Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prediction for Ducks vs. UCLA

Here's my prediction for the match up between #1 Oregon (AP, Coaches polls) and UCLA Thursday night...

Oregon will beat the Bruins by 14 points. I'm not going to say a score per se, but I think that'll be the spread. What? Not going to kill UCLA by four touchdowns? No. Despite this being a home game and despite the #1 ranking, I think UCLA will give the Ducks a tough game that Oregon will have to gut out in the second half to win.

I've just seen WAY too many turnovers and penalties in the Ducks' game to think they are going roll the Bruins like they did some other teams where such mistakes were a mere afterthought. And in fact, I think the biggest reason that the Bruins could win this game is if the Ducks give the ball away too many times.

I'll be watching Oregon QB Darron Thomas to see if he's fully back after a minor injury vs. WSU, the Duck offensive line and - as it seems every game - if or how the Ducks defend the middle of the field on defense. Seems like most teams can pick up big yards on Oregon by throwing short and mid-range passes over the middle.

In the end, however, I think the combination of a lethal running game, timely passing, a brutal pace and a defense that can stop the run and manufacture 1-2 turnovers will do the trick once again for the Ducks.

Here's hoping.

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