The Washington State Cougars and Oregon Ducks meet for a pivotal Pac-12 matchup on Saturday night in Eugene. Pac-12 Championship and possibly College Football Playoff implications are on the line. Oregon are going to need a lot of breaks and go undefeated down the stretch for the playoffs to happen.
With the Pac-12 Championship Game a likely destination for Oregon, they can earn an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl with a win. If the cards fall their way and other teams fall along the way, then we can begin discussing a possible spot in the playoff, which is a reach at the moment. Oregon are 4-0 in the Pac-12, while there is no other team in the Pac-12 North with more than 2 wins.
Washington have been a disappointment in 2019 with a record of 5-3. They’re 2-3 in the Pac-12, which has them behind Stanford and Oregon State. Whoever had Oregon State ahead of Washington State and Washington at this point in the year deserves some recognition. Washington State are tied with Cal at 1-3 in the Pac-12 South. Overall, the Cougars are 4-3, so it’s been a struggle in the post-Gardner Minshew era for Washington State.
Washington State are coming off a much needed blowout over the Colorado Buffaloes. They smoked Colorado by a score of 41-10, as the team finally put a complete effort on the field. The win snapped a three-game losing streak, as they suffered losses against UCLA, Utah, and Arizona State. Everybody including the offense and defense woke up to play against Colorado.
To be a fly on the wall in Mike Leach’s locker room following the Arizona State loss. Practice couldn’t have been fun. Leach hopefully used his magic during this past week of practice with a trip to Eugene on the docket. Washington State were winners last season over Oregon by a score of 34-20, but it’s a different situation in 2019.
The Ducks are better and the Cougs have regressed since then. The Oregon defense looks for real, which they haven’t had in years. The Joey Harrington era featured some decent defenses, but this unit is on pace to break records. Head below for our free Washington State vs. Oregon pick.
Washington State Cougars vs. Oregon Ducks NCAAF Week 9 Betting Odds:
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Washington State vs. Oregon Pick:
Mike Leach’s air-raid offense is going to have to get dynamic this week in Eugene. This isn’t the same Oregon defense of old who just sit back and allow the offense to take the spotlight. In fact, the Ducks’ success this season has been propelled by their tough defense. The Pac-12 is known for its offense, but Oregon and Utah have led a new charge of game plans that are predicated around defense.
Oregon have taken on a new identity under head coach Mario Cristobal. Instead of go blazing fast on offense, they’ve pulled things back for a more balanced attack. The no-huddle is still implemented, but Oregon aren’t going 100mph trying to score in under 2 minutes every series. That may sound like a negative, though it’s allowed the defense to get a breather and come back out on the field feeling fresh instead of dead tired.
The Ducks have allowed an average of only 288.6 yards a game. They’ve yielded only 11.9 points per game. Passing the ball on Oregon, which Washington State are going to try and do, has been a difficult task. They’ve allowed just 178.6 passing yards per game. This is in large part because of a ferocious pass rush employed by the Ducks. Washington State operate out of the spread with multiple wide receivers on the field at once.
This deprives Washington State of having a tight end on the line for an extra blocker. In many instances, the Cougars will run their offense out of an empty set with no running back. It leaves Anthony Gordon on an island against this Oregon defensive line, which is going to likely develop into a problem in this one. Expect Leach to make it a point to get rid of the ball out of Gordon’s hands extra quick on short slants. Oregon will be content with that, as they keep the ball underneath of their defense.
The Washington State defense woke up last week, as they were a force against Steven Montez. They forced Montez into 2 interceptions, while backup Blake Stenstrom threw an interception as well. Colorado managed to pass for just 141 yards in total. Justin Herbert will play much better than that and put up bigger numbers for Oregon.
I don’t think they will have to do anything too exotic, though. The defense as usual will dictate the tone of this game to allow Oregon to get out to a comfortable lead. 67 points looks like a lot of points with this Oregon defense on the field, which provides some decent value on the UNDER on Saturday night in the Pac-12.