College Football Pick
It was not a great past weekend for the Pac-12, at least for these teams. Success in non-Conference play is vital to the Conference as a whole, especially if Stanford or Washington is to be considered for the College Football Playoff. Colorado started quickly in Michigan, but faltered like everyone knew they would, while Oregon gave up a late touchdown to fall to Nebraska.
In most cases, travelling east and then back west for another Game in one week would have a major affect on the result. However, since both of these teams are in more or less the same situation, it may not be a huge deal here. That said, the Buffaloes do have to travel for this Game, so playing on the road in back-to-back Games is obviously something the bookmakers already put into the line.
Even with the loss to Michigan, Colorado fans have to be feeling at least hopeful after the 17-point loss. For starters, they covered (barely in most books), but also moved the ball fairly well early on against one of the better defenses in the nation. Of course, if Sefo Liufau is out for any significant amount of time, that hope is gone. Liufau exited in the third quarter of the loss and the offense fell off the face of the earth, eventually leading to a Wolverines win.
Before betting this Game, it’s a must to know the status of Liufau.
As for Oregon, they have to be disappointed. The win was there for the taking at a difficult place to play. The running Game was absolutely dominant, going for 336 yards and five TDs as a team, but the Cornhuskers climbed back for the win. The Ducks also have some injuries to keep an eye on, running back Royce Freeman and wide receiver Devon Allen. While both are electric players, mostly Freeman, both are somewhat expendable in this offense. Just look at Oregon’s loss. They ran the ball just fine even without Freeman.
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When these teams met last year, Freeman went for 163 yards and two touchdowns as the Ducks moved the ball at will in a 41-24 win. On the other end, Colorado couldn’t really do anything, rushing for 77 yards as a team. Considering the Buffs still don’t really have a run Game, it’s hard to see them doing much better here. One thing they’ll be looking at is Nebraska’s rushing success last weekend, but Colorado does not have the same type of offense.
And if Liufau isn’t in the lineup, this Game could get ugly. Because we know Oregon will Scoreplenty with Dakota Prukop at quarterback, as well as whoever is in the backfield: Kani Benoit, Taj Griffin or Tony Brooks James. The Ducks can score, but if Liufau isn’t out there, the Buffs can’t.
But even if Liufau can play, can they actually keep up? Getting out to that early lead on Michigan had a lot to do with some lucky rolls and some big defensive plays. That said, Oregon’s defense is not as good as a year ago and will be in shootouts more often than not this season.
No doubt Colorado is on the rise. They just may not be quite there yet. The number here is reasonable, so we’ll lay it. Oregon -10.5