The Oregon Ducks (4-1) are hanging by a thread for their own College Football Playoff hopes.
After dominating Stanford in their Pac-12 introduction last week, then the Ducks welcome that the Cal Golden Bears (4-1) into the Autzen Zoo this Saturday (8:00 EST on FOX). In three seasons, Oregon had an Justin Herbert at QB from the Bears and has mastered the ground game.
Theyve outscored Cal from 39 points that the last two decades, and have won eight of last 10 against them. The Ducks arrive in as favorites, based on MyBookie.
Cal lost their starting QB Chase Garbers (8 TDs-2 INT, 148.1 score ) for the near future after a shoulder injury a week. The Bears have covered in their last five games.
However, are their 10th-ranked pass defense be sufficient to pay against the FEI 13th-ranked Ducks? Together with Oregon QB Justin Herbert bending a ratio, they will get all they can manage.
Oregon will have a couple of big developments for their receiving corps that weekend, even together with Mycah Pittman (right shoulder) and Brenden Schooler (right foot) coming from harm. This may add essential thickness to some passing game that is ranked 44th.
Herbert stays away from mistakes in the QB position, and it will be key versus a Cal staff whose greatest unit would be the secondary. Its allowed the Bears to maintain their opponents less than their PPG. A team such as Miss put up 31 points at Alabama, but only 20 at home.
Cals 24 points given in a loss to Arizona State would be that the second-most they have given up in an entire calendar year. It had been the secondary that served for the catalyst within their huge win over top-15 Washington earlier this season.
Though theyve just given up 18.6 PPG and possess the 6th-best effectiveness against big plays, their operation on the road is even more striking. Dating back to the beginning of the year, trainer Justin Wilcoxs bunch allows all 17.3 PPG as the team.
The one problem is, Oregon has been the only staff to place 40 points (42) on Cal during this period of time. Herbert, directing the countrys 17th-best offense on passing downs, is the reason for it.
However, the run game has not started to churn against FBS teams and induce Herbert to put the pressure on himself. He is working behind an offensive line which hasnt done up to snuff Although he can clearly hand it. They came in as the ideal unit at the Pac, however, rank 113th in the rate of 101st and success in standard down sack rate of opponent.
It might open up opportunities for a Cal team with nine players. Three of those players (Kuony Deng, Luc Bequette, along with Cameron Goode) possess 2.5 sacks or longer.
Cal had a stable hand at QB with Garbers, that kept a high passer rating and pulled eight TDs. But he wasnt a threat that is lively at QB. Dont expect a group ranked 118th to get substantially worse.
Garbers will be replaced by devon Modster. He had a run at UCLA. He isnt but a half-step behind Garbers in terms of ability but had a rough go of his brief bit of playing time (6 to 15) this past season.
The Bears are 126th in 112th with and plays . Dont anticipate perimeter gift or a strong ground game to bail Modster out. A 100th-ranked scoring offense isnt likely to change immediately, and definitely not against the powerful late-down pass rush (ranked 24th) of the Ducks.
Oregon still has a job to do after giving up healthy chunks of yards on 1st down, but they possess the athletes all over to swarm the Bears.
Cal couldve had an advantage as Oregons d-line ranks 111th contrary to these types of runs. However, the Bears o-line (101st) is almost as putrid in this field since they are.
With the ability to reach the talent difference and the quarterback, dont anticipate Cal to get within the 20 points they scored at Washington.
The over/under of this game now sits at 46 points, which sounds low. But Oregon wentunder in half of its past seven years, and Cal is under nine of 10.
That leaves a tiny space for Oregon to move up by more or 18 on Cal. Yesthe Bears have firepower. However they conquer against and a scoring D. that is top-25 and a well-coached Washington club together
This group, with Wilcoxs schemes entirely in-place, can withstand the onslaught. They havent given up more than 24 points in a road game.
Oregon may have the defense. But it is a stat composed by enjoying sorry competitions the last three weeks. This game will not quite be the 7-6 Redbox Bowl game Oregon last year, won. However, its a game that will remain close before the shield of the Cal succeeds down from being on the area so much.
While this happens, Herbert has the accuracy to generate a throw. It wont come till late, though, giving the cover to Cal.
Prediction: Oregon (21) — California (10)

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