College Football Pick
Everything finally fell Oregon’s way last season, but they just couldn’t get the job done, losing to Ohio State in the National Championship. It’ll be tough for them to repeat this season even though they are ranked as a Top 10 team in the country again. A main reason for that is because Marcus Mariota won’t be leading them. Vernon Adams, formerly of Eastern Washington, has been named Oregon’s starting QB and will get his first FBS start against his former team in the opener. The Ducks are a -35 point favorite (at 5Dimes) at home against the Eagles.
Adams had a solid three seasons playing with EWU, leading them to a win over Oregon State in 2013 and a 59-52 loss against Washington last year. In 2013, he finished with 55 touchdowns and last year, while battling injuries and missing a few Games, still had 38 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Of course, those numbers don’t mean a whole lot in FCS play, but his success against FBS teams was noted, and that’s a main reason he’s at Oregon. Even in limited time with the team, he was named starter about a week before this Game.
Vernon Adams was just about the entire offense at Eastern Washington, but won’t have to do as much on Oregon. The Ducks are still loaded at every other position and the Eagles will be lucky to keep them below 50 points. Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner are expected to run rampant as usual, as Byron Marshall and Bralon Addison speed past the secondary.
While the Eagles have had success keeping up with Pac-12 teams in the past, that’s been in large part to their offense. Their defense still allowed 59 points to a mediocre Washington offense last year. Not to mention, the Eagles will be using a brand new nickel defense implemented by a new defensive coordinator, which should bring plenty of growing pains early in the season.
On the offensive end, Eastern Washington no longer has Adams (obviously), and will turn to quarterback Jordan West instead, who got some work last season when Adams was hurt. West finished with a solid nine TDs and only one interception in limited work, but that was against FCS competition. Sure, West will have some nice targets to throw to, including wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who has six FCS all-time receiving records. But will that be enough to keep up against Oregon?
The Ducks are at a different level than those Oregon State and Washington teams from the last two years. Oregon doesn’t have the best defense, but when the EWU offensive line has to go against guys like DeForest Buckner and Alex Balducci, it could be a long day.
Even in Adams’ first Game with Oregon and EWU’s familiarity with him, the Ducks have enough weapons returning to dominate and Scoreat least 50 points. The other end may be the bigger question with Eastern Washington’s new quarterback. Jordan West has a big test in front of him and it may not be the best idea to back him against this defense.
Our Pick – In the real world, we would never get involved with laying 35 points. However, for the sake of making a selection here. we’ll side with the obvious in what should be a blowout providing Oregon isn’t already looking ahead. Oregon -35