NCAAF Week 11 Sneak Peek – (5) Oregon at (18) Utah

The No. 18 Utah Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) have put together an impressive campaign this season, posting wins over USC and UCLA. The No. 5 Oregon Ducks know they are heading into a crucible when they travel to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on November 8.

The No. 18 Utah Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) have put together an impressive campaign this season, posting wins over USC and UCLA. The No. 5 Oregon Ducks know they are heading into a crucible when they travel to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on November 8.

Utah averages 35.9 points per game, 28th best in the nation, while their defense allows just 21.6 points per game, 29th best.

The Ducks have a 7-1 record and are 4-1 inside the Pac-12.  Their loss against Arizona came as a surprise, but the team has won three in a row since, over UCLA, Washington, and Cal.

Oregon’s offense is one of the most powerful in College Football, scoring 45.5 points per game on average, good enough for fifth in the nation. Ducks QB Marcus Mariota has unbelievable numbers, throwing for 2,283 yards, 24 touchdowns, and just one interception. The run game has done its part, as well, averaging 223 yards per game (28th in the country).

The Ducks’ defense, on the other hand, barely pulls its weight, allowing 25.9 PPG (61st in the country).

Utah has a more balanced team, averaging 35.9 points for and 21.6 points against (which puts their scoring offense and defense 28th and 29th in the nation, respectively). The offense relies heavily on the ground game and, in particular, Junior running back Devontae Booker, who has 844 rushing yards on 146 carries this season. Utah’s last game against USC was the first time in three games that one quarterback had taken all of the snaps. Travis Wilson looked much improved going 18 of 32 for 194 yards and a touchdown. In Utah’s previous two games, coach Kyle Wittingham had relieved his starting QB in favor of the backup: against UCLA, Wilson gave way to Kendal Thompson. Against Oregon State, Thompson got the start but yielded to Wilson after a poor opening half. The revolving door should be bolted shut after Wilson’s performance against USC.

On paper, this game is the toughest remaining on Oregon’s schedule. If the Ducks can win out – which would also require a victory over Stanford – they should be a lock for one of the four playoff spots.

If Utah can win their remaining four games, they will have a shot at a playoff berth – as they would then have victories over Oregon, Arizona, and Arizona State on their resume to go with their earlier wins over USC and UCLA. However, their lone loss of the season came against a middling Washington State team at home. That game alone may keep them out of the inaugural College Football Playoff regardless of what happens the rest of the way.

Both teams have tough games in the intervening week 10, with Oregon hosting Stanford and Utah traveling to No. 15 Arizona State.

Last season, Oregon beat Utah 44-21; it was their fourth victory in the last five games in the series, dating back to 1997.  This will be the first game for Oregon in Utah since 2003.

(Photo credit: Daniel Hartwig (Flickr: DSCN4364) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped from its original.)

Frank Lorenzo

MTS co-founder Frank “Let It Ride” Lorenzo has been betting on sports since he was legally allowed to do so. (Did he do so before then, too? No comment.) He enjoys very strong coffee, neon lights, and passing on his wealth of betting knowledge to anyone who will listen.