Week 5 – Oregon at Washington State

Posted Sep 26, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – Oregon at Washington State

-CFN Fearless Predictions
Oregon (4-0) vs. Washington State (2-2) Sept. 29, 10:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal: Well, there's one less serious contender for Oregon's Pac-12 crown. Arizona visited Eugene last week with visions of taking down the three-time league champs, but left with a 49-0 loss and a reality check. The Ducks are still the team to beat, and are suddenly the No. 2 team in the country courtesy of the impressive win over a then-ranked opponent. The team hits the road for the first time, making the five-hour trip north to Seattle to face Washington State at CenturyLink Field. The Cougars were expected to be unpredictable in Mike Leach's first season on the Palouse, but last week's unconscionable collapse at home to lowly Colorado shed new light on just how far the program has to go. It held a comfortable lead in the final quarter, yet allowed three touchdowns in the final seven minutes, two from at least 70 yards out. If Wazzu hopes to steady the ship, this sure is a tough spot to do it.

Why Oregon Might Win: Hybrid Travis Long aside, the Washington State defense is a disaster that lacks good fundamentals and is prone to suffering breakdowns. Uh-oh. The Quack Attack is the last thing that the Cougars need to see after last Saturday's nightmarish final quarter. The Ducks rank No. 4 nationally in scoring, and are averaging 571 yards a game. Sure, the defense has gotten into the scoring act, but the barrage of points is still being fueled by the backfield trio of QB Marcus Mariota and backs De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner. On a fast track against a second-rate defense, the fireworks will be unleashed once again by Oregon.

Why Washington State Might Win: The Oregon D has been terrific, scoring two touchdowns in the shutout, but Leach is a crafty innovator who has found ways to beat good defenses over the years. His Cougars have now had four games to digest his Air Raid offense, and have produced 69 points over the last two weeks. With backup Connor Halliday barking out signals while Jeff Tuel healed an injured knee, Washington State has thrown eight touchdown passes in the last two games, really maximizing the athleticism of wide receivers Gabe Marks, Marquess Wilson and Isiah Myers. You have to be able to score in a hurry to keep pace with the Ducks, and the Cougars feel they're developing that kind of an attack.

What To Watch Out For: There was talk in the preseason that this might be coordinator Nick Aliotti's best defense yet in Eugene. It sure looked like it a week ago. Against what was supposed to be a pretty good offense, Oregon was tenacious to the ball, picking off four passes, two of which were returned for touchdowns. True sophomore CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was everywhere, intercepting two balls, scoring once and batting away a total of five passes. He could be matched up with Wilson, the Washington State star who has had his share of drops this season.

What Will Happen: It would take a major meltdown for Oregon to lose this one to Washington State, or even be threatened in the second half. The Cougars are a team for the future, but their current prognosis is not very encouraging. Too many holes and not enough time to coach up the players on hand. The Ducks will score early and often, as usual, coasting to a fifth straight lopsided victory.

CFN Prediction: Oregon 50 … Washington State 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oregon -28.5 O/U: 70.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 2