The defense is fast and giving opponents issues when they’re on the field. Having said that, Arroyo is not my favorite offensive coordinator.
His game plan is awfully predictable and is not as dynamic as it once was. The Ducks could be a balanced team, while using elements of what made Oregon a popular football team under Chip Kelly. They may not need it against Colorado on Friday night, though. Head below for our free Colorado vs. Oregon pick.
Colorado Buffaloes vs. Oregon Ducks NCAAF Week 7 Betting Odds:
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Colorado vs. Oregon Pick:
Colorado thought they had an early season marquee win in their portfolio against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. But Nebraska have been playing well below expectations, so that 34-31 win in overtime doesn’t look as impressive now. They followed that effort up with a loss against Air Force in overtime, putting them back at the beginning quickly. The same thing played out over the next two weeks, as Colorado produced a nice 34-31 win over Arizona State, but then lost the following week by a score of 35-30 against Arizona.
The receiving core is nicked up going into Eugene on Friday night. They could be without two key contributors in Laviska Shenault and K.D. Dixon against Oregon. Both appear to be a game-time decision and will not be operating at 100% if they do in fact get the green light to play. Colorado need to put together a complete effort if they want to compete in this game. Oregon have one of the most underrated defenses in the FBS, so they aren’t a unit to take lightly.
Oregon are 7th in the FBS with 261 yards allowed per game and just 9.8 points allowed per game. I think a lot of people are still stuck in the past with Oregon, though. Their defense is being overlooked, as they associated the Ducks with a team who lights up the scoreboard every week. With less than 25 points scored in three of their five games, it’s more about the defense in Eugene now. Not to take anything away from Justin Herbert.
The Buffaloes have allowed an average of 31.6 points per game this season. Their defense hasn’t been stellar and Oregon is likely going to control the pace in this game. Don’t expect the Colorado offense to be able to get much going in this one. They are likely going to get stuffed, while Oregon plays the ball possession game to open up a comfortable lead. 21 points is a lot, though, and a play on the UNDER looks like the better option Friday night at Autzen Stadium.