The betting line is set between Oregon and Colorado, the Ducks are featured as 21 point favorite. (-21) The Buffaloes are 3-0, surprising the college football world with its early-season success. That success is going to end this weekend in Eugene, as the Buffs head to Oregon.
The home team has the advantage across the board, including in the trenches. Here are reasons why Oregon will hand Colorado their first loss:
The Pac-12 has featured some elite quarterback play this year across the board. Many of the Pac-12 Quarterbacks are in the conversation for Heisman candidacy, including Shedeur Sanders and Bo Nix. Sanders has completed 78% of his pass attempts for 1,251 yards and has become all that Coach Prime could ask for, because the Buffs cannot run the football. Oregon’s passing defense is ranked 19th in efficiency and 16th in adjusted air yards per attempt, which will be the biggest test Colorado has had this season.
The Oregon offense is filled with playmakers at every position. Nix has only had to play in the fourth quarter once this season. That came against Texas Tech. The Super Senior has completed 77.6% of his passes for 893 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Sanders may get frazzled against a defense like the Ducks, but Nix has been here before. The Oregon quarterback may not have a good track record against ranked opponents from his time at Auburn, but he’s significantly improved with the Ducks. Last year, the Ducks went 2-3 against ranked opponents. Those three losses came to Georgia, Washington and Oregon State. The latter two were close rivalry games.
Better Run Game
This might just go down as the difference maker in the Oregon-Colorado matchup in the 2023 season. The Ducks don’t have just one strong running back that they use. While Bucky Irving is the main man at running back with 216 yards, Jordan James and Noah Whittington both have 100+ yards. Colorado’s defense has not played particularly well this season, and without its best player (Hunter), the Oregon offense should have it way. Oregon’s offense ranks second in efficiency and first in points per drive.
The Rush has not been much of a factor in the first three games for Colorado. The top running back on the roster is freshman Dylan Edwards. He’s totaled 25 carries for 136 yards. Without a stable run game to balance the offense, the Ducks defense will be all over Sanders.
Oregon Needs to Win
Remember Dan Lanning’s comments about Colorado leaving the Pac-12? Well, Lanning and company need to win on Saturday in order to back those comments up. It should be fairly easy for them to do considering they’ll be at Autzen. One of the loudest atmospheres in College Football.
If the Buffs somehow upset the Ducks, Deion Sanders will have something to say about those comments.
The 21 points that Oregon is favored by, is a lot for a team to cover, but I believe it’s the right call. Oregon is a powerhouse at home, losing only two conference games since 2018. Under Dan Lanning, the Ducks have routinely played well against teams that can’t compete with them at home.
Prediction: 44-24 Oregon
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