College Football Pick
Oregon starts another year with another transfer quarterback. Dakota Prukop was impressive in Week 1 as the Ducks downed UC Davis 53-28. He completed 21-of-30 passing attempts for 271 yards and three touchdowns. Prukop led an efficient Oregon offense as the nation has grown accustomed to seeing for quite some time.
Darren Carrington II caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. And preseason Heisman-darkhorse Royce Freeman got off to a good start as well. He ran the ball 11 times for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
While there was a lot to look at positively for Oregon on the offensive side, there were definitely some low moments on the defensive side of the ball. Oregon gained 522 total yards, but they also allowed 392 — 303 through the air — to UC Davis. The Ducks possessed the ball for over 14 fewer minutes than the Aggies. Sure, part of this is due to the up-tempo offense and quick scores the Ducks are used to, but their defense has not been as good in recent seasons. This looks like it could be the case again in 2016.
Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure at Virginia got off to a rocky start, to say the least. The Cavaliers were dominated at home by FCS-level Richmond in a 37-20 loss. What’s even worse is that this Game wasn’t even as close as the Scoreindicates. Virginia at one point trailed 30-7 in the Fourth quarter, before making it somewhat respectable late.
The Cavaliers were beaten badly in just about every facet of the Game. Richmond ran up 524 yards of offense, compared to Virginia’s 302. Just think about what Oregon’s offense should be able to do. Richmond outran Virginia 187-38. And nothing says more about how the Cavaliers were dominated than the turnover margin; Richmond never committed a turnover, while Virginia turned it over Four times.
If you’re looking for positives to take away from Virginia’s Game, look at the passing Game. Kurt Benkert completed 26-of-34 passes for 264 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Aiding him in his performance was Olamide Zaccheaus with five receptions for 75 yards and a score.
Unfortunately, the running Game was abysmal. Albert Reid ran the ball only six times for only 28 yards. He was the go-to back! Virginia’s entire team ran the ball 21 times for 38 yards — remember, that was against Richmond. This does not bode well for the upcoming season.
Prediction: Virginia must improve and improve in a hurry. There’s some potential in the passing Game, it seems. And Oregon’s defense is not great, This isn’t a strong call, but we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest this Game is closer than many think. It’s a classic college football set up where one team tanks one week and looks like a pop warner team, the public loads up against them the following week and what happens? They surprise everyone.
Interestingly enough, had this Game been played at the end of last year, Our model would have had the Cavs well within the spot. We’ll take a shot here. Virginia +24.5